Meyer Lemon Lavender Truffle
1 Raw oysters
(from booth at Saturday morning Cabrillo Farmers Market) An oyster’s texture, unmistakably sensual, can make your tongue dance—and who knows what will follow. Treat yourself to some oysters with lemon and Tabasco after shopping for fresh, organic produce on a sun-filled day at the Farmers Market with your sweetheart.
Cabrillo Farmers Market, Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos, montereybayfarmers.org/aptos.html.
(from River Café & Cheese Shop)
Luscious burrata is similar to fresh Italian mozzarella, yet even creamier. The outside is firm and the inside is soft. It’s very telling that the name burrata means “buttered” in Italian; that’s how smooth it is. It’s divine if drizzled with a first-rate olive oil and eaten with francese bread. Another very tasty way is a mozzarella alternative in Caprese salad. River Café & Cheese Shop, 415 River St., Santa Cruz, (831) 420-1280. rivercafecheeseshop.com.
3 Fresh Asparagus
Asparagus is especially alluring during the spring when it’s abundant and can be grilled outside for the perfect texture. Asparagus has aphrodisiacal properties—the word asparagus has Greek origins that mean “to swell.” Find asparagus at the many Santa Cruz farmers markets including year-round markets at the Westside on Tuesdays, Live Oak on Sundays, and downtown on Saturdays.
(from Stagnaro Bros.)
You can buy cracked and cleaned crab from Stagnaro Bros. that is primed and ready for dipping into melted butter in the intimacy of your own home. While waiting for your to-go crab order, get one of the restaurant’s warm seafood snacks (like fried calamari or shrimp cocktail). Stand on the wharf with your honey and swoon over the food and the gorgeous Santa Cruz ocean view.
Stagnaro Bros., Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, (831) 423-2180. stagnarobrothers.com.
5 Maguro Sashimi
(from Sushi Totoro and Sushi Garden)
For sushi lovers, an absolute indulgence is maguro sashimi. A couple recommendations are Sushi Totoro at lunch (maguro sashimi is available as one of the lunch bento box items) and Sushi Garden at dinner. Both restaurants serve large, incredibly tender, maguro slices. For a doubly sensuous treat, also order a roll that includes tobiko—the small, salty orange eggs that burst with flavor in your mouth.
Sushi Totoro 1701 Mission St., Santa Cruz, (831) 426-6660.
Sushi Garden, 820 Bay Ave. Suite 148, Capitola, (831) 464-9192. sushi-garden.com.
(from Shadowbrook) Thanks to this mollusk’s voluptuous characteristics, eating scallops that are cooked well can bring lots of pleasure. Shadowbrook consistently creates scallop dishes that boast exquisite flavors and beautifully presented. The restaurant’s very romantic atmosphere enhances the experience. (Another note of interest: Aphrodite, the goddess of romance and love, has long been associated with scallops.) Shadowbrook 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola (831) 475-1511. shadowbrook-capitola.com.
(from Palm Deli, followed by hike at Nisene Marks State Park.)
Order a couple satisfying sandwiches from Palm Deli, like turkey and creamy Brie cheese on a crunchy ciabatta roll). Go to nearby Nisene Marks for a hike. There’s nothing like invigorating exercise to make your body feel alive. Afterwards, share a delectable picnic with your significant other.
Palm Deli, 3000 Valencia Ave., Aptos (831) 688-DELI (3354). thepalmdeli.com.
8 Chocolate soufflé
(from Oswald Restaurant)
Made with Valhrona chocolate and served with a pitcher of cream to pour on top, this dessert is so decadent you feel like you’re doing something illegal when you eat it. Warning: order your own serving. It might sound romantic to share one with your sweetie, but once you taste it a fight could break out.
Oswald, 121 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz (831) 423-7427. oswaldrestaurant.com.
9 Mexican chocolate ice cream
The Mexican chocolate ice cream served at Manuel’s is sweet, rich, and contains cinnamon accents. Yield to temptation and you’ll be happy – plus chocolate helps the brain produce that feel-good hormone, serotonin. Manuel’s, 261 Center Avenue, Aptos (831) 688-4848. manuelsrestaurant.com.
10 Meyer Lemon Lavender Truffle
(from Ashby Confections)
Eating chocolates made by Jennifer Ashby will put you in a sinful mood. She uses single-origin Criollo bean chocolate from Switzerland and organic cream and butter, and the results are pure bliss. The flavors in her Meyer Lemon Lavender Truffle are subtle but they will linger sweetly in your mouth after you’ve finished one.
Ashby Confections: Retail space inside Heather’s Patisserie at 7486 Soquel Drive, Aptos (831) 234-1171. ashbyconfections.com.
11 Fresh strawberries
Spring in Santa Cruz brings us lots of juicy, tantalizing strawberries. You can eat them by themselves or with whipped cream for a treat. And of course there’s always feeding the fruit to each other … When it gets to be summertime, you can even go pick berries together at Swanton Berry Farm’s “U-Pick” fields (meanwhile you can go to Swanton’s Berry Stand and buy organic berries year-round).
Swanton Berry Farm Contact Info: Farm Stand is on Highway 1 about 12.5 miles north of Santa Cruz, 2 miles north of Davenport, (831)-469-8804. swantonberryfarm.com.