The Recipe of Love

They say a way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, but what ingredients form the perfect recipe?

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What is the most romantic cuisine to cook for your partner on date night? And what ingredients will be sure to impress and woo them?

To find out, we analysed 3,141 ingredients from 329 BBC Good Food recipes containing words such as “romantic”, “for two” and “Valentine’s”, to determine what you should be cooking to express your love.

Date Night Popularity

To date night or not? We asked our 17,000 Instagram followers to reveal their thoughts and attitudes towards date nights.

  • 60% of people arrange date nights with their partner
  • 55% of couples prefer a home cooked meal to ordering in
  • Over half of people would consider cooking a vegetarian/vegan recipe

The Most Romantic Cuisines

It may come as no surprise to hear that Italian has been crowned as the most romantic cuisine, with a total of 51 recipes. Think spaghetti with seafood, gnocchi with sage and butter, and risotto with butternut squash. Is your mouth watering yet?

In second place is British cuisine, accounting for 31 of the recipes. Some of the romantic recipes to consider include beef wellington, brown butter sole, and of course, the humble roast dinner.

Often considered the most charming culture in more ways than one, French cuisine takes the third spot, with a selection of romantic recipes such as moules marinière, lobster thermidor and ratatouille.

Other notable cuisines that came up frequently included Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian, which came in 4th, 5th & 6th place respectively.

The Recipe of Love

As part of the analysis, we categorised all ingredients into food groups (i.e. meats, carbs, herbs & spices) to work out the perfect date night recipe.

Taking the top ingredient from each of the categories, we then cooked up the ultimate recipe for love. If you really want to woo your loved one, look no further than a dish comprised of chicken and potatoes in a white wine and garlic sauce, served with potatoes and sautéed onions. All washed down with a glass of white wine or two, of course.

The Most Romantic Ingredients

From chicken and lamb to mussels and scallops, here are the top 10 most romantic varieties of meat and fish.

Meat & Fish

  1. Chicken
  2. Mussels
  3. Chorizo
  4. Lamb
  5. Salmon
  6. Prosciutto
  7. Sirloin steak
  8. Duck
  9. Lobster
  10. Scallops


As it turns out, asparagus might not be the aphrodisiac it’s rumoured to be; instead, different types of onion take four of the top five spots for the most romantic vegetable:

  1. Onion
  2. Shallots
  3. Red onion
  4. Spinach
  5. Spring onions
  6. Carrot
  7. Leek
  8. Aubergine
  9. Watercress
  10. Asparagus

Carbs & Grains

From dauphinoise and gratins to roasties and chips, potatoes take the top spot as the most romantic carbohydrate. Not including individual varieties, pasta dishes occurred in 17 dishes collectively. Here are the top 10 most romantic carbs and grains:

  1. Potatoes
  2. Sweet potatoes
  3. Spaghetti
  4. Chickpeas
  5. Couscous
  6. Puy lentils
  7. Basmati rice
  8. Penne
  9. Gnocchi
  10. Brown basmati rice

Herbs & Spices

When it comes to date night dinners, it’s all in the flavour. Here are the ten most popular herbs and spices:

  1. Garlic
  2. Parsley
  3. Coriander
  4. Red chilli
  5. Thyme
  6. Ginger
  7. Bay leaf
  8. Chilli flakes
  9. Mint
  10. Fennel


Is there a more romantic way to finish a date night than with a dessert for two? Chocolate, in its many forms, features heavily in the top 10, along with ice cream and biscuits:

  1. Dark chocolate
  2. Coffee
  3. White chocolate
  4. Milk chocolate
  5. Ice cream
  6. Caramel
  7. Coconut yoghurt
  8. Custard
  9. Digestive biscuits
  10. Shortbread biscuits

Inspired to cook up some romance for your next date night? Check out our blog for more food and kitchen inspiration, and for great deals on kitchens, visit our kitchen sale page.

The Most Romantic Cuisines

1. Italian
2. British
3. French