Chocolate, champagne and oysters. Ah, love! Do you prefer aphrodisiacs that produce a long, slow burn as a buildup to enhancing performance, or do you desire a sudden rush of excitement? Some foods are good for fast stimulation. Others lay the foundation and prepare your body to get the most out of sex.

Our favorite aphrodisiac foods may be clichés, but there’s a reason we favor the fast actors on Valentine’s Day. Chocolate contains cocoa, and cocoa contains the chemical phenylethylamine, a stimulant that gives both you and your partner subtle feelings of well-being plus excitement. Indulge in chocolate, and sex seems like a great idea.

Oysters are chock full of zinc, and zinc has been linked to an increased sex drive. Zinc is a mineral that cranks up the production of testosterone. Slurp up these little guys and your man will be rarin’ to go.

Champagne is the perfect arousal drink, according to nutritionists. Some alcoholic drinks quickly remove your inhibitions but just as quickly sap energy and reduce the blood flow needed for arousal. Champagne’s carbonation, however, means you feel the buzz a lot faster and you don’t have to drink as much.

Red wine is one alcoholic drink that is both a fast actor and also a long-term partner. Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, increases blood flow and improves circulation. You’ll appreciate that both before and during intercourse.

Try a watermelon martini before Valentine’s dinner. The phytonutrient citrulline can give you more arousal in shorter time by increasing nitric oxide in your body. That boost in turn causes blood vessels to relax, and the result in faster circulation.

Hot chilies and fiery peppers for dinner will stimulate nerve endings so you’ll feel more turned on. Credit the chemical capsaicin, which also increases blood circulation. Indulge after dinner with a vanilla-flavored dessert. Vanilla mildly stimulates nerves and enhances sexual sensations.

Before the big day, you may want to stoke up on slower-acting aphrodisiacs that enhance your body’s ability to enjoy sex. Pomegranates give you antioxidants, which increase sensitivity by protecting the lining of those all-important blood vessels. Blood flows faster.

The omega 3 fatty acids found in salmon and walnuts give you peak sex hormone production. Try pumpkin seeds and flax seeds as well. The vitamin E in asparagus and avocados helps produce the hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone that stimulate sexual responses.

There’s something for everyone in this list of food that enhances romance. You’ll also find some truly delish dishes for your romantic Valentine’s dinner at home when you visit The History Kitchen.