Making a 16th century Aphrodisiac Tarte

Live from Martina Franca, Italy

A special session to celebrate love :)

An aphrodisiac is an ingredient, a substance or a dish that is meant to enhance lust and passion. The desire to do so is supposedly as old as humanity. The word aphrodisiac comes from the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, who would carry a number of mysterious love potions at her belt – aphrodisiacs. 

On Sunday February 13th at 12PM EST, VAWAA artist, cook and archaeologist Ursula, will be sharing some of the substances that were considered an aphrodisiac in different periods of our history, and what we can learn from them today. Then we'll have a little love ritual before preparing a sensual and delicious aphrodisiac tarte with quince, the fruit of Aphrodite, to provoke courage.  

What you'll need

Ingredients for Pliny’s little love ritual

  • A few mustard or rocket leaves
  • Honey

Ingredients for the aphrodisiac tarte

Tarte: Pre-prepared regular or gluten free tarte

For the cream:

  • 1 cup wine (red or white, as you please)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 root of the following kind: preferably burdock or scorzonera (black salsify), otherwise parsnip or Jerusalem artichoke
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Rose water
  • 1 quince (or pear)
  • 4 eggs
  • A little butter
  • 6 dates
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Mace

Tools: a food mill or hand blender

This session will be a fantastic introduction to traditional and sustainable cooking techniques.

All levels are welcome and there is no prior experience required. There will be plenty of time to share, get feedback and meet other participants from around the world.

If you are not in EST time zone, be sure to convert the time.

How to join

We'll be hosting this VAWAA Online on Zoom. We'll send the link and details to join via email 1 day and again 1 hour before it begins.

About Ursula

Ursula is an archaeologist and cook, passionate about sustainability. For years, Ursula worked on excavation projects in Syria, Turkey and Egypt, where she often lived in small, traditional villages where locals would produce much of the food themselves. Inspired by this way of life, Ursula picked up a variety of recipes and traditional food preparation techniques throughout her travels.

Historic methods of producing and cooking food inspire Ursula academically, but also motivate her lifestyle. “Humanity has been able to sustain itself without extreme over-consumption for millennia, without exploiting the planet,” Ursula explains. She believes that looking back to traditional cooking techniques also encourages getting back to a more sustainable way of living. Ursula’s self-sufficient, solar-powered estate in Southern Italy, shared with her husband, harkens back to simpler times. Ursula grows most of her  food, eats fresh ingredients seasonally, raises chickens, makes wine and olive oil, and in her spare time, practices archery!

Visit her artist page to learn more about her in-person VAWAA.


"This class experience was fantastic! An intimate gathering to learn how to make homemade pasta, which was easier than I thought.  The timing was perfectly paced and Chef Ursula was great at giving information, checking to see how everyone was doing, and answering questions.  It was fun to see everyone working in their own kitchens, and amazing to experience a cooking class from Italy right in my own kitchen. I look forward to more classes like this :)" - Lisa

"What a fun way to cook a delicious meal and ready for lunch time! Ursula had tons of knowledge and somehow guided us to a great pasta. I had never cooked pasta with these ingredients and it was a real discovery. I will be cooking this often!" - Clara

"I particularly enjoyed Ursula’s way of being both rigorous in her explanations, while joking and being thought provocative about the evolution of our habits, tastes and beliefs through the ages." - Fredy

"Her wealth of knowledge on history, archaeology and the culinary traditions of Italy made for an informative and delicious experience." - Cherri

"She is a powerful and kind person with an impressive knowlege of history and great instincts for food and people." - Katie

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