Is that a chocolate bar in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
February 14: a day once considered religious turned into a day of gift giving and adoration. Valentine’s Day is a day of romance, seduction and CHOCOLATE. But why is chocolate such a big part of the holiday? Many know that chocolate is considered an aphrodisiac, but the history of its use on Valentine’s Day is a longer story.
Where does this sexy treat come from, anyway?
Chocolate is made from cacao beans, which are mainly grown in Latin America. During the age of the Aztecs, chocolate was considered a luxury that was consumed by royalty regularly and by other elite on special occasions such as marriage. Typically, it was consumed in a way similar to modern hot cocoa, except it was made with chili peppers instead of sugar. The drink was associated with the Aztec goddess of fertility, Xochiquetzal, so it was drank by newlyweds to increase seduction and fertility.
When did it become a V-Day thing?
Eventually Christopher Columbus “discovered” chocolate along with Latin America and brought it to Europe, where it was turned sweet and became a pretty big deal. By the time Valentine’s Day became a romantic holiday in the mid-1800s, chocolate was quite a popular commodity, and a man named Richard Cadbury saw the opportunity to profit off of it even more than before. He started marketing it for Valentine’s Day in heart-shaped boxes that could then be used for storing romantic mementos and other small but meaningful things.
Russell Stover then took Cadbury’s idea of decorating chocolate boxes in a sexy way, further driving up the consumption rate. The tradition of buying and gifting chocolate on the day of love became even more popular in the United States when it became a symbol of sexiness in film. It was common to see a woman lounging around eating a box of chocolates to show that she had sex appeal. This made chocolate less of the romantic and erotic treasure of the past and more the commercial commodity that it is today.
So, whether you have a valentine or are your own valentine, chocolate is unanimously associated with the holiday. It can either be perceived as a sensual aphrodisiac or just another capitalist ploy, but regardless, it sure does taste good.