Sweets for Your Sweet: The History of Chocolate as a Symbol of Love

 

Gifting chocolate on Valentine’s Day is a super sweet tradition – but have you ever thought about why we give heart-shaped boxes of the sweet stuff on a day devoted to love? Well, it depends on who you ask. The connection between love and chocolate either came about because of an ancient ruler’s obsession with cocoa’s “virulent” properties – or it’s due to some really good marketing.

Chocolate has been around for centuries, but not in the silky smooth bars and tantalizing truffles you’re used to. For much of its early history, chocolate was drunk as an expensive – but bitter – elixir, often ground up with chili pepper or cinnamon by the Ancient Aztecs and Mayans to make it more palatable (we based Delysia’s Cayenne Hot Chocolate on this ancient potable potion). The Aztecs are often credited with making the connection between chocolate and love, or at least lust, when 16th-century ruler Montezuma noticed that his ability to “please the ladies” was enhanced after drinking cocoa. Rumor has it that he drank three gallons of the chocolate-y drink a day to increase his libido. Claims like that make chocolate the perfect V-Day gift.

Another titan – this time of industry instead of civilization – popularized the connection between chocolate and love centuries later in Europe. By Victorian times, Valentine’s Day was celebrated as a holiday devoted to romantic love. The Victorians, obsessed with all things Cupid, delighted in giving lavish gifts and cards to their loved ones – but gifts of chocolate were absent from the fun. Enter one Richard Cadbury. Cadbury, a British chocolate magnate whose name still sounds familiar today, pioneered tasty tasting eating chocolate, instead of the bitter drinking variety, after discovering a way to extract a larger amount of cocoa butter from cocoa plants. He saw an enormous business opportunity for Feb. 14th, so he slapped his new solid, sweet chocolates into elaborately decorated tins, often adorned with cupids, roses, and other symbols of love, and marketed his product as having two purposes: after eating the tasty chocolates, your sweetie could use the pretty box they came in as a place to store her love letters and trinkets. The Victorians ate it up – and we’re still gifting chocolate in pretty boxes, often heart-shaped, on Valentine’s Day today.

Want to carry on the chocolate-y tradition this February? Delysia chocolate makes the perfect sweet treat for your loved one. Try Delysia’s special Valentine’s Day Truffle Collection, featuring the lovely flavors of raspberry, dark chocolate, and champagne. Nestled in a pretty red box tied with a silky white ribbon, our V-Day truffle collection oozes sophisticated sweetness.

Nicole Patel

Nicole Patel is the proprietor of and chocolatier for Delysia Chocolatier. In 2006 while pregnant with her first son, Nicole made a batch of chocolate truffles as holiday gifts. To the delight of friends and family, she continued to create chocolates as a way to relieve stress from her corporate engineering job. In 2008, a chance trip to Becker Vineyards led to Nicole being the first in Texas to make truffles using local wines. Within five years, what started as a hobby turned Delysia into one of the Top Ten Chocolatiers in the Americas, as selected by the International Chocolate Salon.

One response to “Sweets for Your Sweet: The History of Chocolate as a Symbol of Love”

  1. I have a friend that is thinking about getting candy boxes for his wife’s birthday. He wants to know a little more about the idea between love and chocolate. If he knew that ancient rulers found chocolate as a great way to make the ladies happy, he would love getting chocolate.