V-Day is fast approaching. The day of love. The day you get to show your significant other just how much they mean to you with a meaningful gift.
Or really just a good excuse to eat some deliciously decadent chocolate!
Whether you are looking for a sweet gift to woo a crush or a tender gesture for your other half, chocolate is a go-to Valentines Day gift that epitomises romance and affection.
Did you know, in the U.S. alone, people spend around $1.7 billion dollars on candy for the day dedicated to love? And, they spend 75% of it on chocolate. It is not just the Americans that go ga-ga for chocolate. In fact, the same spending behaviour is seen in many countries around the world.
Naturally, we think that every day is a good day to receive the gift of chocolate. But, we were curious as to how the most revered of sweet treats became the go-to gift on Valentines day.
Here’s what we discovered…
Where It All Began
Any chocolate lover knows that cacao beans are what makes the chocolatey magic happen. For centuries, that humble bean has been considered an aphrodisiac. Cacao was thought to stimulate desire and provide energy for — shall we say — romantic encounters.
It seems to have begun back in the time of the early Aztecs, by a rather raunchy emperor called Montezuma. He was rumoured to eat cocoa beans and chug rich cacao beverages as a way of fueling his encounters with the ladies. Even the infamous playboy Casanova referred to cocoa drinks as “the elixir of love.”
So, how did this potent and sexy brew cross over into the mainstream, commercial realm of Valentine’s Day?
Featuring In Valentines Day
A kind of Valentines Day has existed for centuries. But, the gift giving component only became popular in the Victorian Era. Up until the 1840s, chocolate was considered a luxury product. It was unaffordable for the average Jane or Joe. But, around this time, a marketing genius (who we will be forever grateful to) produced the first chocolate “bar”. This little invention transformed the world of chocolate.
During the Victorian era, chocolate boxes became a popular way for a man to declare his love to a woman. A combination of cultural trends and some clever marketing caused waves in society. In fact, Victorian etiquette books warned single women against accepting chocolates from a man that they weren’t engaged or related to! This was because such raunchy connotations were attached to boxed chocolates!
A Chocolate Love Story
As the product became more affordable, it increased opportunity. One of the grandfathers of chocolate, Richard Cadbury, had a marketing lightbulb moment in 1868. He decided to create a heart-shaped box full of chocolatey goodness specifically for Valentine’s Day. Ornately decorated with hearts and kittens, the boxes were a huge success.
The swooning recipients of the elegant gift, treasured the boxes as much as the contents. The pretty boxes were lovingly used to store love letters and other mementos within.
From that point, chocolate manufacturers simply utilised the power of advertising to firmly establish chocolate as the gift of choice on the most romantic day of the year.
Does Chocolate Deserve The Reputation?
There isn’t a lot of scientific proof to back up the aphrodisiac properties of cocoa. However, cocoa does contain components that affect the pleasure and reward centres of the brain. Meaning that eating it causes your mood to lift and, potentially produce feelings similar to those of falling in love.
Whatever the reason for the link between love and chocolate, there’s no doubt that receiving a box of carefully selected, decadent chocolates on Valentine’s Day makes one feel special and spoiled – the perfect recipe for a sweet, romantic rendezvous.
So on that note, why not treat your special someone to a gift of specially selected, delicious NZ artisan chocolate this Valentine’s day? Select a one-off gift box, or you can even purchase them a gift subscription (or one for yourself!) Shop the boxes here.