There is historical evidence that in England as far back as 1600’s, tiny pastel sugar candies were filled with love notes and after being dissolved in the mouth, the special message was found in side. Sweethearts ® Conversation Hearts, originally called Motto Hearts, originated in the 1800’s when printed sayings on colored paper were placed in small sugar candies shaped like scalloped shell. These were called cockles and perhaps the saying “cockles of my heart” originated here.
In 1866 Daniel Chase of Necco®invented a process which allowed the sayings to be printed directly on the candy. These were often called “Conversation Lozenges. In the early 1900’s Necco ® Sweethearts ®Conversation Hearts were cut in a variety of shapes such as postcards, baseballs or horseshoes and embossed with designs and longer sayings than the smaller present day iconic heart shapes.
Just how did chocolate become involved in the celebration of Valentine’s Day? It is really not that great a mystery for chocolate has been long recognized for its romantic powers. It is evident that for hundreds of years chocolate has been looked upon as more that an ordinary dessert.
In the early 1500’s the Aztec empire in Mexico was ruled by Montezuma. Records show that Montezuma drank fifty goblets of liquid chocolate per day. The Aztecs mixed their xocolatl powder (pronounced chocolatl) with wine, pepper, or honey and spice. Montezuma trusted in chocolates’ aphrodisiac powers, for he guzzled a golden goblet filled with the chocolate drink each time he entered his harem.
Once liquid chocolate made its way to Spain, it trickled across Europe where it was hailed as both a health tonic and a love potion to heighten sensual desire. Through the centuries as the liquid chocolate drink trickled through Europe, it became the drink of the wealthy aristocratic man and woman. Chocolate drinking became a social event and chocolate houses appeared throughout the continent.
The intoxicating substance became the subject matter for artworks, songs, prose and poetry. Chocolates ability to improve one’s physical and mental health led doctors to prescribe it as medicine for many ailments including broken hearts. Clearly it was becoming evident that chocolate was an edible substance that had unusual power over mind, body and soul.
The famous Italian romantic Casanova firmly believed in chocolates’ reputation as an improvement to sexual prowess. He was known to partake in a chocolate drink before his lovemaking to enhance his performance.
Cadbury Chocolate manufacturers of England not only were the first to come up with solid chocolate but also the first to put chocolates in heart shaped boxes to be sold for Valentine’s Day. The boxes were mostly heart shaped but always elaborately decorated and painted with cherubs, birds, loving couples and sweet ladies. They kept to afterward as jewelry, button and trinket holders.
Chocolate is the most potent and provocative of all foods. The mere thought of chocolate seems to engender an incredible sensual delight that is almost decadent. Chocolate is a lustful temptation around which there is always a hint of guilt because it makes one feel wonderful beyond belief. The anticipation of indulging in a chocolate dessert at the end of dinner is always looked forward to as the culmination of the meal.
Chocolate is perceived as one of life’s greatest pleasures. Chocolate speaks eloquently of love’s romantic spell on special occasions. It is influential and is bestowed on those to whom we wish to ingratiate ourselves. Indulging in chocolate evokes a sense of well-being, happiness and love. It is no wonder that chocolate is surrounded with a history that is laced with mythology. So it is easy to see how it has become associated with Valentine’s Day – it makes you feel loved and reinforces that wonderful feeling of being adored by your significant other.
The Chocolate Goddess is passionate about you making your Valentine’s Day more romantic by celebrating with chocolate. Whether it is a homemade chocolate dessert you bake from the heart or a delicious box of chocolates to share with a glass of champagne – you will see how much better Valentine’s Day is with chocolate!
- Barbara Esatto, The Chocolate Goddess