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Sweet nothings

The tradition of Valentine’s Day and chocolate

by Kaitlyn Conrad/Photo & Web Editor

 

Valentine’s Day; the simple thought of the day can either make you cringe, throw up a little bit in your mouth or swoon with romantic anticipation. Whether you truly enjoy the day or positively dread it, there is one undeniable thing about Valentine’s Day that just about anyone can be excited about: chocolate.

Besides flowers, chocolate is one of the most common gifts on this day. How and why did this come to be, you ask?

Since the time of the Aztecs, chocolate has been referred to as “the food of the gods.” Montezuma, the Aztec ruler, believed that chocolate was an aphrodisiac, or something that arouses sexual desire. When Christopher Columbus discovered chocolate in the Americas, he loved it so much that he brought it back as a tribute to Queen Isabella of Spain. Chocolate became a new luxury and it’s legend as an aphrodisiac made its way throughout the aristocracy of Europe.

Throughout time, chocolate became very popular and made its way to the masses. In the 1860s, the Cadbury brothers set up shop in England and they sold chocolate to regular masses. In 1861, Richard Cadbury created a heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day. Since then chocolate and Valentine’s Day have had a common link and it has become a tradition.

chocolate b&w

Dove chocolate is a popular chocolate to give on Valentine’s Day.
Photo by Kaitlyn Conrad

We now know through modern science that the sexual arousal Montezuma was describing was the chemical phenylethylamine that is found in chocolate and gives feeling of excitement, attraction, and pleasure.

In research studies, it has been found that the chemical found in chocolate is not the only enjoyable thing about it. Chocolate’s sensory experience of its smoothness and its aroma has been found to be pleasurable.

Chocolate is a part of Valentine’s Day because it is tradition. People have found it to be pleasing and enjoy the taste. It is a sweet gift to give your loved one or yourself on Valentine’s Day.


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