Why chocolate is associated with Valentine's Day

 chocolate cookies

Valentine's Day has several items associated with it: red roses, an exchange of cards (often heart-shaped and trimmed with lace), romantic dinners, wine, and last but not least, chocolate. But why, and how, did chocolate become associated with the holiday? NPR's The Salt has the answer

We need to travel back several centuries to find the root of the idea. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Latin America, cacao already had a reputation as an aphrodisiac. The Aztec leader Moctezuma served mugs of cacao-based drink at a banquet where Cortez was a guest, and reports of the elixir's alleged properties as a sexual stimulant traveled back with cocoa to Europe. It wasn't long before chocolate was popular on the other side of the Atlantic ocean. 

That only provides part of the explanation of why it is associated with Valentine's Day. We have to fast forward a couple of centuries to the mid-1800s in England to see how that happened. Chocolate had only recently been transformed from a drink to a solid candy. A rivalry between two chocolate companies J.S. Fry & Sons and Cadbury cemented the relationship between chocolate and the romantic holiday. I think we all know which company came out on top in that rivalry, but you can learn how fancy packaging helped link chocolate and Valentine's day on the NPR website

Photo of Double-chocolate sandwich cookies from Food Network Magazine

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