When deciding on a Valentine’s Day present for your sweetie, chances are the word “chocolate” crosses your mind. Indeed, the holiday and the sweet treat are truly synonymous. According to the National Confectioners Association, 87% of Americans say they plan to celebrate the holiday with chocolate or candy this year, further solidifying chocolate’s place in the deeply rooted traditions of the lover’s holiday.
Valentine’s Day and chocolate go together like peanut butter and jelly or, shall we say, chocolate and potato chips. Indeed, every year millions of pieces of chocolate are exchanged on the holiday. But why is it that we so strongly associate the sweet stuff with February 14? The answer might surprise you!
The History of Valentine’s Day Chocolate
To understand why we give chocolate on Valentine’s Day, we have to go into the history of chocolate and the holiday as a whole. After the cacao bean made its way to Europe in the 1500s – spread there by Montezuma’s Aztec civilization from modern-day Mexico – it quickly gained popularity among the Spanish, not only for its delicious flavor but also because the Aztecs believed it to be an aphrodisiac food. In 1641, chocolate traveled back to North America on a Spanish ship, where it has been happily consumed by the masses ever since.
Although Valentine’s Day traces its roots back to the Roman festival of Saint Valentine, which was first celebrated in the year 496, it didn’t get its chocolate infusion until the Victorian Era. It was in 1837 that the chocolate-loving ruler Queen Victoria kickstarted Valentine’s Day as we know it today, encouraging people to give out cupid- and heart-themed cards and gifts of chocolate. Many commercial chocolatiers joined in on the celebration and capitalized off the trend with chocolates featuring fancy boxes decorated with – you guessed it – cupids, arrows and hearts.
Big names like Cadbury hopped on the bandwagon too, creating the iconic Valentine’s Day box of chocolates and adorning those boxes with pretty satin ribbons along with hearts and roses. In 1907, American chocolate pioneer Milton Hershey began marketing his chocolate morsels as “kisses.” Then, in 1923, Russell and Clara Stover created Mrs. Stover’s Bungalow Candies, the forerunner to Russell Stover Chocolates, which became famous for selling its assorted heart-shaped boxes of chocolate in department stores throughout the Midwest.
Should You Give Chocolate for Valentine’s Day?
If you’re in the market for a crowd-pleasing Valentine’s Day gift for pretty much anyone, the answer is a resounding yes! You absolutely should give chocolate as a gift for Valentine’s Day this year and every year, not only in honor of the centuries-old tradition, but simply because everybody loves it!
Explore Chocolate Pizza Company to discover some unique, handcrafted chocolate creations that will put a smile on the face of your sweetie! Our Valentine’s Day gift baskets and heart-shaped Chocolate Pizzas are always a big hit!