So Why Do We Give Chocolate for Valentine’s Day?

Handmade at The Happy Chocolatier
Dark Chocolate Double Hearts Handmade at The Happy Chocolatier

Every Valentine’s Day, chocolate becomes part of the romantic holiday. Why? Is it because of all the health benefits of chocolate? Is it because it is simply satisfying? Or, is it just the tradition of it all….

I think the tradition angle wins out. Chocolate has been referred to as “the food of the gods” since the time of the Aztec Indians. In fact the Aztec ruler, Montezuma believed chocolate was an aphrodisiac. Christopher Columbus enjoyed the chocolate he discovered in the Americas. So, he brought it back as a tribute to Queen Isabella of Spain along with other treasures like gold! This new luxury, chocolate, and its legend as an aphrodisiac quickly made its way across the aristocracy of Europe.

In time though, chocolate made its way to the masses. By the 1800s, the Cadbury Brothers had set up shop in England making and selling chocolate to average citizens. In 1861, Richard Cadbury created the first ever heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day. Thus, began the common link between chocolate and Valentine’s Day. A new tradition was started.

And a few fun supporting factoids:
1)       Modern science has linked the chemical phenylethylamine in chocolate to feelings of excitement, attraction and even pleasure.  Maybe Montezuma was, indeed, onto something. You can decide on that one for yourself.

2)       Though women make most of the chocolate purchases during the year (75%), men make the most purchases for Valentine’s Day (75%).

3)       A survey SuzySaid and The Happy Chocolatier conducted with local women indicated that most wanted the chocolate Valentine’s Day gifts delivered to the home (not work). And, that they would share the treats with their loved ones (great news for the buyer).

So, my guess is that men buy chocolate because it is part of the Valentine’s Day tradition. And, from what our survey found, part of that chocolate giving tradition is now to send the gifts home or to simply bring them home!

This year, as part of the chocolate giving tradition, The Happy Chocolatier will make a donation to the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women for every gift box of chocolates purchased for Valentine’s Day. It’s a cause near and dear to our family and the pledge carries forth our goal of giving back.