Chocolate has been thought of as a declaration of love pretty much since the Aztecs first started believing that there was a link between the cocoa bean and arousal, but it wasn’t until the 19th Century that it became a Valentine’s Day staple. Since then, Valentine’s Day has been equally synonymous with chocolate and flowers. The love holiday doesn’t seem quite complete without a heart shaped box of bonbons to mark the occasion.
For a long time, chocolate was an expensive delicacy that didn’t taste all that sweet. Bitter cacao drinks were made from the cacao bean and only enjoyed by the very wealthy. It wasn’t until the second half of the 19th Century that “eating chocolate” was developed. Shortly after, milk came to be, but the sweet treat was still pricey and reserved for the wealthy.
In the late 19th Century, however, Richard Cadbury, founder of the famous Cadbury’s chocolate, found a way to make chocolate affordable. Being the natural marketer that he was, he took advantage of the Victorian’s passion for all things cutesy and romantic and packaged his new affordable chocolates in pretty boxes decorated with cupids and roses. A few years later he came up with the concept of heart shaped boxes which rapidly became the Valentine’s Day chocolates we know and love today. In 1923, Russell Stover introduced the heart shaped chocolate box to the US.
There are people all over the world who don’t give gifts on Valentine’s Day, claiming they don’t partake in “commercial holidays,” which, fine, is their prerogative, but there are a number of reasons why gift giving is important to relationships. Whether you gift your loved one something on February 14th or on another day, you’re communicating affection and interest in a very tangible way. When moderate and balanced gifts are given, they foster feelings of love in both the giver and the receiver and help ensure relationship success. Chocolate may not actually be an aphrodisiac, but giving a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates to someone you love, whether you’ve been together for a day or countless decades, is a sure-fire way to foster all sorts of warm fuzzies towards you.