Chocolate is one of the number one gifts for Valentine’s Day and it’s not hard to understand why. As a nation, we love chocolate - chocolate for Christmas, chocolate for birthdays, and more chocolate for Valentines! Our supermarkets are full of chocolate products and the sweet aisle is certainly somewhere we spend a lot of our time. But where did the sweet, yummy goodness come from? And why should it be your number one choice of Valentine’s gift this year?
Where was chocolate discovered?
Found in South America and also known as ‘food for the Gods’, chocolate dates back to the Aztec age where it was originally taken as a bitter drink made from cacao beans, grown on cacao trees and derived from the cacao fruit. Chocolate dates back at least 2000 years and maybe even as far back as 1400BC. Even though exact dates are uncertain, it is clear that cacao beans were a precious commodity that was often used as currency. Some even deemed it to be magical.
Where was it First Made
The cacao drink recipe made its way from South America to Spain, and after some experimentation it was discovered that the drink tasted even better with some sweetener and served hot. Thus, Hot Chocolate was born. Shortly after in 1847 Cadbury’s created the first solid chocolate form, and Daniel Peter of Vevey (Switzerland) created the first recipe for milk chocolate, made with sweetened condensed milk.
Who Invented Chocolate Candy?
Chocolate as we know it today, in delicious solid form with added sugar, was first created by Joseph Fry in 1847. A few years later, in 1868, Cadburys started producing and successfully selling chocolate bars, closely followed by Nestle.
The health benefits of chocolate
Considering buying chocolate as a gift for your loved one, but know they’re sticking to that new year diet plan? Worry not, chocolate can actually be healthy!
Historically, in the age of the Aztecs and Mayans, cacao was a drink taken by many for its rich qualities. Europeans then went on to develop sweetened chocolate recipes making chocolate known for being rather unhealthy and a treat. However, chocolate with a higher cocoa content has been found to have huge antioxidant potential and consuming just a square or two of dark chocolate has been said to have health benefits! In addition to all this, researchers have found that compounds in chocolate actually contain UV filters, meaning that chocolate can actually help keep your skin healthy.
Chocolate and Women
The lower the sugar content, the healthier the chocolate is. High cocoa content chocolate has even shown links to reducing cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of heart disease. If you’re buying a gift for the lady in your life, bear in mind that Chocolate has also been known to help with PMS, as chocolate releases endorphins. And if your loved one is pregnant, theobromine (a chemical in chocolate) may reduce preeclampsia.
Chocolate and Vegans
Even Vegans can enjoy chocolate in some form. Alternative chocolate products, which are very similar to then normal chocolate bars are available with the occasional substitute and rice milk can be used instead of cow’s milk. Cadbury’s Bourneville - also known as Cadbury’s dark chocolate - is also vegan as it contains absolutely no milk.
With all this on offer, it’s no wonder that chocolate is something that covers all tastes – so why not invest in some for your loved one this Valentine’s Day?