Chocolate and Valentines Day have gone hand in hand for nearly three hundred years. Chocolate took its place in Valentines Day tradition in the High Middle Ages during the period where Geoffrey Chaucer helped spur the evolution of the holiday, into the celebration of love and romance we know today.
Chocolate’s romantic roots go all the way back to its development by the Aztecs. The Aztec leader, at the time of Christopher Columbus’ exploration of the Americas, Montezuma, claimed that chocolate was an aphrodisiac. Columbus sailed back to the Spanish Crown with many treasures to present to Queen Isabella, one of which was chocolate. Tales of its aphrodisiac qualities caused chocolate’s popularity to spread rapidly through the European aristocracy of the time. Over the next few centuries chocolate gained popularity all over Europe, and by the 1800’s was being mass-produced and marketed to average citizens. Modern science has shown that chocolate does in fact have chemical activators that function as aphrodisiacs in the human brain, as well as natural antidepressant properties.
These characteristics coupled with a growing popularity of the sweet treat, left it perfectly poised to be a token of love and affection that we continue to give to this day. So, if you know your significant other’s favorite chocolately snack (which you should know), make sure to treat them this Valentines day.