Thursday, March 7, 2019

5 Reasons Why Chocolate is Associated with Love and Romance

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February is “Love Month”, and many people are showing their love by presenting their partner with a traditional gift of romance, one of the most common being the box of chocolates. Chocolate is known for being an iconic symbol for romance, and history has ingrained chocolate as a symbol of love in our minds for centuries. The first box of Valentine’s chocolates was introduced as a concept in 1868, and the tradition of presenting a loved one with a box of chocolates has stood the test of time.

Chocolate sales increase by the millions in February, especially leading up to the romantic holiday of Valentine’s Day – a fact confirmed by gourmet chocolate company Royce Chocolates. The history of chocolate as it relates to love and romance is long-standing. Chocolate has long been associated with sex, love, and romance – but why?

1. Chocolate as an aphrodisiac. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is known for being an aphrodisiac. Many lovers believe that eating chocolate sparks romance, enhances the mood, creates a sense of euphoria, and heightens romantic urges. There is some science that backs this up – just look at the ingredients and chemicals contained in chocolate:

Chocolate contains chemicals such as Tryptophan and Phenylethylamine, known for increasing serotonin and ‘feel-good hormones’. Tryptophan is a building block of serotonin, and Phenylethylamine is a chemical that increases sexual arousal. Even in small doses, Tryptophan and Phenylthylamine fire neurological signals in the brain and activate the brain’s pleasure and reward centers, creating feelings of euphoria and love. Dark chocolate contains anadamide which is known to increase dopamine production, making you feel happier and more in love.

2. Chocolate as a mood-elevating, stress-reducing food. Eating chocolate has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety while elevating the mood. Since eating chocolate can help someone feel more relaxed, chocolate can set the mood during a romantic date by relaxing your date, reducing any of that stress they’re carrying from their long day, and making them feel happier during the date. Researchers have found that eating dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao (ideally over 70 per cent cacao) reduces stress levels, improves brain health, and improves your mood. The effect of eating chocolate can be a natural high, increasing those loving feelings.

3. The decorative box. The history of chocolates as a symbol for love is rumored to have started with the decorative box of chocolates. Apparently, in 1868, Richard Cadbury realized that if he decorated the box to make it look beautiful, luxurious and romantic, he could sell tons of these boxes of chocolates to lovers who wanted to present their partner with a romantic gift.

He concluded that once the chocolates were eaten, the decorative box could be used to store romantic mementos and love letters. There are stories of military spouses saving love letters from their deployed husbands in a heart-shaped chocolate box. And, while historic chocolatier Richard Cadbury didn’t actually patent the heart-shaped box himself, it is believed that he was the first to produce one specifically for the purpose of a romantic gift – way back in the 1800s. And, since heart-shaped boxes of chocolates have been given to sweethearts since the 1800s, it has become a widely adopted romantic tradition.

4. Chocolate can be shaped, molded, and personalized. Not only can the box be decorated in a beautiful way and be heart-shaped to symbolize love, but chocolate itself can be shaped and molded in order to be more romantic. Heart-shaped molds help chocolatiers make heart-shaped chocolates, and stores all around the world sell these heart-shaped chocolates – targeting lovers in their marketing campaigns. Plus, since the various flavors and shapes can be customized to suit individual preferences, it’s a gift that can always be personalized for your loved one. This makes it a very simple romantic gift when romance needs rekindling in a pinch.

5. Sexual associations with chocolate. Many people believe you can’t have romance without sex, and chocolate has been historically associated with sex. Since chocolate is a food known for being an aphrodisiac, it’s long been thought to enhance sexual experiences. Many people even find the scent of chocolate sexy. Casanova called chocolate the “elixir of love” and drank it to increase his libido. At one time, nuns were forbidden to eat chocolate because of the sexual connotations it held. 

The chemicals in chocolate can increase sexual desire, and it’s believed that many men give their woman chocolates to increase her desire. Chocolate, however, can increase libido in both men and women, and it is therefore a great food for lovers to eat together.

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