Chocolates, often packaged in fancy heart-shaped boxes and tied with bright red ribbons dominate the shelves of supermarkets and deli shops. Well, it is almost February, after all, and Valentine’s Day is one of the most commercialized occasions of the year.
Why are chocolates associated with Valentine’s Day?
Looking at how Valentine’s Day attractions are packaged, it would seem that, coupled with flowers, wine and a candlelit dinner, chocolate, an alleged aphrodisiac, is part of a ritual of seduction to set a mood to… how should I describe it—lose one’s inhibitions?
Just where did this idea that chocolate can trigger sexual desire and prowess com from?
In the early 1500’s the Aztec empire in Mexico was ruled by Montezuma. Records show that Montezuma drank fifty goblets of liquid chocolate per day. The Aztecs mixed their xocolatl powder (pronounced chocolatl) with wine, pepper, or honey and spice. Montezuma trusted in chocolates’ aphrodisiac powers, for he guzzled a golden goblet filled with the chocolate drink each time he entered his harem. [Source: The Chocolate Goddess (quoting from her own book)].
No scientific proof that chocolate is an aphrodisiac
Despite the beliefs and practices of an Aztec emperor who lived over six hundred years ago, there is still no scientific study that confirms the relation between chocolate consumption and elevated sexual desire or prowess.
And yet, the absence of any scientific basis has not prevented chocolate manufacturers from continuously harping on the myth to sell their products. That makes the seduction multi-dimensional. Even before a couple commences on the seduction ritual, peddlers of anything and everything associated with romance initiate the first seduction—they seduce the consumer to buy things which, they promise, will make the consumer’s own attempts at seduction easier and a lot more pleasurable. Candlelit dinner, flowers, wine and chocolate.
Aphrodisiac or not, chocolate is good to eat. But is it really a health food?
There are chocolate sellers who refuse to insult the consumers with claims that chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Some of them, however, don’t shy away from an altogether different marketing strategy by focusing on supposed findings that chocolate is good for our health.
Chocolate is a health food? Where did that come from?
Over the past 30 years, food companies like Nestlé, Mars, Barry Callebaut, and Hershey’s — among the world’s biggest producers of chocolate — have poured millions of dollars into scientific studies and research grants that support cocoa science…
…But despite the industry effort to date, cocoa still has never been proven to carry any long-term health benefits. And when it’s delivered with a big dose of fat and sugar, any potential health perks are very quickly outweighed… [Vox]
The bottom line? If you like chocolates, go ahead and enjoy them. You don’t need an occasion (like Valentine’s Day) nor a reason (that it benefits your health). Indulge. After all, YOLO.
But if you really have to have chocolate as part of your Valentine’s Day celebration, forget the overpriced stuff. Make something with your own hands instead. Anyone not just out to empty your savings will surely appreciate the gesture.