When we think of chocolate, we often step back into our fondest memories of how its flavor slowly coats our entire mouth as it melts on our tongue and gives us a warm relaxed feeling when we can’t help but consume more of its richness. We can literally see chocolate everywhere in our daily lives whether it’s in stores, on TV or mentioned in conversation when one of us gets the craving.
Consuming chocolate has been around for centuries since its unique taste was first discovered from the cocoa bean. Once valued as much as gold by the ancient Mayans, the delicious substance eventually made its way to Europe where cocoa and sugar cane were made only available to the upper class elites, as explained on History.com.
However, since chocolate has become more readily available, it’s also become one of the sweetest staples for our holiday tradition of Valentine’s Day. As Americans, we consume an average of 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year with 58 million pounds being sold in the week of Valentine’s Day.
Surprisingly, the tradition of gifting chocolates on Valentine’s Day actually began with Clara and Russell Stover who began wrapping “Bungalow Candies” in their Denver kitchen in 1923 and then moved to Kansas City to open several factories, selling Valentine’s chocolates in heart-shaped boxes to department stores across the Midwest.
This was a process derived from the Cadbury Chocolate Company in the U.K. who began making the heart-shaped chocolate boxes in 1861, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
Since then consumers can now find hundreds of varieties of chocolates to give their special loved ones during the second week of February.
“Everybody likes chocolate,” said Buddy Scott, owner of Jefferson City Cold Stone Creamery, who also co-brands with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
The shop not only offers its famous ice cream and cakes from Cold Stone Creamery, but a variety of chocolate confections made from Rocky Mountain Chocolate as well.
“Chocolate covered strawberries are always the deal for Valentine’s Day and lots of other chocolates goes out,” Buddy said.
“Our truffles are handmade. They’re soft centered in about 12 different flavors and they’re just a nice little morsel that you can buy individually, so I’d have to say they’re my favorites,” Buddy added.
For any chocolate lover, it may also come as no surprise that studies on chocolate have proven it increases the levels of endorphins in the brain giving you those warm fuzzy feelings.
In fact, a study by Dr. David Lewis, a psychologist formerly of the University of Sussex, concluded that eating chocolate can give people longer and more intense sensations than that of a passionate kiss.
“It’s one of those feel good things,” said Racheal Mattox, one of the bakers at Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery. “And it pairs well with a lot of other things like peanut butter or cherry, so it’s not just one of those one and done things; there’s a lot of different variations that you can do with chocolate.
“There’s cupcakes, cake pops, truffles, there’s … candy bars, chocolate drizzle, chocolate milk … any way you want it you can have it. I think that’s really what draws a lot of people to it,” she added.
With such a variety to choose from it’s no wonder chocolate can make a perfect and inexpensive gift for every friend and family member, even including the dog.
Although milk and dark chocolate will not sit well and can actually poison your furry companion, white chocolate does not contain the chemical theobromine, which is what can make dogs sick. Therefore, treats like the doggy bags of white chocolate dipped milk bones found at Cold Stone Creamery or the white chocolate peanut butter cups that can be found at Premium Pets pet store and supply company are perfectly safe.
As for the rest of the special people in your life, buying or making the perfect chocolate gift will surely make them feel loved on Valentine’s Day. After all when it comes to the giving of chocolate, there’s no limit to how you can say, “I love you.”
For more information about Cold Stone Creamery (610 Wildwood Drive in Jefferson City), call 573-636- 2653 or visit coldstonecreamery.com/stores/22081. For more information about Smallcakes Cupcakery & Creamery (905 Eastland Drive Suite B in Jefferson City), call 573-893-1326 or visit smallcakesupcakery.com. For more information about Premium Pets (700 E. McCarty St. in Jefferson City), call 573-896-1092 or visit premiumpetsjc.com.