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The Link Between Love And Chocolate Plus 12 Editor-Approved Ways To Indulge In Cacao

If you've ever wondered why chocolates are gifted on Valentine's Day, read this

It’s February! After an abhorrent January, I’ve never been so happy to make it to the month of love. I don’t subscribe to all that Valentine’s Day hype myself, but I’ll admit that we all need a respite. So Valentine’s Day couldn’t have come at a better time. 


And, what better way to show love than with chocolate? Chocolate has long been associated with romance, sex and desire. This luxurious treat can certainly be an instant mood booster, but will a melt-in-my-mouth, dark chocolate fudge brownie make me want to bed my husband? Not exactly. 


What chocolate does is make me giddy with delight, and it's the perfect season to get closer to this dark, seductive indulgence with its fascinating, bittersweet history. 


Sinfully seductive chocolate | Michele Blackwell, Unsplash

The ancient Olmec and Mayan civilizations, who had an intimate relationship with chocolate, were the first on record to use it. They could grow cacao in their own backyards so access to it was easy, and it was used in their everyday lives. They enjoyed it warm and bitter. The Mayans even revered it, including it in religious ceremonies and human sacrifice, mixing it with achiote to resemble human blood. 


It was the opposite for the Aztecs. Their environment was not suitable for growing cocoa, so chocolate was an imported luxury, available only to the wealthy. They experimented with beverage recipes by adding spices and flavoring like honey and cinnamon, and apparently had the technology to enjoy it cold! At this point, cacao was so precious, it was used as currency. 






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Through the Galleon Trade, Spanish conquistadors brought cacao back to Spain and consequently, to most of Europe. Having lost most of the South American cacao populations to disease, Europeans moved plantations to Africa, specifically to the Dutch, English and French colonies, simultaneously propelling the slave market. While African slaves tended to this high demand crop in cocoa plantations, chocolate shops popped up all over Europe. 


It wasn’t long before the chocolate craze spread throughout the world, and chocolate refinement processes developed. It was then — in the late-19th and early-20th century — that companies like Van Hoeten, Fry’s, Nestle, Cadbury in Europe, and Hershey’s in America were established. They soon discovered ways to make chocoholics out of all of us!







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SPEAKING OF CHOCOLATE: An English confectionary shop in 1915. Rowntree Chocolates was one of the big three in Great Britain at the time. All were Quaker companies. Because of their religious beliefs and discrimination against them ,many professions and organizations were not open to them. So they turned to business. Rowntree was the fourth largest chocolate company in the world when Nestle bought them in 1988. Many of their products live on under their old names, but are made by other companies. Perhaps the best known is the KIT KAT bar which was their best seller. It is still one of the most popular chocolate bars in the world. In Japan it is so popular that it is made with some 12 different fillings. If you visit York , England, you can take a chocolate tour. @chocolate_guru #chocolatelove #chocolatelover #chocolate🍫 #chocolate #chocoholics #candybar #chocolatelovers #rowntreechocolatefactoryvillage #rowntreechocolates #chocolateaddicts #yorkcocoaworks #yorkchocolatestory #yorkchocolate #chocolatemaker #chocolatehistory #xocolate #schokolade #xocolatl #kitkatjapan #kitkatlover #kitkat🍫 #kitkatchocolatory #kitkatmalaysia #kitkatmurah

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Fast forward to the 1980s, when the idea that chocolate had any physiological contributions to romance was formulated in the New York State Psychiatric Institute; a myth which was initially proposed by and then subsequently debunked by science. Drs. Donald F. Klein and Michael R. Leibowitz suggested that the brain of a person in love produced a chemical called phenylethylamene (PEA). Subsequent triggers of dopamine and norepinephrine ignite warm, fuzzy feelings of euphoria (the criteria for everlasting love, I’m sure). With the discovery that chocolate contains PEA, Klein and Leibowitz concluded that chocolate must give us euphoric feelings, too! 


But, further studies showed that the PEA found in chocolate didn’t even make its way into the human bloodstream, much less alter our libido! By the time this was discovered, it was too late — popular culture had already taken to the sexy chocolate myth and run with it. Thus, chocolate was dubbed an aphrodisiac forevermore.






Sorry to ice over anyone’s choco lava, but so far no scientific study has proven that chocolate can actually make us feel hot-and-heavy. Well, heavy, yes, but that’s besides the point. Whether or not there is a direct link between chocolate consumption and your libido levels, it certainly gets us excited simply because we enjoy it! Any effect it has on us is likely psychological instead of physiological. 


I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to bet that what actually gets our hearts racing is the thought that there is someone who thinks of us in that special way, and gives us chocolate as a token of love. History shows chocolate’s status as a revered, exotic item, and today it continues to symbolize something precious and luxurious and therefore, desired. Nothing less will do for one’s greatest loves.


Since it's the season of hearts, we thought share our favorite ways to indulge with chocolate, whether it's for your own pleasure or an expression of love for the people you care about most. 







The Flour Girl's Hundred Gram Cookie


A true heavy-hitter, The Flour Girl’s 100-Gram Cookie comes in a variety of flavors, but you can never go wrong with the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie. It's a perfect balance of soft but compact. The dough would have been dense if it were not intercepted by soft chunks of chocolate. Oh, and do try the Half and Half: half chocolate chip, half double chocolate, double the pleasure. 


P120 to P140 per piece, The Flour Girl Bakery, Ground Floor, D’Ace Plaza, Brixton corner United Streets, Kapitolyo, Pasig City, (0916) 697-9452, or follow The Flour Girl on Facebook or Instagram.






Sugarbee's Chocolate Cupcakes


Fluffy and moist, Sugarbee’s chocolate cupcakes come with a variety of toppings, including Dulce de Leche, Toblerone, Peppermint, Chocolate Mint, and Honeycomb. But it's the Salted Caramel flavor that put them on the map, at least for me. They come in singles or in boxes, depending on your mood. 


Between P75 to P90 per piece, available at Sugarbee branches, (02) 852-0557, or follow Sugarbee on Facebook or Instagram





Needletail Chocolate Fudge Brownie


A dark horse made by little-known baker, Needletail’s Chocolate Fudge Brownies are unforgettable. Dense and impeccably bittersweet, it's best paired with a bottle of black cold brew coffee for superb contrast. This is my go-to when I need a little pampering in a busy week.


P600 for a box of 6, available at Needletail Coffee, South Forbes, Nuvali, Silang, Cavite, (0917) 576-0715, order via Instagram or email needletail@gmail.com 


Chocolate Body Glow at Nobu Spa, City of Dreams


Chocolate is not just for eating. Think about smothering it all over your body to get all the lovely, moisturizing skin benefits it can give you. A delicious treat is  Nobu Spa’s Chocolate Body Glow treatment, which will moisturize and detoxify your skin, slow the aging process, and repair damaged skin cells. 


P1950, Nobu Spa, City of Dreams, Roxas Boulevard, Manila, (02) 8800-8080, visit Nobu Hotel's website, or follow them on Facebook.










Matinong Girlfriend and Matinong Boyfriend by Sebastian's Ice Cream


Sebastian's Ice Cream releases Valentine-themed flavors are back. You may have found your perfect one, but how cute that you and your beloved have ice cream counterparts! Matinong Girlfriend has Cerveza Negra, honey-roasted nuts and bittersweet chocolate, while Matinong Boyfriend is a mysterious dark chocolate and rum ice cream with candied hazelnuts and orange zest.


P145 a scoop at Sebastian’s Ice Cream branches, (02) 8426-6935, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.





Intramuros Liqueur de Cacao


Enjoy a sexy, homemade chocolate cocktail made with Intramuros Liqueur de Cacao. This tablea-based liquor is liquid gold, delivering a full-bodied cacao flavor with every sip. It has a 24% ABV, and its dark, seductive tsokolate notes will be sure to get you in the mood for love.


P1,299, order from Boozy.ph.






A Chocolatier Workshop


Get your friends together and sign up for chocolatier workshops at the Academy of Pastry and Culinary Arts (APCA). They offer two-day classes every weekend between March 14 and April 5, 2020. 


For details, visit the APCA Philippines' website.






Malagos Chocolate Farm Tours and Museum


Take a trip to the Puentespina Farm in Davao and sign up for a guided tour of the cacao plantation so you can experience firsthand the tree-to-bar process that their world class, award-winning heirloom cacao undergoes. Learn the wonders of chocolate-making, and even make your own chocolate at the Malagos Chocolate Laboratory.


For more information, visit the Malagos Chocolate website.






Chocolate Bonbons by CMV Txokolat


You'll have fun guessing the flavors of CMV Txokolat’s Assorted Praline collections. With ingenious creations like Gumamela, Santol, Gingered Cerveza Negra, Salt and Pepper Caramel, and Gin Pomelo chocolates, among others, every bonbon promises to be an adventure. Make it a fun family activity to identify the flavors. 


Starting at P420 for a box of 6, order from CMV Txokolat's Facebook page


Burnt Chocolate Cheesecake

Burnt Chocolate Obsession by Annette Alberto


This super decadent chocolate cheesecake is inspired by the classic Basque burnt cheesecake. it took five months to develop the recipe for this chocolate version, but it's totally worth it. Beneath the rustic exterior hides a silky, custardy interior with a surprising crunchy exterior. Delectable. 


Order from @annettealberto, price available upon request






Classic Hot Chocolate at Chocolate de Batirol, Baguio


A cup of hot chocolate in chilly Baguio is the quintessential experience, and is perfect for February when the chilly temperature permits for cuddling. The cups of hot, thick, bittersweet tsokolate is made in the traditional manner, in a pot with the wooden rod or batirol. 


 P80, Chocolate de Batirol, at Camp John Hay, Baguio.


Lead photo: Jessica Johnston, Heather Barnes, Michele Blackwell, Unsplash