What symbolizes love to you…Cupid, roses or doves? For many Valentine sweethearts, boxed chocolate is a must. In fact, it consistently ranks as one of the most popular Valentine’s Day after year. To think, it all started in England with the Cadbury family, who still manufacture chocolates today.
The Cadburys are generally credited with being the first to package “eating chocolates” in 1861 in heart-shaped boxes decorated with cupids and rosebuds. As a way to boost sales, the chocolatiers encouraged consumers to save these beautiful boxes for cherished mementos like love letters.
Although giving chocolate to our sweeties is an established tradition, chocolate isn’t naturally sweet. It’s made from cacao beans which are bitter. It’s not until sugar and other ingredients are added that chocolate tastes sweet. The ancient Mayans said it all when they called it, xocoatl, which means bitter water.
If you’ve never seen a cacao bean, they’re found inside seed pods that grow on the trunks—not the branches—of the cacao tree. Pods are about the size of a pineapple and hold 30 to 50 seeds. Since it takes about 12 seeds to make an ounce of dark chocolate, imagine the amount needed to satisfy the Valentine’s Day rush. Last year alone it was estimated that U.S. consumers purchased about 58 million pounds of chocolate just before Valentine’s Day!
For those of you who want to give your valentine some chocolate from the heart, try this recipe from GVEC member, Rosemary H.. It’s a keeper!
Easy Valentine Fudge
Rosemary H., Cost
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can Carnation evaporated milk
- 1 cup butter
- Dash of salt
- 1 (12 oz.) bag chocolate chips
- 1 pint jar Marshmallow Creme
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup chopped nuts
Cook sugar, milk and butter to soft ball stage (236 degrees), stirring frequently. Remove from heat, add salt, chocolate chips, Marshmallow Creme, vanilla and nuts. Beat by hand until chocolate and Marshmallow Creme are melted and blended. Pour into a buttered 9x9x2 pan and keep it on the counter until fudge sets. Cut into squares.