Vintage HandPicked: Love and Chocolate

Rae Stang

Rae Stang › Rae Stang is a chocolatier, baker and the owner of Lucky Chocolates in Saugerties NY. She ...

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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on HandPicked Nation on February 7, 2012. It bears repeating!

Chocolate is like love: sensuous, sweet and intense.

Chocolate contains chemicals which cause the brain to release substances creating the same feelings in a person as being in love: euphoria, physical well-being, increased energy and alertness. Cocoa butter also melts at body temperature, creating a very sensual eating experience. Amazingly, it’s legal!

Perhaps the rareness and difficulty of production is the reason that makes it a fitting gift for one’s beloved. In days gone by, it would be quite a trek from so called “civilized lands” to get the raw materials to make a chocolate confection. Chocolate is a relatively rare substance only found in a very tiny area of the planet. Cacao trees grow in very specialized conditions within 100 miles of the equatorial belt. The trees are not tall, and like to grow in shady conditions with their roots heavily mulched. For that reason cacao farmers often husk the beans at the tree and throw the thick husks beneath the tree to compost on site.

Chocolate is exquisite and intense and as such is a fitting way to show your feelings for a person you cherish.

It takes quite a few steps before the cacao bean is turned in to the delightfully edible substance we know as “chocolate”. Cocoa beans must first be harvested, husked, fermented, dried, roasted, cracked, hulled and ground. Cocoa butter and cocoa solids are separated, then mixed back together with sugar and then ground into microscopic particles only a few microns in size. This process, called “conching” allows the chocolate to have a very smooth feel in your mouth. Tempering is the last stage, creating the right kind of crystals in the cocoa butter while the melted chocolate gradually cools in to its newly molded shape. That seems like a fitting task for love’s labor to prove devotion.

Used widely as a bitter drink by Mayan royalty, the connection between love and chocolate has only existed since the Europeans first brought it home a little over a century ago. Until fairly recently it was an expensive and luxurious gift.

Chocolate is exquisite and intense and as such is a fitting way to show your feelings for a person you cherish and to spoil them too. Each little bonbon can be a tiny work of edible art, ephemeral and delectable.

When Valentine’s Day comes to Lucky Chocolates, we have a much larger than usual influx of male customers. Many come with lists and they always put a lot of thought into their choices — more than any other holiday. Perhaps it’s the only holiday when men are truly on their own in the gift buying department, or perhaps they want to show their loved one that they are perfect in their eyes, calories be damned! Whatever the reason, chocolate continues to be a popular way to bring pleasure and delight to your “sweet” heart.

Now isn’t it time to put on your coat and go buy some chocolate? Better yet, buy from Rae at Lucky Chocolates in Saugerties, NY.

Photo Credit: Craig McCord