ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Chocolate Became the Most Popular Valentine's Day Gift

Updated on February 14, 2022
Chuck profile image

Chuck enjoys celebrating holidays with his family. This has led to an interest in researching & writing about holidays & their traditions.

Chocolate and Love

Just as the crocus pushing its way up through the melting snow heralds the start of the transition from winter to Spring, the emergence of chocolate hearts wrapped in bright red foil and small, heart shaped boxes of chocolate candy on store shelves announces the end of the Christmas season and beginning of Valentine's Day preparations.

Valentine's Day is a celebration of romance and chocolate candy is both an everyday pleasure and a token of love. Sales of chocolate candy soar on Valentine's Day as men buy it as a gift to express their love to their wives and girlfriends.

Not that chocolate candy is sold only on Valentine's Day. It is popular treat year round as well as a popular gift on other days such as Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day.

Women Have an Affinity for Chocolate

But the demographics of chocolate candy sales change drastically in the days leading up to Valentine's Day.

According to some industry statistics, women purchase about 75% of the chocolate candy sold each year. However, about 75% of chocolate candy purchases in the days before Valentine's Day are made by men buying it for women.

While men are major chocolate candy purchasers for only a few days out of the year the dollar value of these purchases come to about $1 billion nationwide. This is in addition to their Valentine's Day purchases of flowers and jewelry for the ladies in their lives.

While chocolate, including chocolate candy, is liked by most people, women tend to have a somewhat greater affinity for it than men. While not a true aphrodisiac, consuming chocolate does produce a pleasant sensation and men have long known that in dealing with women gifts of chocolate are always a safe bet.

Chocolate is given as a token of a man's love or as a peace offering when he as done something to anger his love. It is also an excellent hostess gift that can be picked up on the way to a dinner party.

But chocolate, while it has a long history as a food, is a relative newcomer in the field of courtship and romance.

Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortes - Along with Gold and Silver, he found Chocolate in Mexico.
Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortes - Along with Gold and Silver, he found Chocolate in Mexico.

A Short History of Chocolate

In addition to the gold and silver of the Aztecs and Incas, Spanish explorers in the New World also discovered a number of new foods:

  • Potatoes which became a staple of the peasantry in many parts of the Old World.
  • Tomatoes which became a staple of Spanish and Italian cooking (and later American when Italian immigrants brought tomatoes with them to the U.S.)
  • Corn a popular summertime favorite as well as an ingredient in other Mexican and American favorites like tortillas
  • For seasoning and flavoring there were vanilla and chili peppers.

Then there was cacao or cocoa from which chocolate is derived. Archaeological records indicate that the Mayans of Central America were consuming cocoa as far back as 600 B.C. or earlier.

When Cortés conquered the Aztecs he was introduced to cocoa by the Emperor. But the cocoa consumed by the Mayans and later the Aztecs was not like our modern chocolate. Cocoa itself is bitter tasting and the Mayans and Aztecs consumed it as a drink in which dried cocoa was mixed with water and possibly some chili peppers.

When cocoa reached Spain, the Spanish began experimenting by mixing cocoa with sugar and vanilla to make a sweeter drink. The result was a hot chocolate type of drink which soon became popular among the upper classes, who were the only class in Europe who could afford the new delicious beverage.

In addition to hot chocolate, cocoa was also added bread and other baked goods to add flavor. By the first half of the eighteenth century cocoa production had increased and the price had fallen to the point where it became affordable to the general population of Europe and the European colonies in the New World.

In 1828 Conrad van Houton of Holland invented a process to make a refined cocoa powder which increased the output of the usable powder from a given crop of cocoa beans thereby further lowering the price of chocolate. People also began mixing cocoa with warm milk which became known as hot coca while the traditional mixture of cocoa and hot water continued to be known as hot chocolate.

Another big advance came in 1876 when a Swiss chocolate seller, Daniel Peter, invented a process for making candy out of milk chocolate. A little Swiss company named Nestlé picked up the idea and went on to become the global chocolate producer we know today.

In 1913 Jules Sechaud, a chocolate maker in Switzerland, created the first chocolate candy with cream and other fillings – and the modern soft centered chocolate candies were born. With this, chocolate candies joined the ranks of flowers and jewelry in men's courtship arsenal.

Cocoa Pods - Cocoa is grown in Central America and Africa and begins life in pods on a Cocoa tree.
Cocoa Pods - Cocoa is grown in Central America and Africa and begins life in pods on a Cocoa tree.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2007 Chuck Nugent


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)