VALENTINE GIFT: Favorite Gourmet Chocolate | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food AdventuresVALENTINE GIFT: Favorite Gourmet Chocolate | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
Wildflowers & Hearts chocolates (the box is in the photo below). Photo courtesy John & Kira’s.
One of our favorite chocolatiers, year in and year out, is John & Kira’s. Using Valrhonacouverture, the exquisite flavor, beautiful design and a touch of whimsey make us want box after box.
We love the Chocolate Bees and Lovebugs (chocolate ladybugs). Our favorite product, perhaps because there’s nothing like it elsewhere, are the Chocolate Covered Figs, filled with a whiskey-accented chocolate ganache.
But for Valentine’s Day, the Wildflowers & Hearts box seem spot-on. Order yours at JohnandKiras.com. A nine-piece box is $29.
Red Chocolate Hearts are dusted with a golden sheen and filled with cinnamon-accented pistachio ganache. Wildflowers are 66% cacao chocolate ganache.
A nine-piece gift box is $29.00.
VALENTINE’S DAY HISTORY
The holiday named for the Christian saint Valentine had its beginnings as the raucous annual Roman festival of Lupercalia, held on February 15th. Men stripped naked and spanked maidens with whips with the goal of increasing their fertility. It was a wildly popular event.
In the fifth century C.E.—at least 150 years after Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire—church leaders sought to convert popular pagan festivals into Christian festivals. (Christmas is another example of this.)
Conveniently, there was a legend about St. Valentine to which Lupercalia could be pegged. According to the story, in the third century C.E. the Roman Emperor Claudius II, seeking to bolster his army, forbade young men to marry. The priest Valentine helped lovers by performing marriages in secret. For his defiance, Valentine was executed in on February 14, 270.
The nine pieces go quickly—but very happily. Photo courtesy John & Kira’s.
THE FIRST VALENTINE CARD
The first Valentine note on record was a couplet penned in the 15th-century by Charles, Duke of Orléans to his wife. The earliest surviving Valentine notes in English were written in 1477.
But it wasn’t until the 19th century that cards became popular. Handwritten cards gave way to mass-produced greetings. By the mid-20th century, tokens of affection extended to other gifts, including flowers and chocolates.
The first heart-shaped box of chocolates in North America was produced by Ganong Bros in Canada (founded 1873). The boxes were originally used during the Christmas season but subsequently remained for Valentine’s Day (source: Wikipedia).
Today, we know enough about chocolate to care about what’s in the box. Hold the cardboard heart; send us John & Kira’s.