Though tens of millions of people around the world celebrate 'Valentine's Day', the festival of love may go unnoticed by some, while others may choose to ignore it out of principle, on the grounds that it is nothing more than commercialised hype.
But here's the thing: even with all the marketing and media hoo-ha surrounding Valentine's Day, you don’t necessarily have to spend money on expensive gifts or proclaim your love and commitment over a candle-lit dinner on the 14th of February. Valentine’s Day can be just a simple reminder of how important it is to let our loved ones know how much we care for them, be it by creating time for one another after a busy day, or showing your appreciation after they do something nice for you. After all, actions speak louder than words!
That being said, Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular days to receive mouth-watering chocolates so why not go with the flow and send a tender wish, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with love?
Sri Lanka has been cultivating cacao since the 1700s and while Sri Lankans are not huge chocolate fans like the Swiss – who annually consume a staggering 12 kilograms of chocolate per person, the most in the world – the island does have its own local creamy sweet brands. From cashew nut & caramel to orange & coconut flavoured confectionery, chocolate in recent years is on everyone's lips.
The tradition of offering chocolates on Valentine's Day was established in 1861 by an innovative confectioner named Richard Cadbury. In keeping with the Victorians' widespread use of romantic symbols like rosebuds and Cupids, he packaged the chocolates in heart-shaped boxes and sold them on the 14th of February, effectively creating a symbolic meaning of chocolate: one of love, passion, care, happiness and pleasure. And let’s not forget chocolate's reputation as being an aphrodisiac, which dates as far back as the time of the Aztecs.
· Intense Indulgence. Chocolate is your favourite guilty pleasure – a tempting sinful confection that you can't say no to. Sounds familiar? Well, chocolate to you is as visually appealing as it is delicious and you know you're ready to celebrate as you crave something gooey and chocolaty. Do you want to experience life to its fullest and look for ways to indulge yourself? You bet! and this indicates that you will continue to look for chocolate confectionery that satisfies your desire for treats that offer gratification, exclusivity, and fulfilment.
· Mindful Indulgence. Chocolate is delicious but it shouldn’t be harmful to yourself, society or the environment. Does that strike a chord? You want to give in to your desires without jeopardising your health, the well-being of those around you, or the ecosystem. Chocolate must fulfil these needs in addition to being delicious, so you make a point of looking for ingredients that are plant-based, low in sugar, traceable and sustainably sourced.
· Healthy Indulgence. Chocolate is a food source that’s both healthy and good for you. You actively and intentionally make choices that will have a positive effect on your health and well-being. Rings a bell? You enjoy chocolate with added nutrients, like extra protein or fibre. To satisfy your sweet tooth while safeguarding your health you might, for example, take into account the nutrition content and quality of ingredients, perhaps opting for chocolate with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant flavonoids.
Whichever type of chocolate lover you are, remember – just like love, there are all kinds of chocolate to suit everyone!
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