Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
In the 1500s when the Spanish explorers sailed across the seas looking for treasures in the New World they found gold, silver, spices…and something more – chocolate.
Discovered in Mexico’s Aztec civilization, chocolate quickly became a favorite in the royal courts of Europe – prized for both its velvety taste and as an aphrodisiac.
SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that the belief that chocolate had love-inducing powers originated with Aztec Emperor Montezuma himself, who was said to drink 50 golden goblets of chocolate each day.
By the mid-1800s, giving chocolates on Valentine’s Day as a way to celebrate romantic love was popular in much of the world.
One of the first chocolate-makers to create special Valentine’s, heart-shaped boxes was Richard Cadbury of the famous British chocolate company.
The Victorian-era Cadbury boxes were so beautiful that people kept them long after the chocolates were gone and the boxes became treasured family heirlooms.
The art of making chocolate spread throughout Europe and the Swiss, Belgians, and French established themselves among the premiere chocolate-makers.
Familiar names include Nestle, Lindt, Tobler, and Godiva.
And, in America, Hershey, Mars, and that ever-popular Mrs. See’s.
National Geographic named Swiss chocolate company Teuscher the best chocolate maker in the world.
To see – and taste – why these chocolates are the best SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti drove down the coast to Newport’s Fashion Island to visit the Teuscher Chocolate Shop.
The upscale chocolates are like precious jewels…and just as dear.
When you enter the Teuscher shop you feel like you are entering a shrine to chocolate.
“It’s a small shop,” says Sunny, “but it’s overwhelming with all the different types and styles of chocolate to try… some shaped like ducks and elephants…
and planes and fish.”
“And there’s hot chocolate, too,” adds Patti. “From the first sip there’s an intense burst of rich flavor. You just want to take it all in and enjoy each sip.”
In fashioning its chocolates Teuscher finds the best ingredients from around the world. Marcus, the shop owner, told SurfWriter Girls, “The chocolates have no preservatives in them. Every two weeks an order of chocolates comes from Switzerland.”
Myths, folklore – and now even science – tell us that chocolate does in fact put people in the mood for love.
So, on Valentine’s Day, to heighten the romantic mood, be sure to give your sweetheart some chocolates, whether it’s a fistful of M&M’s or that gold standard of Swiss perfection, Teuscher.
Or simply make s’mores on the beach.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Patti & Sunny
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