We know Valentine's Day as a romantic holiday. For those in the Northern Hemisphere (particularly those in the colder climates), this is also often a good holiday for hunkering down with your honey, piled up with blankets and a nice, cozy fireplace. What could be more romantic than that?
Chocolate is known as an aphrodisiac in some cultures, and may make an excellent addition to your Valentine's Day menu. If you're looking for some way to add enhancements to your date night, cozied down with the person you love, then hot cocoa may be an ideal treat to add to the party. You'll find some recipes and suggestions here for making your hot cocoa stand out in the crowd of packaged cocoas that you can get at the market.
Make your special date amazing for both your lover and yourself with the addition of home-made treats that reflect the season and the tone of the holiday. The warmth of cocoa is perfect for the cold winter months and the chocolate is a perfect addition to a romantic night.
Chocolate: The Food of Love
Chocolate has been associated with love for as long as I can personally remember. Men purchase chocolates for their partners at Valentine's Day, and it's a classic apology treat. Boxes of chocolate are exchanged as gifts of love from one person to another, and women have been known to believe that chocolate itself can be better than romantic partnership with their husbands or boyfriends.
The reason for this appears to be that chocolate produces a chemical in the brain that is similar to the sensation of being in love. For this reason, chocolate is associated with love and romance. Think of it this way: If giving your partner chocolate as a gift will give her the sensation of being in love, and you want her to be in love with you, wouldn't you reach out to offer her something that will make her feel as though she's in love?
In essence, some people believe that chocolate can make someone fall in love with you. It's a little bit like magic (and we'll leave it at that, since science of chocolate and love is hardly romantic).
Why Hot Chocolate is Romantic
Done right, hot cocoa is romantic on several different levels, all of which work well for a Valentine's Day evening spent at home under blankets and watching a good movie. Hot chocolate (as opposed to chocolate candies) does several things for you and your partner, all of which will enhance your experience of your evening.
- Chocolate produces feelings of euphoria, much like the sensation of being in love. The hormones produced in the brain when consuming chocolate make a person feel similar to the way that they feel when they are in love. This can, in essence, "trick" a person into feeling that they are in love when they may not otherwise have that feeling.
- The warmth of hot cocoa increases comfort. Comfort opens a person up to making themselves more vulnerable. In order to increase the likelihood that you'll have a loving and romantic evening with your Valentine, helping her to let her guard down is an essential part of the program. Just don't take advantage of this vulnerability!
- Spiced hot chocolate produces endorphin, which increase the feeling of well-being. If you plan on using a spiced hot chocolate -- as I suggest in this article -- then the chili that you'll be using in your hot cocoa will also help to produce feelings of well being and euphoria in your partner.
In short, Hot Cocoa helps your partner to calm down, open up, and relax without the negative side-effects of alcohol. It's the perfect date-night drink, if you think about it!
Preparing Your Valentine's Mood
The goal of anything related to this holiday is to do things in the most romantic way possible. If you're looking to introduce hot cocoa to your Valentine's Date, try to do it in a way that integrates the cocoa into the party. Prepare the area of your date with cozy blankets, a good romantic movie, and plenty of coasters for your hot mugs to sit on so that they don't leave rings or stains on your coffee or end tables.
Try to keep to a Valentine's color scheme for your date as well. If you'll be cozying up with your partner in the living room, set things up to promote the same feelings of peace and well-being that your cocoa is going to encourage. I'd recommend using more pink than red for your setting (since red can be an "angry" color) and using darker colors only as accents in your decorating of the area where you want your date to be. Rose petals make a great accent, and try to set up a centerpiece on your coffee table as well: Pink or red roses are good, as long as the red isn't overwhelming.
Using heart-shapes is also a wonderful way to enhance the mood and tell your partner how much you love her!
Components of a Great Home Valentine's Date
Serving Your Valentin's Cocoa
When serving your romantic Valentine's Cocoa, consider serving the cocoa in mugs that reflect the day you're celebrating. I recommend not using heart-shaped mugs as they will be difficult to stir when it comes to mixing your cocoa with the boiling water necessary to make the powder into a cocoa drink.
I repeat: Heart-shaped mugs are hard to stir. Opt for something that has hearts or a romantic sentiment on the mugs instead of using something that's heart shaped. If you aren't comfortable with that, then choose a large, red or pink mug. Make sure both mugs you're using match in some way or another.
It's not recommended to simply use the mugs out of your kitchen cabinet. Use something that you can leave with your partner has a romantic memento of your Valentine's day together.
Creating Your Cocoa
You'll find a plethora of recipes on the Internet that can be used to create hot cocoa in a jar. This is an excellent option if you wish to send your Valentine home with some of the best cocoa that she's ever tasted in her life. You can even use your gift mug as the jar! But only if you don't plan on using it for your date, of course.
Whatever you do, please at least consider making home-make hot cocoa for your Valentine. This is an amazing gesture that won't be overlooked, I assure you! Plus, you get to know what's gone into your cocoa when you make it yourself.
Start out by obtaining some Mason Jars for your cocoa. You can purchase them from the link to the left. They come in a number of sizes and can also be found in craft stores. You're looking for the pint size, and should be able to save some money by purchasing from Amazon. Consider purchasing enough to make cocoa mix for your friends as well as your romantic partner!
I've included two recipes here. The first is in the video to the right, which covers how to make a basic hot cocoa mix. You may wish to add a pinch of salt to this recipe, since salt will help to bring out the flavor of the cocoa.
Both of these recipes are natural and should be good for those looking to consume more natural foods. Do be aware that they include processed sugar, however, and may not be right for those looking to avoid white sugar.
Valentine's Cocoa in a Jar
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 Cup Cocoa Powder, Dark or Light will both work. Dutch-Processed dissolves better.
- 2 1/2 Cups Powdered Milk, Use Whole Milk, not lowfat!
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 2 Tsp Cornstarch
- 1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper OR Cinnamon OR Cardamom, These can be used in combination -- Work it out to taste!
- Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container (such as the mason jars suggested above).
- Fill mug half-full with mix and pour boiling water over the mix. Stir thoroughly.
© 2014 Becki Rizzuti