What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with a box of chocolates, opens a new window?
Though Valentine's Day can be traced back to St. Valentine in the 5th century, opens a new window, it's ties to chocolate, opens a new window are relatively recent. Europeans were first introduced to chocolate by the Aztec Indians, who served it as a beverage and believed it had aphrodisiac powers. Love of chocolate spread across Europe, and in 1662 Henry Stubbe wrote The Natural History of Chocolate, opens a new window. Stubbe advocated for the beneficial qualities of the drink for one's romantic life and even introduced it to King Charles II. During this period, chocolate was still a delicacy most people could not afford.
By the Victorian era, opens a new window, Valentine's Day had become widely celebrated and cupid-bedecked cards and gifts abounded. In 1847 British chocolate maker J.S. Fry & Sons produced the first chocolate bar, meant for eating instead of drinking. The bar combined cacao powder, sugar, and cacao butter to create a moldable paste. A few years later the company began selling chocolates filled with flavored centers. However, it was Richard Cadbury who would introduce "Fancy Boxes" of chocolates in 1861. Inside, under a heavily decorated lid, assorted bonbons filled with marzipan, chocolate-flavored ganache and fruity crèmes nestled in lace doilies. In 1868 Cadbury, opens a new window made the first box in the shape of a heart for Valentine's Day. The boxes were prized by Victorians who would store love letters, lockets of hair, and other mementos in the empty boxes.
This love of chocolate has continued to grow. According to the National Confectioner's Association, opens a new window, 90% of Americans will purchase chocolate for a loved one this Valentine's Day.
This February cuddle up with a box of chocolates full of murder.
Candy-Coated Mysteries. Welcome to the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop--where life is sweet, revenge is sweeter, and murder is here to to stay. . .
Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries. When Charity Penn receives a letter saying she won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina complete with free cooking lessons at the town’s seaside chocolate shop, The Chocolate Box, she’s immediately skeptical. She never entered any contest. Her former prep school friend offers to look into the phony prize—only to end up drowned in a vat of chocolate.
Amish Candy Shop Mysteries. Bailey King is living the sweet life as assistant chocolatier at world-famous JP Chocolates in New York City. But just when Bailey’s up for a life-changing promotion, her grandmother calls with news that her grandfather’s heart condition has worsened. Bailey rushes to Harvest, Ohio, where her grandparents still run Swissmen Sweets, the Amish candy shop where she was first introduced to delicious fudge, truffles, and other assorted delights.
Chocoholic Mysteries. The second in the series. After giving up her career as a Texas trophy wife, 28-year-old Lee McKinney finds herself in a Michigan resort town, keeping the books for her Aunt Nettie’s luxury chocolate business. But she soon finds that her new life isn’t all truffles and bonbons...
Chocolate Whisperer Mystery. Hayden Mundy Moore is an expert on everything chocolate, helping clients develop new products and revamp recipes until they're irresistible. But sometimes, a dash of murder finds its way into the mix. . .
Death by Chocolate Mysteries. Life just got a little sweeter in the island fishing village of Eastport, Maine. Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree and her best friend Ellie are opening a waterfront bake shop, The Chocolate Moose, where their tasty treats pair perfectly with the salty ocean breeze—and the scent of murder . . .
Chocolate Covered Mysteries. Whether it’s to satisfy a craving for chocolate or pick up the hottest new bestseller, the locals in charming West Riverdale, Maryland, are heading to Chocolates and Chapters, where everything sold is to die for…