Do you think chocolate is a trite and tasteless Valentine’s Day gift? Does a red heart-shaped box of chocolates filled with nougat cool your sense of romance in front of possible admirers who would dare to treat you with it? Or is it that the chocolate is just too irresistible, a temptation you’d rather have out of sight and out of mind? Regardless of your opinion of chocolate — and candy in general — when it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s here to stay, and with good reason.
Chocolate has been viewed as an aphrodisiac and symbol of love since it was used in ancient Mayan wedding ceremonies, explains The Sugar Association. That may be because chocolate releases dopamine, an internal neurotransmitter that evokes good feelings and a sense of reward (via Daily Mail). It also causes our body to release dopamine, which causes the pupils to dilate and the heart to beat faster, both signs associated with romantic love. One ingredient in cocoa is theobromine, which a 2015 paper published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found to have a host of beneficial effects, including heart health, increased energy, and improved mood. That doesn’t make chocolate (even if you have to buy it for yourself) a too shabby way to look for a happy, healthy Valentine’s Day.
But if a box of chocolates is still too corny for your taste—or your special someone’s taste—then our choice of a warm alt Valentine’s Day gift just might melt you.
Candy with chocolate
Gourmet cookie purveyors Insomnia Cookies are stepping out of their comfort zone as the holidays approach and are offering their twist on a classic dessert, the chocolate lava cake — also known as molten chocolate cake. Their Deluxe Filled Lava Cake is made with three different types of real Ghirardelli chocolate: semi-sweet chips, rich cocoa powder, and a delicious chocolate filling. The cakes rolled out on their website and in stores on Jan. 24 and will be available for a limited time through Feb. 19, perfect for Valentine’s Day pre-planners and late-night revelers alike.
In addition to the chocolate lava cake, Insomnia has rolled out a few other treats that are an extension of the holiday. These include red velvet cookies and brookies (cookie-brownie hybrids), chocolate-covered strawberry cookies, Vegan Red Velvet Cookies N Cream cookies, and a Be Mine Fancy Sprinkles Blend. While all of these treats are available individually, they can be purchased together in several special packs released for the holiday season, such as the Chocolate Lover’s 4+6 Pack and the “For My Gal Pal” Gift Box Sleeve.