Who doesn’t love chocolate? The melt in your mouth, decadent sweetness of sugary bliss is as delicious as it is irresistible. And there is no better time of year to indulge in chocolate than the season of romance: Valentine’s Day.
At least that’s how Old Town Auburn feels. With our annual celebration of chocolate, we invite you to come out and mine some chocolate gold at local participating shops and restaurants.
Old Town Auburn’s 12th Annual Taste of Chocolate Event
Co-sponsored by the Old Town Auburn Business Association and the American Association of the University of Women, the 12th Annual Taste of Chocolate is a delicious tour of charming Old Town that marries the fun of shopping with the absolute decadence of sampling chocolate.
On February 11th, from 12-3pm, explore old town merchants while trying a sample of chocolate at each stop, even enjoying sips of dessert wine at some locations, for a small additional charge.
But that’s not where the fun stops.
A $20 ticket, available for purchase in advance at Sun River Clothing Company and on the day of at both the Courthouse and Old Town Post Office, gets you your “Passport” to each location serving chocolate treats, a small box you can use to save sweets for later, as well as one free raffle ticket.
There will be additional raffle tickets available for purchase at both the Courthouse and on the Re-Find Living porch. Passports must be turned in at Re-Find Living by 3pm in order to be eligible to win a raffle prize.
Sweetening the pot, the Sugar Plump Fairies will be stationed at the corner of the Post Office, sprinkling sweetness and offering hugs during the event.
From 11:30am-2:30pm is the Chocolate Challenge for local artists, taking place at the Courthouse. This competition challenges artists to create artwork using provided candies and cookies. Two prizes will be awarded: Best In Show selected by the new president of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, Katie Kenoyer, and the People’s Choice Award determined by public votes.
Although there are many fun reasons to come out for the event, you truly won’t want to miss all the mouth-watering samples that await you. Follow the pink and red balloons, and the delicious aroma of chocolate wafting through the air, to find participating businesses.
And Now For More Chocolate...
Can’t get enough chocolate? (Neither can we.) Here are some interesting facts about this incredibly tasty food.
While we do consume a lot of the world’s chocolate, we Americans aren’t the first to fall in love with it.
Held in high regard by the many civilizations who’ve had the pleasure of enjoying chocolate throughout recorded history, you might be surprised to find that the sweet treat of today is very different from the chocolate enjoyed by ancient peoples.
A Brief History of Chocolate
With a rich history dating back to the 1800 BC Mayan civilization, chocolate has long been revered as a stimulating sensory experience. Very different in taste and texture from contemporary versions, their chocolate was served as a rich, bitter beverage. Widely celebrated and easily accessible to Mayans, the upper class indulged in drinking it and the typical Mayan home would serve cacao drinks at nearly every meal.
Not a local crop for the Aztec population, they had to import cacao and it was, therefore, not as easy to come by. Believing cacao was a gift given to them by the gods, it was enjoyed mostly by the upper class, making appearances only on special occasions for the rest of the population. The Aztec civilization held cacao in such high regard that they used cacao beans as currency, placing its value above that of gold.
Chocolate arrived on the scene in Spain in the early 1500’s, where it became so well loved by the Spanish court that it was being imported by 1582. The popularity of chocolate spread like wildfire throughout Europe, but with a new twist. They began sweetening the drink with cane sugar, cinnamon and other common spices and soon there were high-end houses serving chocolate throughout many European cities.
Hitting the Southeastern tip of North America in 1641, by 1773 cocoa was enjoyed by colonists of all classes and was a major import of the American colonies.
From currency to commonplace, let it never be said that chocolate has come down in value. To this day, one enjoying a bite, or drink, of chocolate can attest to its undeniable worth.
10 Interesting Facts About Chocolate
- In 1847, the first chocolate bar was invented by Joseph Fry.
- The time it takes for a cocoa tree to produce enough pods to make 10 standard-sized Hershey bars is almost a full year.
- The cacao bean is native to Mexico and both Central and South America.
- Hundreds of Canadian kids went on strike in 1947, boycotting chocolate after discovering that the price of a chocolate bar jumped from 5 to 8 cents.
- Cacao trees sometimes live to be 200 years old.
- You get a more intense mental high, and your heart pounds more, from chocolate than from kissing.
- German chocolate cake is named after its inventor, Sam German, and has absolutely nothing to do with Germany.
- Americans are responsible for the consumption of almost half the world’s chocolate.
- Soldiers were sometimes paid in chocolate during the Revolutionary War.
- Around 400 cocoa beans are used to produce 450 grams of chocolate.
Why Do We Give Chocolates on Valentine’s Day?
Being such a timeless combination - chocolate and Valentine’s Day - one hardly stops to ask when it began and why. But, as with all great couples, there was an interesting courtship to this marriage.
It all started in 1861 when Richard Cadbury, a British chocolate manufacturer, packaged small chocolates in lovely heart-shaped boxes that he himself designed. Embellishing them with cupids and rosebuds was marketing genius. He knew that people would love the beautiful boxes and keep them to use for storing romantic keepsakes even after the delicious chocolates had been enjoyed.
Others followed suit, manufacturing heart-shaped boxes marketed for Valentine’s Day, and became the driving force behind chocolate becoming one of the most popular gifts given to sweethearts every year on February 14th.
Make this year the start of a delicious new pre-Valentine’s Day tradition with a loved one, or continue the tradition that you’ve come to love over the years. Come out and experience the sweet streets of Old Town Auburn.
With a wide variety of samples included, you’re sure to have a decadent time at Old Town Auburn’s Taste of Chocolate.