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The Gift of Chocolate

chocolate brownies baked in melbourne

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Chocolate is a pretty much foolproof option when it comes to gift-giving: delicious, versatile, and hundreds of varieties to easily choose from. It can be enjoyed by itself, or dripped and coated over fruits and sweet foods, or drank. But where did this sumptuous tradition come from, and why do we still enjoy it today?

Ox Rabbit baker eating a chocolate brownie.

God’s Gift

The Aztec and Mayan upper classes of Mesoamerica were reportedly the first to enjoy chocolate, with evidence of it being fermented into a cocoa drink from almost 4,000 years ago. The Aztecs even claimed it to be a gift from Quetzalcoatl, the serpent-bird god of wind and learning. Legends claimed that as a gift to humanity, he descended from the sky and dropped cacao beans all across the land, which were normally reserved only for the gods. The beans themselves were incredibly valuable among the people, even being used as currency; it was also around this time that chocolate was recognised and used as an aphrodisiac. It is alleged that on Christopher Columbus’ trip to Mesoamerica, he was given a basket of chocolates and, seeing how valuable it was to the region’s inhabitants, brought it back to Spain along with a shipment of cacao beans..

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Let Them Eat Chocolate

Effectively being introduced into Europe by Columbus, chocolate quickly spread around the continent and became incredibly fashionable. It made its way around the aristocracy and nobility first, with Anne of Spain gifting Louis XIII with a cocoa drink at their wedding, after which word spread through the French court and many other noble figures and royalty ferociously sought this delicious treat. Chocolate was effectively established as a luxury item, an indulgence enjoyed only by the richest and most powerful figures across Europe. Its aphrodisiac effects were also preserved: royal couples were known to mix their gifts of chocolate with amber to stimulate romantic and amorous feelings in their spouses.

Robert Campbell, Ox Rabbit bakery holding chocolate brownies baked in melbourne

I’d Do Anything For Love

Over the centuries, the recipe for chocolate trickled its way down to the common folk, and soon became an extremely popular option for gifts. Cadbury, the brand now most famous and synonymous with chocolate, took advantage of plummeting import costs in the mid-19th century and created its first box. Valentine’s Day eventually became hugely commercialised and was branded as a gift-giving holiday, setting the perfect scene for chocolate and romance to become tantamount to each other. This tradition continues today, with chocolate remaining the most popular option for Valentine’s gifts across the Western world (and the day after becoming infamous for its low chocolate clearance prices!).

Melbourne Chocolate gifts

Works Every Time

Chocolate has a long, storied practice of bringing joy to people’s lives. Love, romance, friendships, families, admiration, and appreciation can all be expressed with sweet, rich, mouth-watering chocolate. Continue this tradition today with Ox Rabbit’s delicious Brownie Box, Picnic Brownie, or even our new secret menu item, the Malteser x Lotus Biscoff Brownie. These days, you don’t need to be a decadent medieval royal to enjoy the smooth taste of chocolate – but you can certainly feel like one.