Saint Valentine’s Day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 500 AD. The High Middle Ages (1001-1300 AD) and the poet Chaucer get credit for linking romantic love to this Saint’s Day (at least according to Wikipedia).
But how did chocolate get so firmly embedded into the Valentine's Day tradition?
Skip 1,450 years of legend and lore, re-locate yourself to mid-20th century America and mass-produced chocolates are one of the symbols of love and friendship. The origin of those links remain a mystery, but one thing is certain: Mill Valley has no shortage of places to explore them.
In our little corner, we don't need to rely on mass-produced chocolates to convey our hearts’ messages. The recent arrival of in Strawberry Village has brought a plethora of handmade chocolates to town. Blue’s Valentine’s Day Love & Lust Collection includes the seasonal and holiday-themed flavors rose bud, pomegranate jewels, red hot cinnamon and habanero, sex on the beach (vodka infused), sweetie, bubbly (champagne infused), pretty in pink (peppercorn), between the sheets (brandy, triple sec and lemon), angel food cake and devil’s food cake.
Can’t decide on a flavor? Nicole Podell, the store's manager, recommends the devil’s food cake.
“It’s a layer of dark chocolate ganache with a layer of buttercream and a dark chocolate shell,” she says. “The flavor is unbelievable.”
Stop in for a Valentine’s Day sample or pick up a 10-piece box from the Love & Lust Collection for $18.
There are plenty of other local spots to find the nexus between chocolate and love. Pharmaca has "sassy and sweet" chocolates on hand, Whole Foods Market has a slew of cookies, cakes and cupcakes and Peet's Coffee & Tea has rolled out a raspberry mocha.