We've all heard rumors of chocolate's aphrodisiac properties. Is there truth in this? Can foods like chocolate be aphrodisiacs or is this just a case of the placebo effect? These burning questions lead us way back in history to the Mayans.
The History of Chocolate
We know that the Mayans were using the cocoa bean as currency. While the beans were said to have aphrodisiac properties, this may not necessarily show up in the history books. As well as being the common currency, cocoa beans were also documented as payment for concubines. This suggests that the aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate may have been used by the concubines to increase sexual desire in themselves and their ancient clients.
The Aztec ruler of Central America, Montezuma's consumption of the cacao bean is more clearly associated with his sexual pursuits. It is said that he would be drinking chocolate or consuming copious amounts of cacao elixir before heading to his harems and with 200 wives, fueling his desires and sex drive was a must.
Giacamo Casanova and Chocolate
Another famous lover in history, Casanova, also makes the case for chocolate being linked to sexual function. He reportedly purported that chocolate was only second to champagne when it came to wooing women and that the allure of his prowess and creamy chocolate was all that it took to play upon the craving prone. He was also known to consume chocolate to improve his ability to exude energy for "certain activities".
Courtship in the 20th Century
At the turn of the 20th century, chocolate truffles were often a gift of courtship and while the gesture is perceived as romance, scholars also suggest that in the era when sexuality was becoming more of a topic of conversation and its acceptance more widely acknowledged, this gift may have also been a symbol of sexual advances towards the recipient.
These anecdotal stories of the past would suggest that chocolate consumption and sex drive go hand in hand, but as science has entered the picture, we have learned more about foods' effect on the brain and about psychology versus physiology when it comes to consuming certain foods. Read our guide 'Food that is good for the brain' to learn more.
What is in Chocolate, Exactly?
What we know with certainty is that certain foods, including chocolate, contain phenylethylamine, a stimulant, and serotonin, which interacts with chemicals in our brains to boost our moods and sex hormones.
Health Benefits of Chocolate
When it comes to certain health benefits of chocolate, dark chocolates' high level of antioxidants and dopamine, as well as their effect on blood flow to the heart and blood pressure make the case that it is a healthy food (in moderation of course). In combination, all these factors may improve libido, but the debate about how much of each of these ingredients one would need suggests that it would take consuming more than any human could to produce that physical effect.
In the line-up of the most powerful aphrodisiac food, chocolate is always included on the list, but often lower in the roster than things like oysters, chili pepper and red wine, and the even more potent asparagus and maca root, a ginseng like vegetable, that is consumed as a tonic to assist with sexual arousal.
All the delicacies on the list of natural aphrodisiacs have health benefits, not all are necessarily related to sex. Perhaps history has associated the cacao bean with sexual pleasure because of its textures and the way we eat them. It may be that it is the act of eating chocolate candy that improves desire rather than the physical properties of the confection. How the chocolate feels when you rub it between your fingers, when you inhale its gorgeous parfum and how the chocolate melts in your mouth all contribute to its sensuality.
Whether you are after the psychological effects of chocolate or the physical ones, our luxury chocolates may be just the thing to spice things up.
Sensual Chocolate Collections
The darker the chocolate, the more dopamine in the chocolates, so for achieving the high of this chemical, this collection of chocolate truffle candy is a perfect choice. It offers an exploration of some of our most popular dark chocolate truffles from the past twenty years. We have selected truffles from our Exotic, Italiano, Groove and Aztec Collections. There are several truffles exclusive to these purple boxes, such as our dark chocolate Champagne Truffles (remember Casanova's claims?!). We have lovingly reserved them for the die-hard dark chocolate lover in your life.
Behold the most sensual of Italian ingredients. This collection takes you on a culinary exploration of Italy through chocolate truffles. Katrina has sourced her favorite parfums of Italy: Tuscan olive oil, Sicilian salt, fennel pollen, pine nuts, Taleggio cheese and balsamic vinegar, then blended them with chocolate to express the unique tastes of Italy's finest ingredients. These truffles are indulgence and pleasure in every bite.
Rituals are the bridge to connect mind, body, and spirit, creating deeper meaning and alignment with Source Energy. When we radiate with this trinity, through eating chocolate in purpose and intention, the everyday becomes extraordinary. This collection is a gift to yourself or a reminder to your recipient that love starts with themselves. By engaging in sacred personal ceremonies, we are better aligned with our purpose and manifest a life filled with love.
We may never truly know the physiological effects of chocolate with regards to sexual desire, but we can be certain that chocolate will continue to be used as a tool for exploring this question by scientists trying to understand the brain. In the meantime, chocolate stands firmly in its place in history as an ingredient associated with pleasure and as a modern beacon of desire.