On June 20th, we will welcome the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere.
The June solstice honors the longest day in our calendar year and has been celebrated since ancient times all over the northern hemisphere (the summer solstice is celebrated in the southern hemisphere annually in December). The ancients noticed that as summer progressed, the sun stopped moving northward. It would only begin to track southward again as fall approaches. In fact, the word solstice itself comes from this idea. In Latin “sol” meaning “sun” was combined with “stitium” meaning still or stopped.
In Egypt, the solstice was a predictor in the calendar of the rise of the Nile and a way to predict annual flooding. The ancient Greeks used it as a marker to start a month-long countdown to the opening of the Olympic games. The Vikings used the time of the summer solstice as a session for discussing legal matters and resolving disputes. For many people, both ancient and modern, it has been used as a determiner for planting and harvesting crops.
Besides the practical matters of the solstice, it has also been used as a time for celebration and ritual. In Europe, the summer solstice rituals became a midsummer festival. Midsummer activities included a massive bonfire, with the fire thought to protect one from misfortune. The ashes collected from the fire were spread over gardens and land to ensure a bountiful harvest.
In Pagan times, the Wiccan celebration of the solstice was called Litha and was thought to ward off evil spirits. Participants made and wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers to chase away the devil.
How will you celebrate this longest day of the year and create a summer solstice tradition of your own? It is a perfect time to shed the winter and besides putting away coats and gloves, hats and scarves, it is also a time to peel away the layers of anything that has burdened you in the previous season.
Here a few ways to joyfully engage with solstice tradition:
Celebrate the Summer Solstice with Cocktails and Chocolate
Bring in the spirit of summer with chocolate and spirits from your bar cart. Create a beautiful cocktail to toast the summer’s arrival. Enjoy it outside in the lingering light of the sun and create a sun salutation of your own.
These limited edition pairing truffles chronicle the unique characteristics of every ingredient to highlight the craft and new cultivation that comes from Japan and the artisans who craft and cultivate them. While they pair perfectly with the smoothness of King St. Vodka, they can also be used to create pairings with a spirit of your choice, highlighting the subtle notes of the chocolate parfums. This is a wonderful hostess gift or collection to have on hand for toasting the longest day of the year.
We’ve created a sumptuous collection of truffles specifically for pairing and you can find many cocktails to choose from on our blog.
A Sumptuous Sweet for the Summer
Chocolate and tea are a favorite of ours and another way to create a soirée for the sun. Brew your favorite sun tea recipe and then enjoy with our exotic caramels. These are delicious bites worthy of their own fete. Don’t have a favorite sun tea recipe? Try our Sunbrew Tea recipe.
Inside this chocolate caramel gift box lies pure, butter-soft caramels infused with parfums of Brazil nuts, hibiscus, blood oranges and other delectable fruits, nuts and spices. These bites offer a contrast between sweet and tart, nutty and citrusy. Part comfort, part couture, this is a unique collection that can be shared during a midsummer celebration with friends and family.
A Summer Solstice Celebration in a Box
The time is ripe for a small gathering. As we shed this particular winter and it’s winter solstice, it seems that the whole world is starting to wake up. As we get to enjoy each other’s company again, it only seems fitting to share the solstice with friends and family.
Our most lavish gift offering to assuage every chocolate desire. The Ensemble du Chocolat is an elegant way to quench cravings and experience our very best. Our round keepsake gift box houses a lovely array of haut-chocolat to sample, nibble, snitch and share (or not). Lift the purple lid to reveal exotic truffles, fluffy marshmallows, rich peanut butter bonbons and a Bombalina. This gift was dreamed up with your soirées, friends and family in mind – a picturesque presentation, perfectly suited for use as the centerpiece of your summer solstice dessert table.
The Rituals of Summer
Set aside some time for reflection. Light a beautiful candle, pull out paper and pen and write all of the thoughts that you would like whisked away with the winter. These you can burn with the candle and feel them float away as they dissipate. If you have thoughts that you want to hold on to and revisit, place them on a piece of paper and place them in an ice cube tray. Fill with water and freeze. Make sure to use permanent ink! Unless, of course, these are things that you think you should address, but secretly and intuitively know you should let go. When you are finished with this ritual, let the light in. Revel in the clearing of all that has weighed on you and if you want to experience sunshine in a box, we have the perfect treat for doing so as you enjoy the sun on your skin.
Strong rituals created in a sacred space, belief in your intention and eating chocolate with focused energy can heal through the activation of mind, body and spirit. When we radiate with this trinity, through eating chocolate in purpose and intention, the everyday becomes extraordinary. These sacred personal ceremonies better align us with our goal because they allow us to radiate our intentions and express our willingness to receive. We then become illuminated from the inside. Our New Beginnings Chocolate Ritual is designed to give the gift of a fresh start to oneself or others through the medium of chocolate. Whether it be a new job, new house, or life after a break-up, this ritual box is meant to manifest your intentions for a new, positive and prosperous beginning. And we begin to manifest a life filled with new beginnings.
A Little Zing to Welcome the Sun
The fruits of the summer solstice also deserve a fete, citrus in particular. Ripened by the sun at the height of the day, these fruits are refreshing, energizing, thirst-quenching and feel like summer.
We celebrate our love of one of the most highly aromatic and dynamic citrus fruits, the yuzu. These Spring limited edition petits gateaux are infused with the Eastern Asian influence of yuzu while also paying homage to the pâtissiers of the past, who finely crafted petit fours in late 18th and 19th century France. These rich, dainty, yuzu pound cakes are enrobed in cocoa butter-rich 36% cacao white chocolate and crowned with pink peppercorns and crystalized orange pieces. They are the perfect tart treat for honoring the arrival of the brightness of summer.
As the moon rises on the summer solstice (as late in the day as we’ve seen in many, many months,) we hope you will have taken the time to allow the day to leave you awash in new possibilities for the summer months and beyond. Encounter this summer solstice through our experiential chocolate and create your own summer solstice ritual and celebration to welcome the sun. May the winds of summer be at your back as you move forward with lighter shoulders and heart, calling into yourself all of the sun’s many blessings for a bountiful season.
When the spring equinox comes around next year, we’ve got you covered with all the spring equinox rituals!