The Aztecs and Mayas were the first to wonder what makes chocolate so special and began to consider cocoa as a source of fertility and life itself. Offering chocolates to sweethearts symbolically started with royalty and the beautifully decorated chocolate box Maria Theresa of Spain gifted to her fiancé Louis XIV of France for their engagement.
Gifts such as chocolate and cognac were typically given as tokens of gratitude while in Japan it’s the women who usually give chocolate to men and not vice versa like in most of the Western world. As if love and respect weren’t enough, humans have found other ways and forms to support, spoil, revamp and relax with chocolate. Here are some innovative gift ideas for chocolate and sweets lovers to satisfy more than one craving:
For most of us when we were kids, a fresh batch of cupcakes meant something special. Someone’s mother would make these sweet treats for the entire class whenever someone had a birthday. At one moment in time, they started to disappear from our lives, maybe because they were considered too fattening or perhaps too mundane.
Nowadays, cupcakes walk arm in arm with specialised coffee drinks, infused with interesting ingredients and innovative flavours. Hence, the cupcake craze is global. With their regained popularity, conversations about them keep popping up, whether in the gym, on the bus and even scholarly publications. Whether you want to thank your neighbour for watering your plants, or send your love at birthday and graduation parties, rest assured cupcake cakes are a perfect gift.
Any cupcake made with high-quality ingredients with care in small batches can be considered a gourmet cupcake. A small batch of chocolate cupcakes topped with a two-tone buttercream swirl and decorated with golden sprinkles, moulded fondant handbag and high heel toppers or fondant moustache toppers can make anyone feel special.
They are uncomplicated, understandable, and sweet, thus remain the perfect celebratory and comfort food. Whenever people need catering, have birthdays and are doing everything they can to avoid cutting a cake, a tasty and eye-catching cupcake cake can save the day and the moment, as many cherished ones before.
Cake Made of Donuts
For the straightforward, uncomplicated character that loves simple commodities and gifts but still wants to be surprised, a cake made of donuts can be a nice gift choice. Simplicity and tradition are their strong suits. And their satisfying filling, of course.
Much like the amazing edible treats in the form of cupcake cakes, donuts have a special place in not only culinary history but history in general. The flavour and taste of the ‘coffee and donuts’ welcoming immigrants at Ellis Island were crucial in creating a ‘sweet’ and ‘filling’ impression of the host country and creating the ‘coffee and donuts’ culture.
With the transformation of the doughnut from a tasty snack into a mass commodity, the doughnut shops changed their identity from the typical male blue-collar social space to the ubiquitous fast-food chains or your favourite local doughnut brands with a personalised touch.
Nowadays, you can customise a cake made of donuts for your special friend. Just let the doughnut bakery know which number you want and they’ll do the rest. Well-crafted doughnuts topped with fresh strawberries, chocolate stars and goodies for everyone to share is the perfect way to say “Happy Birthday” to someone you love. If you can’t decide between the two, choose cupcake cakes with little doughnuts on top!
If you’re looking for what goes into a chocolate gift basket that’s not edible, think of cosmetics. In fact, chocolate has been proven to boost a proper skin routine and make it perfect. Skin nurturing chocolate ingredients include flavonoids, cocoa butter, magnesium and caffeine. Next time you browse for cosmetics as a gift, bear in mind that anyone with a chocolate body lotion, face cream or bath bomb will be in for a treat.
Flavonoids are antioxidants that act against aging. Brittle below 20°C, soft between 30-32°C, the cocoa butter melts at just below body temperature. It has exceptional nutritional properties for the skin, including purifying, soothing and moisturising. Following, magnesium stimulates the growth of skin cells while also stimulating and improving your mood. Last but not least, caffeine stimulates the microcirculation of the skin and tones it.
Gin and Chocolate Hamper
Some might be doubtful but believe it or not, spirits and sweets can produce heavenly combinations. If your loved one is a gin lover with a sweet tooth, you can hit two birds with one stone by sending them a gin hamper with delicious cupcake cakes. In case they’re more into chocs, then go for a gin and chocolates combo.
The easiest pairing for most gins is white chocolate due to its delicacy and neutrality. The herbal notes of the juniper berry from which gin is made add a layer of depth to mild white chocolate. The lighter, less juniper-heavy gins or those with a gentle rose and cucumber flavour profile are a perfect match for light and creamy white chocolate.
The stronger scented floral gins need a more distinct contrast to safeguard the flavour profiles of both the gin and the chocolate. Higher cocoa content dark chocolate can complement a stronger gin as they are strong enough to stand out but not strong enough to dampen the gin.
The ‘chocolate and orange’ combination is pretty much famous already, as it should be. Some swear by the combination of heavily citrus-based gins and dark chocolate. Others may feel it pairs better with milk chocolate. At the end, it all comes down to personal preferences.
Chocolate Soap Bars and Candles
Although many love candles and believe they soothe their soul, you might feel that they’re cliché, boring and unimaginative gifts. However, can smelling chocolate be boring? Due to its proven uniqueness on many occasions, you might want to give chocolate candles a second chance and another sniff.
As a stimulant, relaxant and an euphoriant, it’s an ingredient that does this by offering or activating a surge of chemicals and neurotransmitters which are not only the perfect combination for an aphrodisiac, but can also uplift one’s spirits. Most importantly, it can achieve these effects through more than just your taste buds with a flavourful bar or cupcake cakes.
It can cause widening of the blood vessels (vasodilatation) by increasing the bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO), a molecule that also improves the pressure, platelet function and increases the fluidity of blood. Chocolate is a pleasure triggering substance through the release of dopamine, while serotonin affects mood and is responsible for the “antidepressant” effect.
Furthermore, the name of the fat Anandamide comes from a Sanskrit word for happiness. This molecule is present in the brain as an endogenous substance and, you guessed it, chocolate. In fact, it interacts with cannabinoid receptors. Phenylethylamine is another stimulant neurotransmitter responsible for the state of mood and pleasure. Interestingly, it’s been found to be more abundant in the brains of lovers.