Beach Bites

BY Staff

Valentines Day: A love affair with chocolate

Facts are facts even where chocolate is concerned. For instance fact one: true chocolate is a cocoa paste derived from the cacao bean. Fact two: The fruit of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) a plant indigenous to Central America and the Amazonian regions of South America bears the cacao bean. Fact three: The Mayans (300-900 A.D.) were the first chocolate aficionados. Fact four: The Aztecs held cocoa in such high regard that it was reserved for the rich. And fact five: Cacao beans were used as currency in Central American markets as late as 1858.

But these five facts dont tell the whole story which is that chocolate inarguably symbolizes love. And speaking of stories of love and chocolate: In 1920 the first Perugina chocolate store opened in Perugia Italy. Two years later Luisa Spagnoli the wife of Peruginas co-founder began a passionate love affair with Giovanni Buitoni heir to Perugina. That same year Luisa invented the Italian Baci (meaning kisses) a whipped milk chocolate blended with chopped hazelnuts topped with a whole hazelnut and enrobed in silky bittersweet chocolate. In order to keep their love a secret Luisa wrote Giovanni love notes and wrapped them around the chocolate kisses that she sent him for inspection. Today the tradition of chocolate and love notes especially at Valentines Day is still strong.

If youre on the fence about what to give your sweetheart this February 14 and need a couple of quotes from two pros in the know try these: now head for your nearest chocolatier: “Chocolate is sweet sensuous and delicious just like the feelings associated with being in love ” says Charlene Dupray owner of South n France Bon Bons. “Chocolate is an elegant portion of sweet comfort food that brightens your day ” says Bruna Smith owner of Just Because Chocolates. “Its a unique gift of love to that special someone.” Ashley Peel

Music: The top 20 love songs

Its February the month of all things love idealized in flowers chocolate diamonds and music. The writing of love songs dates back thousands of years. So what are the most romantic songs? One way to find out is to locate a list of what songs are the most requested by newlyweds at their wedding. And where do you find such a list pray tell? From two of the top wedding DJs in the area Jason Tatum of Active DJ Entertainment and Brian McArtan of DJ Professionals and Video who kindly helped us tap their top 20 love songs. Molly Grennan

1) At Last by Etta James

2) Lets Stay Together by Al Green

3) Maybe Im Amazed by Paul McCartney

4) When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge

5) Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton

6) Just The Way You Are by Billy Joel

7) The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra

8) Unforgettable by Nat King Cole

9) L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole

10) Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley

11) Someone Like You by Van Morrison

12) Lost In This Moment by Big & Rich

13) I Could Not Ask For More by Edwin McCain

14) Oh by Dave Matthews Band

15) Your Song by Elton John

16) Come Away With Me by Norah Jones

17) You and Me by Lifehouse

18) The Luckiest by Ben Folds

19) Sparks by Coldplay

20) Everything by Michael Bubl