Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Artifact of the Week - Black Magic Chocolate Box

We are less than a month away from the heart-filled and romantic holiday known as Valentine’s Day. As we approach this lover’s day, the Museum thought it would be nice to showcase a series of objects related to Valentine’s Day, starting with a Black Magic chocolate box. I am sorry to say, there are no chocolates left, but the box is still beautiful.

This iconic black and red box was donated to the Museum in 2009 by Colleen Hay (nee Pratt). Colleen’s parents, George and Vivian, owned and operated the Orange Crush bottling plant in Peace River until 1963 when they sold the business.

Chocolate, from its first documented instances through to modern times, has always been popular. The Mesoamerican peoples are the first to have enjoyed this food and made it into a bitter beverage, often with froth. When it reached the Europeans, they added sweeteners and turned it into the familiar bars and candies that we still enjoy today.

In the 1860s, chocolate became popularized and affordable for the masses. Previously it had only been available to those of nobility or rank due to its high cost. Very soon after it became affordable to all, it also became a traditional Valentine’s Day gift, perhaps because of its reported aphrodisiac qualities.

The Museum currently has a Valentine’s Day display in our Peace River Gallery. We invite you to visit us and experience the historic aspects of this most wonderful day.    

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