Tuesday, February 17, 2009

February 19 is National Chocolate Mint Day!

Today’s blog is short and oh-so-deliciously sweet. I am busy writing my entry for Friday about all the great ice cream discoveries I made while on vacation in warm and sunny Florida this past week.

Here are some things you can dazzle your friends with at your next party:

Mint (from the Latin word, menthe) originated in Europe and the Mediterranean and its many varieties are now cultivated all over the world. Mint has long been regarded as the symbol of hospitality. Romans would scatter mint around the settings of feasts and banquets as a welcoming sign to guests….I guess kind of like many of us, today, perform the practice of popping a piece of mint chewing gum in our mouths before we know we will be sharing some kind of personal space with someone, either casually or intimately.

Chocolate, on the other hand, has its origins in central Mexico. In fact, chocolate residue has been found in several jars from the site of Puerto Escondido in Honduras, from around 1100 BC and it is the earliest evidence to date of the use of cacao. This evidence that was found indicates that the earliest use of cacao seems to have been used as an alcoholic beverage. There are many interpretations as to the origins of the word “chocolate” but I like best the description that gives it Mayan origins. “Chocolate” comes from the Nahuatl word xocolātl derived from xocolli, bitter, and atl, water. Xocolatl was a chocolate drink consumed by the Aztecs, associated with the Mayan god of Fertility.

So, in both histories of mint and chocolate, I interpret that both are used to welcome closeness with others, whether it is hospitably or intimately…

So, tonight……pull your friends, family, and lovers close and enjoy “mint-chocolate-anything”: ice cream, peppermint patties, hot chocolate flavored with mint. Whatever moves you. I, myself, may just treat the kids to a carton of Blue Bunny® Premium Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream…..with an extra shot of chocolate syrup.

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