Be Mine: Chocolate & Valentines

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Chocolate and valentines are two hallmarks of Valentine's Day celebrations.  Learn more about both during this fun (and delicious) weekend.

Learn about the history of chocolate - from bean to beverage.  OSV historians will demonstrate processing chocolate by hand using cacao beans in the original manner of ancient Mexico, where chocolate originates.  They will use a "metate" to grind freshly roasted chocolate "nibs" to make a hot, spiced chocolate drink.  Learn the secret behind the 1824 recipe for "chocolate cake."

Children can make their own valentines and visitors of all ages can "meet" the local woman responsible for the popularity of sending valentines in the United States.  Portraits of her parents hang year-round in the Fitch House.
Watercolor Valentine Art

Worcester resident Esther Howland was the daughter of a stationery maker and received an English valentine from one of her father's associates in 1847.  Inspired to design her own, Esther originally hand-made valentines with friends in her family's home with paper lace and floral decorations imported from England.

The business flourished as the popularity of these ornate and sentimental cards grew. Eventually she sold the business to the Whitney Valentine Company.  Worcester was the center of the commercial valentine industry until World War II.