With Love and Kisses
Issue Date: January 13, 2007
City: Hershey, PA
Quantity Issued: 300,000,000
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Printing method: Photogravure
Perforations: Die cut 10 ¾ x 11
The centennial anniversary of the chocolate kiss is commemorated on the 2007 Love stamp. A gift of this rich, melt-in-the-mouth candy has long carried messages of love between sweethearts.
Chocolate comes from cacao trees that were once found only in Central and South America. The beans were used there as currency in pre-Columbian times and brewed into a bitter, spiced drink for Aztec and Mayan nobles and priests.
Europeans spread the cultivation of cacao trees around the world. Sweetened, rather than spiced, chocolate became a luxury drink in 17th-century Europe. Later, increased production brought it within reach of commoners.
Powdered cocoa was developed in the 19th century. Solid confections could then be created by processing different proportions of cocoa, cocoa butter, and sugar. Working, or conching, the mixture to reduce the size of cocoa butter crystals made a smoother product. High quality chocolate may be conched for 72 hours.
U.S. consumers easily consume about 12 pounds of chocolate per person annually. Besides pleasure and calories, according to recent studies, dark chocolate may also have some beneficial effects on health.