And when you combine them just for a limited time between the last week in January and Valentine’s Day on February 14th, you get Chocolate Cherry Bread, a bread Valentine would love.
Did you know there are at least three Valentines?
The Catholic Church recognizes three different saints named Valentine and all of them were martyred. One Valentine defied the Romans when the leaders decided that single men made better soldiers. This Valentine continued to perform marriages, realizing the injustice of the decree. He was killed for his belief in true love.
Another tells the story of a Valentine who helped people escape the harsh Roman prisons. It was this Valentine who supposedly sent the first valentine when he fell in love with a young woman while he performed his escape work. He sent her a note signed “from your Valentine.”
The truth behind all these stories is shady but they all tell of a sympathetic, heroic and romantic person.
There are also the festivities around Lupercalia, the goddess of fertility. All would gather and after sacrifices, the hides of the animals would be cut into strips, dipped in the blood and taken to the streets where women and crop fields would be gently slapped. It was believed that this ritual made the women more fertile. Later, all the women would put their names in a large container and bachelors would choose who would be their love, a match often ending in marriage.
So go out and celebrate this Valentine’s Day with those you love. Perhaps give them a card, flowers, or help with a chore. And maybe our delicious Chocolate Cherry Bread……it’s special….after February 14 you won’t see it for 48 more weeks and that’s a long time away from a bread you love.