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When it comes to February 14th, our San Mateo office is divided into one of two teams. We’re either eagerly awaiting the time with our sweetie-pie or deeply disgusted by the over-commercialization.
Those of us who plan to celebrate the cutesy holiday have been scratching our heads about how to top last year’s gift. Stuffed animals are overrated, and flowers just don’t cut it anymore.
Chocolate is always a safe, but boring, option…unless we can make the craveable sweet more personal. Sure, we could pay for ridiculously overpriced M&M’S with our beau’s name–but really, where’s the fun in that? Why settle for a bag of tiny candies when you can do something legen-dairy, like build a chocolate house!
We decided to transform the love symbol into a delectable–and completely edible–sweet retreat. After measuring various chocolate candies (and sampling them afterwards), we came up with the perfect recipe to build such a home! It requires a few tubs of frosting and 116,457 bars of Hershey’s chocolate.
How’s that for making your house the picture of romance on the most notoriously affectionate day of the year?
The Perfect Valentine’s Gift
Interestingly enough, February 14th was originally a day of ceremonial festivities honoring Saint Valentine(s).
The romance attached to the holiday we now celebrate did not occur until the Medieval Ages, when mentions of Saint Valentine’s Day by Chaucer and other poets were interpreted romantically.
Today, the 14th does indeed invoke romantic sentiments, so here we are building our token of love, a house made entirely of the rich cacao-based treat. Nothing says I love you quite like a home you can eat (God forbid you’re lactose intolerant).
To construct our chocolate house, we first needed to answer a few important questions:
- What size would our house be?
- How would we build our house?
- What types of chocolate should we use?
Let the building (and salivating) begin.
- 2,500 square feet–the size of your typical American home
- Surface area of 5,004 square feet, accounting for a door and two windows
To construct our edible house, we opted for a double layer of chocolate bar “planks” in order to make our walls sturdy enough. We decided that we would use frosting–in a chocolate flavor of course–to hold the two layers of candy bars together.
Now to the tasty part–picking the brand of chocolate.
We’re partial to many chocolate brands, among them Ghirardelli, Godiva, and Lindt. Yet a problem we encountered with many of these is the way they’re packaged. Sure, eating a small square or a circular chocolate is fun, but building with them is a different story.
This is why we picked one of the most popular brands of chocolate in the U.S.–Hershey’s. We decided Hershey’s chocolate was the optimal building chocolate for several reasons:
- The bars are a decent, buildable size
- You can buy them almost anywhere
- They’re relatively cheap
- They can be bought in bulk
- They’re quite tasty
Once we figured out the nitty-gritty, it was onward with construction.
Nothing Says Romance Like a Home Made of Hershey’s
To start with, we needed to know the dimensions of a standard milk chocolate bar from the century-old company. It turns out that the regular size (1.55 ounces) is:
- 5 ½ inches long
- 2 ¼ inches wide
This makes the surface area 12 ⅜ square inches. With this information in hand, we calculated it would take just under 116,457 bars to build a house with our two-layer technique.
The cost of such a romantic gesture? $122,280. (Covering your house in bacon would only put you out $106,500.)
Of course, with all that chocolate begging to be eaten, you probably want to know a nutrition fact or two–namely, how many calories there are in your new home. So here you go:
- A single bar contains 210 calories
- Our house would have the equivalent of 24,455,928 calories
Unfortunately, that doesn’t include the frosting that holds the planks together.
Now imagine how bloated you’d be if you built your home out of the largest chocolate bar Hershey offers.
Super-Sized Chocolate for the Win
Actually, you don’t need to imagine it, because we did the math for you. After learning that you can purchase a Hershey’s five-pound bar of milk chocolate, we felt obligated to try building with these “blocks.”
One of these five-pounders is:
- 18 inches long
- 9 inches wide
- 1 inch thick
That’s a lot of chocolate, no?
The good news is, these massive choco-bars are so thick we don’t need to pile them back to back. The bad news: despite requiring a much smaller number of bars, a house made of the super-sized version is much higher in calories.
So how many bars would it take? 8,896 bars. At 12,000 calories apiece, these hefty chunks of chocolate in the above quantity would equate to about 106,752,068 calories.
Now let’s consider that the average recommended diet is approximately 2,000 calories per day.
The amount of calories in our house of five-pound Hershey’s bars would last for 53,376 days based on the recommended intake–there’s no sugar-coating that amount.
But what would a Hershey’s house be if you couldn’t select more than one of the company’s tasty chocolate flavors?
The Darker the Chocolate, the Richer the Taste
We saved the best–and the lowest amount of caloric intake–for last.
The Movoto bloggers are partial to dark chocolate, so we plugged in the numbers for the Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate bar. A single bar is:
- 5 ¾ inches long
- Just under 2 inches wide
By our calculations, we would need 131,913 and one-third bars to build our chocolate lovers’ paradise.
And at 190 calories per bar, our house would contain just over 25,063,529 calories.
Chocolate Lover Problems
There’s just one small issue that we haven’t addressed: If you build your house out of chocolate, chances are it will melt eventually.
We don’t exactly have a suggestion about how to fix this. Rather, we’ll stick with one piece of advice–you should probably start breaking off chocolate chunks to munch on as soon as you finish, at least if you want to get your money’s worth.
To make it more of a Valentine’s Day activity, you and your lovebird can strengthen your bond by sharing the bars, Lady-and-the-Tramp style.
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