by The Chocolate Dictionary

To godivarise is to create or uncover links between chocolate and the Lady Godiva myth. The word dates back to 1926 when Godiva chocolatier was founded so that the legacy of this eleventh-century English noblewoman, famous for riding naked through the streets of Coventry, “might long be continued”. Since then, Godiva have so thoroughly colonised the meaning with their pralines, that whenever we see an image of Lady Godiva it is hard not to think of smooth, shiny, softly contoured chocolates.

Just as it should be, Lady Godiva’s horse rendered in smooth milk chocolate by artists Isaacs Bramlette and Audin Price. (image from: http://www.horsemania2010.com)

The bronze statue of Lady Godiva standing in Coventry’s city centre is an elegant but striking image of the city’s regeneration following the destruction of World War Two. But, by not being made of smooth milk chocolate filled with hazelnut cream, many believe the statue is not symbolic enough. Perhaps all statues of Lady Godiva should be made of chocolate? Some look as if they already are. The sculpture in the Maidstone Museum certainly does. So does the one in Coventry’s medieval Guildhall, and the little Belgian statuette sold at Christie’s in 2011.

The smooth surfaces of John Thomas’s statue of Lady Godiva in the Maidstone Museum, England. (image from: i.ytimg.com)

Godiva is a Latinised version of the Old English Godgifu, meaning “gift of God”. An apt name for a chocolate legend considering the cocoa tree’s Latin name, Theobroma cacao, means ‘food of the gods’. Pralines with divine connections?

Godiverisers have often speculated as to whether, if she were alive today, Lady Godiva would involve herself in the promotion of expensive pralines. Would she, like nineteen-year-old Coventry model Nicola Wright, submit to being covered in chocolate as part of a body butter promotion?