Author: Bertram Gordon
Title: Commerce, Colonies, and Cacao.
Chocolate in England from Introduction to Industrialization.
The history of English chocolate is linked with the 17th and 18th century popularization of the hot beverage, the industrialization of the 18th and 19th centuries, and the appearance of milk chocolate after 1875. Chocolate entered England primarily as a drink consumed by the affluent social classes. The earliest English encounters with cacao appear to have been through pirate raids on Spanish ships. Thomas Gage, a Dominican missionary, was in Jamaica when the English seized the island in 1655, creating a turning point in English chocolate history. The English established cacao plantations on the island but only after they had acquired a taste for hot chocolate, a process begun during the 1650s and 1660s. When chocolate use spread into England in the 1650s, high import duties on cacao beans restricted its use to the affluent. One of the earliest known advertisements for chocolate in London appeared in 1657. Coffee houses in England, which sometimes served chocolate, proliferated after 1658 as did chocolate houses, Chocolate houses developed as centers for political factions. During the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714), The Cocoa Tree became the headquarters of the Jacobite party, which supported the restoration of the Stuarts after their overthrow in the Glorious Revolution of 1689. The growth of chocolate’s popularity in mid 17th century England was reflected in the increasing commentaries about it in literary circles. Samuel Pepys, the noted diarist, evidently enjoyed chocolate, which he mentions several times. The earliest known silver chocolate pot in England was made in 1685 by the silversmith George Garthorne . An especially attractive gold chocolate cup manufactured by Ralph Leake, is dated c. 1690, Hans Sloane, physician and botanist, visited Jamaica in 1687-1689 and found the chocolate to be “nauseous,” unless mixed with milk.
In 1780, a flagon of chocolate was included in the daily rations of English sailors serving in the Caribbean and the practice was generalized for all English naval vessels in 1824. In 1847 Fry and Sons began sale of “Chocolat Delicieux it Manger,” [chocolate delicious to eat], commonly considered to be the first chocolate bar. By 1849, Fry and Cadbury chocolate bars were displayed publicly at an exhibition in Bingley Hall, Birmingham, and two years later, bonbons, chocolate creams, hard candies (called “boiled sweets”), and caramels were shown at the Crystal Palace Exposition, which showcased British industry, in London. Chocolate consumption quadrupled in England between 1880 and 1902.