History of Cacao 10, England
Hello my fellow chocolate lovers,
I am Takanori Chiwata, the chocolate engineer of COCONAMA CHOCOLATE.
In our last post, I shared how cacao went to France.
Today, I’d like to talk about how cacao made its way to Britain.
The first British folks to encounter cacao were the pirates. Back in the 1600s, they were making a living through the attacking foreign ships, including Spanish ships.
Of course, many Spanish ships at that time carried cacao. However, it turns out that the pirates didn’t show too much interest in them. They were even foolish enough to burn down an entire ship that specifically carried cacao, how unbelievable is that?
The chocolate drink itself made its way to Britain along with teas and coffees in the 1650s. This was during the chaotic period of English civil war and other significant revolutions.
Britain secured a supply source of cacao by annexing a country which actively cultivated cacao, the Invasion of Jamaica in 1655. Chocolates were greatly advertised in newspapers once the invasion was announced successful, allowing not just the nobles but those who could afford it to enjoy chocolate.
The drink was savoured at what they called the “coffeehouse”. It was more of saloon-like place rather than a cafe, where they discussed about the society and politics.
Speaking very personally, why couldn’t they just use the term “chocolatehouse” instead of “coffeehouse”? I understand that coffee was more popular back then, since it was a little cheaper and more satisfying than chocolate was…But I just can’t let go of the concept of the “chocolatehouse”…
(FYI:tea was ridiculously expensive back then)
Well, how did this “coffeehouse” prepare their chocolate drink?
Other European countries took their time to make their very own chocolate, but Britain decided to go simple on this one.
Their way was to boil the ground cacao and sugar together, then to whisk it to make foams. Done.
I’m sure those who have read the previous blogs recalled the very original Mayan recipe, but instead of appreciating the foams, they just chugged the entire drink.
Now, let’s take a break from Britain and share about other countries’ reactions to chocolate.
Starting off with Middle-Eastern countries… They couldn’t care less about chocolate. I’m assuming since the love for coffee was so deep throughout these coffee-origin countries, they just couldn’t care less about a new drink getting introduced to their life. It should have been only natural for chocolate to adapt to their diet, already with nuts and dried fruits, but I guess the truth shall remain in the dark…
Other countries including India, China, and many Southern Asian countries didn’t show too much interest as well. Phillipine was an exception though. Back when they were colonized by Spanish, many cacao trees were brought in and adapted to their land. Missionaries in other countries like Thai couldn’t help their cravings for chocolate, so Philipine also played a role as a source of chocolate for these countries.
With over 80% of the Phillipine population being Catholic and chocolate being their GoTo holiday drink, chocolate was drunk across the country on days like christmas and other holy days as a celebration.
Image below portrays the Turkish, Chinese, and Aztecs drinking their own comfort drinks. Isn’t it interesting?
This is how chocolate spread all over the world, but how did the plant itself spread so far out? As I mentioned before, Southern America is the origin of cacao, but Ivory Coast, Ghana, Africa, and Indonesia are also known for their cacao produce.
In our next post, I’m going to talk about how cacao cultivation spread throughout the world.
With hopes that you will be able to encounter the perfect chocolate just for you,