19th
Feb
2013

Posted in Reference

Whilst cocoa had made it to Spain, arriving in small amounts meant it was only really enjoyed by the rich and royalty, due to the heavy tax imposed on it. By the end of the 16th century however, plantations set up in America started shipping in larger amounts, and more Spaniards could enjoy it. Cocoa was consumed as a drink, as it had been in Mesoamerica before it, but the Spanish liked to warm the drink and add sugar, along with spices like cinnamon, in order to make it sweeter. Hot chocolate remained the national drink of choice for around 400 years, but coffee started to become more popular after the Spanish Civil war.

Spain managed to keep chocolate hidden from the rest of Europe for around 100 years, until a series of royal weddings finally ceded the secret to France, first with the marriage of Anne of Austria to King Louis XIII and then with the marriage of Maria Theresa of Spain to King Louis XIV, the 'Sun King'. Both women brought cocoa beans and the knowledge of how to make the chocolate drink with them to France, and it became popular in the French court.

Cocoa arrived in Britain in the 1650s, and was quite popular. Chocolate houses just like the contemporary coffee houses sprung up in order to serve hot chocolate to the British people. One such individual who tried this new fangled drink was Samuel Pepys, which he mentioned in his famous diary. Part of the English Navy Board, his natural talent and hard work helped to move towards reforming and running the under funded and often inefficient fleet.

The act of adding milk to hot chocolate is attributed to Hans Sloane, a President of the Royal College of Physicians in London. Visiting Britain's colony in Jamaica in the late 17th century , he tried chocolate and apparently found it nauseous, but he found that it was more pleasing when mixed with milk. He brought this recipe back to England with him where it spread and is the prevalent way to enjoy chocolate as a drink to this day.


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