Posted in Kafevend Blog

Ever since the mid nineteenth century when companies like Fry's, Cadbury and Nestlé discovered and capitalised on the perfect use for the cocoa butter left over from cocoa production, most people have been hooked on chocolate. I feel fairly confident then when I make the following generalisation – that we've all given chocolate as a gift and all received it too. The sender of one of the largest gifts of chocolate was none other than Queen Victoria.

The British army and navy were far from home in South Africa fighting the second Boer War, which had begun on the eleventh of October 1899. Queen Victoria felt she wanted to do something to boost morale and decided that chocolate was the answer. She wanted each man to receive a Christmas/New Year's gift of chocolate to let them know that their Queen and country were thinking of them.

As Cadbury had secured a Royal warrant in 1854 to supply the Queen with cocoa and chocolate, the company was the obvious choice to supply the gifts. This caused something of a dilemma for Richard and George Cadbury. Like their father before them they were Quakers, and as such pacifists too. Despite the awkwardness of the situation, they didn't want to let the Queen down and had the idea of engaging fellow Quakers in the cocoa business, Joseph Fry and Joseph Rowntree, to help them complete the commission. All three companies refused any payment as it would have been against their principles to make a profit from war, neither did they want their names on the tins that the chocolate was presented in. The Queen was no doubt happy about the free gift, but having concerns that her forces would think they were getting any old chocolate, a compromise was reached and Cadbury was printed on the inner packaging.

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