Sunday, September 16, 2012

Question from shtove - Chocolate in Tudor England

Chocolate: any evidence for it in Tudor England?

Familiar to the Spanish from about 1520, and imported to Spain comercially from the 1580s.

The first English reference to it that I can find is an ad for a chocolate house in London in 1657.

I find it difficult to believe the English were unfamiliar with it for so long.

Wikipedia has some decent articles on the history, but no answer to my question. One passage says Spain sweetened it up and then kept it a secret for almost 100 years, but doesn't elaborate.

As far as I can tell the drink was popular throughout Spain, at all levels of society, but it was only in the 17thC that the taste spread to France & Italy, eventually to England.

The potato popped up in Europe at about the same time, and seems to have spread through ordinary trade.

I suppose trade monopolies and embargos relating to the wars with Spain might explain its sluggish spread. But still ...

Any insights?

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