First up, received a response from GlimmerTrain, and no luck. Considering the competition, I’m not really surprised, but it was worth a shot.
Unexpected day off work (they didn’t need me), that I accepted because I don’t get another til the 14th. So, the first chcolate post is nice and early, instead of at eleven o’clock in front of the TV desperately ekeing out the last ounces of power in my laptop battery.
Last week, I went on a work trip to one of the Leeds University Libraries. Alas, I don’t remember which, but it was stunning. I’m very jealous; York’s Uni library lacks marble columns, a minstrel’s gallery, and beautiful woodwork. We went to have a look at various historical cookbooks, which was great. It’s easy to forget that celeb chefs aren’t just a recent thing.
Even better for me, really. I took notes of a few names, and I’ve been seeing how many of these long-out-of-copyright books have made it online. Google books offers up The Compleat English Cook by Robert May, The House-keeper’s Pocket Book by Sarah Harrison, The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary by John Nott and The Art of Cookery Made Easy by Hannah Glasse; I also have bookmarked Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, of course. I can now claim to have seen early (often first) editions of all of these apart from Sarah Harrison’s.
So, on to chocolate! First, a bit of general info; rather than the history, I thought I’d tell you a bit about some of the best chocolate companies still around today.
Those wonderful people who supply it
Started life in York in 1725 as Mary Tuke’s Grocery Shop, making Genuine Rock Cocoa. The Cocoa aspect was bought up by Henry Isaac Rowntree in 1862. He was a Quaker, as many chocolate producers are. Now owned by Nestle, their most famous chocolate product these days is probably the Kit-Kat.
Began life as Berry and Bayldon’s Sweets in York in 1767. Bought up by Joseph Terry the apothecary in 1828. Their most famous product is the Chocolate Orange, which actually started out as a Chocolate Apple! Now owned by Kraft Foods.
Founded in 1890 in Halifax (just down the road from York…). Main emphasis was on toffee, and they started producing the famous Quality Street selection tins in 1936. Also owned by Nestle now.
Founded in 1911 in Sheffield (also in Yorkshire – are you seeing a theme yet?), Thorntons are best known for their boxes of chocolates. They appear to still be in charge of themselves, which is great!
Moving out of Yorkshire now, Cadbury’s was founded in Birmingham in 1824. It’s now Cadbury’s Schweppes, and also owns Green&Black;’s, who make some of them best organic, fairtrade chocolate available. Cadbury’s are most famous for their Dairy Milk bar.
All the way down in Slough, Forrest Mars, son of the Chicago chocolate magnate, broke away in 1932. Truly, he has the name of a Steampunk hero. Obviously, they’re most famour for the Mars Bar. Weirdly, they also own a lot of pet food companies.
So, Cocoa took off in the 1700s, eating chocolate in the 1800s, and the North of England was the place to make it.
Rock Cocoa is a mix of cocoa powder and granulated sugar. It would be sold in lumps and grated to make hot chocolate. Most recipes prior to the mid 1800s use Chocolate to refer to Rock Cocoa. It often included cinnamon, hazlenut, vanilla and other flavourings, so the expensive variations you see in coffee shops today are nothing new!
To Make Hot Chocolate
These are two of John Nott’s recipes (we’ll be using another of his, Wine Chocolate, next week) for delicious hot chocolate. Naturally, it’s all in Imperial.
Hot Chocolate with Water
2 Pints of Water (4 Cups)
1/4 lb Cocoa
1/4 lb Sugar
1/4 lb Brandy
1/8 oz Flour
Pinch of Salt
Assuming you haven’t actually got hold of Rock Cocoa, which you need to grate, first sieve your powdery ingredients together
Boil The water in a large pan
Add the powdery ingredients and stir until they dissolve
Boil for 10-12 minutes
Add the brandy, leave to cool to drinking temperature
Hot Chocolate with Milk
2 Pints of Milk (4 Cups)
4 oz Cocoa
4 oz Sugar
1/8 oz Flour
Pinch of Salt
Same as above, basically. Try to avoid scorching the milk!
Nott, John; The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary, Or, The Accomplish’d Housewifes Companion; Bible and Crown; 1723; Googlebooks scan from Original from Harvard University, digitized Jul 9, 2007