Cocoa in England - John Cadbury's Empire
Cocoa in England - John Cadbury's Empire

Flavors of England

All About Chocolate > Cocoa in England - John Cadbury's Empire

The first great master chocolatiers

  • Cadbury 1824
  • Fry's 1847
  • Rowntree

In gastronomy, when England is mentioned, one immediately thinks of the five o'clock tea that is served at three o'clock. However by 1648, cocoa had already made an appearance in England, introduced by the Dominican friar Thomas Gage. The first chocolate house opened in London, offering an unusual recipe adapted to British tastes and ingredients. A piece of cocoa was melted in a wineglass full of warmed Madeira; then an egg yolk was beaten in to thicken it and give it creaminess. By the 1700s, chocolate houses were all the rage.

In 1778, the English geologist Joseph Townsend used hydraulic power, or the motor power of a steam engine, to grind cocoa: a revolution in the history of chocolate.

In 1847, the Fry company of Bristol made the first "chocolate bar."

In the 19th century, Royal Doulton, the china maker, introduced hot chocolate cups, decorated with gold and nacre and fitted with lids to keep the beverage hot.

It was not until the industrialization of chocolate production in 1853 that chocolate became affordable for all levels of society. In England, "drinking" chocolate lasted until the early Victorian period, until solid or "eating" chocolate appeared.

The first people to take an interest in cocoa were apothecaries who focused on chocolate's medicinal properties. It was in this way that Fry's of Bristol and Terry's of York made their first forays into chocolate making.

In 1824 John Cadbury opened his first shop on Bull Street in Birmingham, where he manufactured his own chocolate until opening a factory on Bridge Street in 1847. His son George eventually took over the company, and in 1905 launched the first milk chocolate, which he called "Dairy Milk," as well as the dark "Bournville Plain" chocolate, named after the town where he set up his factory. To accompany tea, he created the first chocolate chip cookies.

Faced with the expansion of Cadbury chocolates, Fry and Sons joined with this major company in 1919, having produced its own eating chocolate in 1846, the Cream Bar in 1866, to be followed by Smarties in 1930. With the merger that created the Cadbury Schweppes group, an empire was created that would also acquire Poulain in 1989 and the firms of Trebor, Basset and Hueso in 1989.

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