Chocolate

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Black Hand

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Can anyone post a pic of what 18th century chocolate would look like?
Was it presented as it is today in bar form? Loaves? Lumps?
I suspect that 18th century chocolate was probably present as some sort of paste made from ground Cacao beans or in the form of whole beans. It was likely very expensive as well.

"Known as "Dutch cocoa", this machine-pressed chocolate was instrumental in the transformation of chocolate to its solid form when in 1847 Joseph Fry learned to make chocolate moldable by adding back melted cacao butter.[6]"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_chocolate

Other information:
https://www.history.com/news/the-sweet-history-of-chocolate
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/a-brief-history-of-chocolate-21860917/

By the way - Excellent question! Not something I'd given much thought....
 
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Black Hand

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It seems like one of those details that is lost only because of how common place a thing it was no one thought to record it.
I don't believe this is the case because we know how it was done and when things happened.

I hear this quite a lot for a number of situations and am very skeptical it is even remotely correct because we do know....
 

Spence10

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Chocolate shows up very frequently in 18th-century newspaper ads, usually with no description, just 'chocolate, well made' or some such. There are some clues as to its form:

The Pennsylvania Gazette
February 11, 1768
"MARY CRATHORN, Begs leave to inform the public.... where she continues to sell by wholesale and retail, THE genuine FLOUR of MUSTARD, of different degrees of fineness; chocolate, well manufactured, and genuine raw and ground coffee,
"N.B. All the mustard put up in bottles, has the above stamp pasted on the bottles, and also the paper round each pound of chocolate has the said stamp thereon;" [the stamp is her logo, also in the ad, but not collected]

Diary of Ezra Tilden, Continental soldier during the revolutionary war, July 1776-December 1777:
"5 August 1776 An Account of some things I carried into the Army in my Pack: A woolen Shirt with a snuff bottle full of ground coffee in it, and one and a half of chocolate in it too, wrapt up in a piece of brown paper and a new cotton and linen shirt..."

And some related equipment:

The Pennsylvania Gazette
January 7, 1762
"To be Sold by the Subscriber, A VERY neat Pair of Steel Rollers, faced with Brass Half Inch Thick, with Steel Coggs, and Brass Cudgeons, the Rollers 7 Inches in Length, for the Use of grinding Cocoa Nuts. Any Chocolate Grinder, by applying within ten Days, may see the same, if not sold. WILLIAM YOUNG."

The Pennsylvania Gazette
March 29, 1748
"On Monday next, the fourth of April, will be sold at vendue, on Hamilton's Wharff. The cargoe of the Spanish Brigt. Three Friends, lately taken by the Pandour, Revenge, and Dragon privateers; consisting of copper kettles , sheets of copper, stills, limbecks, boilers and covers , chocolate mills, and chocolate stones, snuff, nails, muskets, hats,"

The South-Carolina GAZETTE
November 16, 1753
CHARLES-TOWN
"… blacks and gilt Trunks, painted and plain Sugar Boxes, empty Tea Canisters, tin Sauce pans, Mugs, Cullinders. Funnels, Pudding and Naples-bisket Pans, nutmeg and chocolate Grators, pepper Boxes…"

THE SOUTH CAROLINA AND AMERICAN GENERAL GAZETTE
August 5, 1774
"JOHN CRAWFORD,
MAKES and SELLS all Sorts of COPPER and PLUMBER'S WORK, such as Brewing Coppers, Stills, Pots for Kitchens of all Kinds and Sizes, Coffee Pots, Chocolate Pots, Tea Kettles, Sauce Pans,..."

Spence
 
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Carbon 6

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There were, no chocolate bars prior to the 1850's Englishman Joseph Fry added more cocoa butter, rather than hot water, to cocoa powder and sugar. The world’s first solid chocolate was born.

This recipe is from the 1840's
 
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Spence10

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There were, no chocolate bars prior to the 1850's.
Of course that raises the question of what was happening when the lady said every pound of chocolate was wrapped in paper with a logo, and how the one and a half pounds of chocolate in Tilden's pack was wrapped in brown paper. I wonder what form those were in.

Spence
 

Brokennock

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I would assume either ground or in whole bean form.


My impression from the vague descriptions of the item and its packaging has been that the chocolate was in some form of block or cake. I guess I just assumed it would similar to a block of our "baker's chocolate".
I suppose the ground chocolate could be pressed into cakes like sugar into cones. Whole beans would need a box, tin, or bag, more so than a wrapper, it would seem.
 

Carbon 6

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My impression from the vague descriptions of the item and its packaging has been that the chocolate was in some form of block or cake. I guess I just assumed it would similar to a block of our "baker's chocolate".
I suppose the ground chocolate could be pressed into cakes like sugar into cones. Whole beans would need a box, tin, or bag, more so than a wrapper, it would seem.

They didn't really have paper bags back in the 18th century, your goods were wrapped. Wrapping was the precursor to the modern day paper bag.
 

Carbon 6

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I think I might be wrong.
Chocolate required more preprocessing before it could be made into a beverage. The processing first involved fermenting the beans after harvest, then roasting the beans, shelling them, grinding them on a hot stone, and sometimes adding spices and sugar during the processing. The chocolate mass — in a semi liquid state — then was poured into molds and allowed to harden. When desired, these bars or “ chunks ” of chocolate were grated/powdered and mixed with the desired liquid, heated, and finally frothed with a chocolate mill or molinillo .
 

Black Hand

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The paste resulting from the grinding of beans, depending on the amount of cocoa butter present, could congeal into a relatively solid mass upon cooling that might resemble a chocolate "bar". If this would be as solid as a modern piece of chocolate is unknown to me, though if it was grated in the period, presumably solid enough.
 

Sicilian Hunter

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I don't believe this is the case because we know how it was done and when things happened.

I hear this quite a lot for a number of situations and am very skeptical it is even remotely correct because we do know....
I was merely referring to its shape or form not whether or not we had evidence of the chocolate
 
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Sicilian Hunter

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Of course that raises the question of what was happening when the lady said every pound of chocolate was wrapped in paper with a logo, and how the one and a half pounds of chocolate in Tilden's pack was wrapped in brown paper. I wonder what form those were in.

Spence
It sounded to me that they were a round loaf or cake as Broken Nock mentioned, possibly a medallion.
I would think a soldier on the move would want a handy size that was easy to pack but I can imagine some produced for sale/trade and/or home use being larger
 

Spence10

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The chocolate mass — in a semi liquid state — then was poured into molds and allowed to harden. When desired, these bars or “ chunks ” of chocolate were grated/powdered and mixed with the desired liquid, heated, and finally frothed with a chocolate mill or molinillo
So that was the use for the "chocolate grator" in the ad.

Also, check this out:


Spence
 
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