Chocolate has a rich history that spans centuries and continents and has been enjoyed by royalty and commoners alike. From ancient civilizations in Central America to the courts of Europe, chocolate has played a significant role in many cultures and has even had some interesting connections to royalty throughout history.
The origins of chocolate can be traced back to the ancient Maya and Aztec civilizations in Central America, where it was consumed as a bitter drink made from roasted cacao beans. These civilizations believed that cacao beans had magical and medicinal properties, and often used them as currency. In fact, the Aztecs considered cacao beans to be more valuable than gold!
Eventually, through the journey of the Spanish conquerors, cocoa found its way to Europe, where it became a popular luxury item among the aristocracy and eventually made its way into the courts of European royalty.
One of the most famous connections between chocolate and royalty is the story of Marie Antoinette and her love for hot chocolate. The Queen of France was said to be so fond of the sweet treat that she had a special room in Versailles dedicated to making it – oh how appealing that sounds, a room full of chocolate! She even took the recipe with her when she was exiled to Austria, where she continued to enjoy her beloved hot chocolate.
Another royal connection to chocolate can be found in the British monarchy. Queen Victoria was known to enjoy a daily cup of hot chocolate, and it’s reported that she had a personal chocolatier who would create unique chocolate treats for her. My idea of heaven!
Another interesting connection between Queen Victoria and chocolate is her relationship with the famous British confectioner, Cadbury. The Cadbury company had been making chocolate since the early 1800s, but it wasn’t until 1854 that they were granted a royal warrant as suppliers to Queen Victoria. This royal warrant was a prestigious honour that allowed the company to use the phrase “by appointment to Her Majesty”. Due to Queen Elizabeth’s death last year, this Royal warrant now needs reapplying for, to bear the Kings name.
Thankfully, today, chocolate is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds around the world. It comes in many different forms, from chocolate bars and truffles to hot drinking chocolate, cakes, biscuits and chocolate-covered fruits. And while it may no longer be reserved solely for royalty, it remains a beloved and indulgent treat that has stood the test of time and this sweet indulgence continues to captivate and delight us all.