The First Chocolate Confections

In the late 17th century, you could enjoy drinking chocolate either in your own home or partake of the hot beverage in a chocolate house which compares to the coffeehouses of today. The use of the cacao bean for anything other than hot chocolate was very limited. In 1662, a man by the name of Henry Stubbe wrote an article on chocolate stating that the Spaniards and their colonies enjoyed chocolate in a different form. Stubbe told of chocolate being made into shapes called Lozenges which means shaped into almonds. He noted that the Spanish were using this form of chocolate to give people energy and soldiers stamina.

Although we do not see many baking or confectionery recipes in cookbooks during the 17th century, we do start to see a few of them show up in the cookbooks of the 18th century. Some of the recipes include dragées, marzipans, biscuits, creams, ices, and mousses. Some of the recipes that may have seen off at that time or even in the distant past include an Italian recipe for a chocolate lasagne that featured almonds, walnuts, anchovies and chocolate. They also used chocolate paired with liver as well aspolenta. The French Encyclopédie shows a first listing of “chocolat” in the late 18th century. The listing describes chocolate as a “half-sugar cake flavoured with some vanilla and cinnamon, and was not so much a delightful confection as an emergency meal.” Basically, all that was done to make the beverage was to place this tablet in a cup, add hot milk or water and stir until the cake was completely dissolved and blended. Instant hot chocolate.

In a book entitled Gunter’s Modern Confectioner published in the late 19th century, only four of the pages out of 220 were devoted to chocolate. If we look at any confectionery book today, we are bound to find at least half of the pages devoted to chocolate.

The 20th century is when everything began to change for chocolate. A cookbook was published in 1917 by Alice Bradley called The Candy Cookbook. This was the first cookbook to devote an entire chapter to chocolate. She also noted that over one hundred different chocolates were now being offered by confectioners manufacturers. The cookbooks devoted to chocolate now take up entire shelves in libraries, bookstores and our our collection of cookbooks at home. Thank you for starting the beginning of a trend that still continues to evolve today Alice Bradley!

Annmarie Kostyk

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