Chocolate pot

Yet another in a series of research projects to document what would be most appropriate for Ft. Toulouse in the first half of the mid-18th century. 

*  “As early as 1664 a tax was levied on sugar imported by France, but it was considerably lower than taxes on other crops and did not deter cane production.  In 1665 the French government placed a high import tariff on sugar from non-French areas, which benefited Guadeloupe.  For most of the eighteenth century the French market was protected from foreign sugar imports”.  Much of that sugar was used in drinks. 

*  In 1685, Sieur Monin, a celebrated doctor of Grenoble, France, first recommended café au lait as a medicine. 

*  In 1669, “coffee in France was a hot black decoction of muddy grounds thickened with syrup”.

*  In 1702, coffee in the American colonies was being used as a refreshment between meals, “like spirituous liquors”.  In 1711, the infusion idea in coffee making appeared in France.  It came in the form of a fustian [cloth] bag which contained the ground coffee in the coffee maker, and the boiling water was poured over it.  This was a decided French novelty, but it made slow headway in England and America, where some people were still boiling whole roasted beans…

*  By 1760, the decoction, or boiling, method in France had been generally replaced by the infusion, or steeping method.

*  In 1763, Donmartin, a tinsmith of St. Bendit, France, invented a coffee pot, the inside of which was “filled by a fine sack put in, in its entirety”, and which had a tap to draw the coffee.  The 1800, De Belloy’s original French drip method appeared.

*  “From the beginning, the French devoted more attention than any other people to coffee brewing”.  From the late 18th century into the early 19th, the French were granted a great many patents for brewing methods, most of which are still in use today.

*  In the 18th century, both coffee and sugar were bought at the apothecary’s shop and the use of coffee is said to have caused an increase in sugar use because the ladies of Paris, “used to put so much sugar in the coffee that it was nothing but a syrup of blackened water”. 

*  “The best coffee, in the western part of the world, is made in France, where this beverage is in universal request”.

*  In 1822, the quantity of cocoa imported into French colonies was 314,829 kil. compared to 29,444 in England, and 5,705 in the U.S.

*  In 1753, the countries trading with France ranked in the following of importance:

Imports:  The Levant, Spain, Italy, Holland, England, Switzerland, Savoy, the Baltic, Germany, & Flanders.

Exports:  Spain, Holland, Italy, the Baltic, Germany, the Levant, England, Flanders, Portugal, Switzerland.

*  “About the middle of the last century [17th century], the Dutch sold tea at Paris at thirty shillings a pound which they had bought in China for eight-pence a pound.”  (published July 1787)

*  “Formerly, the taste in this particular was improving and extending; and at one time tea found its best market in France”.  At the time of publication, 1832, the author predicted the use of tea in France would again rise.

*  “The bourgeois of Boulogne have commonly soup and bouillé at noon, and a roast, with a salad, for supper; and at all their meals there is a desert of fruit.  This indeed is the practice all over France.  On meager [meatless] days they eat fish, omelettes, fried beans, fricassees of eggs and onions, and burnt cream.  The tea which they drink in the afternoon is rather boiled than infused; it is sweetened all together with coarse sugar, and drank with an equal quantity of boiled milk.”  [published in 1766, these customs had probably changed little over the previous several years]

*  Smollett found the tea, chocolate, cured neats tongues, and Bologna sausages to be excellent in France.

*  “Each European race has chosen one special beverage of this class:  Spain and Italy delight in chocolate; France, Germany, Sweden, and Turkey in coffee; while Russia, Holland, and England drink tea”.  – The Friend.

*  “In 1720, the consumption was so much augmented, that the French, who had hitherto brought home only raw-silk, porcelain, and silken manufactures from China, began to import considerable quantities of tea into France…”  – Hanway.

*  In 1728, la plus ancienne chocolaterie de France in Paris was selling chocolate to patrons.

*  R. Brookes wrote The Natural History of Chocolate published in 1730.  He discussed its early use in Europe.

*  “The new drink [chocolate] was introduced by monks from Spain into Germany and France, and when in 1660 Maria Theresa, Infanta of Spain, married Louis XIV, she made chocolate well known at the Court of France”.  – Cocoa and Chocolate.

Chocolate was still being prepared in much the same way the Spaniards became aware of it in the New World during the 18th century, and there are accounts describing the making of it in the mid-18th century, including the French.  Napoleon was credited with inventing a chocolate mill to facilitate the preparation which he was very fond of.  “The mill is a round stick with a wheel on the end of it.  The stick passes through the lid of the chocolate pot.  Turning the protruding end of the stick between the palms of the hands turns the wheel within the pot while the chocolate is cooking and prevents any sediment from forming.  These mills are scarcely ever seen in this country except in antique shops.  Housewives use a cream whip for the same purpose, when they want an extra good cup of chocolate”.  [published history 1916]

SOURCES: 

Hoy, Don R.  Agricultural Land Use of Guadeloupe.

Clarendon, George William Frederick Villiers (Earl of).  First Report on the Commercial Relations Between France and Great Britain. 

The Country Magazine.  For the Years 1786 and 1787.  Vol. I.  1787.

Martin, Robert Montgomery.  The Past and Present State of the Tea Trade of England and of the Continents of Europe and America.  1832.  London. 

Smollett, Tobias George.  Travels Through France and Italy.  1766. 

The Friend.  Nov. 17,1867.  Philadelphia.

Hanway, Jonas.  A Journal of Eight Days Journey from Portsmouth to Kingston.  Vol. II. 

Knapp, Arthur.  Cocoa and Chocolate.  Their History from Plantation to Consumer. 

Boston Cooking School.  American Cookery.  Vol. 20.  Feb. 1916.

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