The History of London’s Notorious Chocolate Houses
Forget Coffeehouses, it was London’s Chocolate Houses where all the action happened. Since the 1650s, Coffeehouses were a staple in English culture. But nearing the end of the century, Chocolate Houses began to appear across the city of London. At both venues, you could order a meal as well as a delicious hot beverage while engaging in some tantalizing conversation. Patrons would discuss politics, business, or the arts all while playing cards, dice, or gambling. I can’t be the only one who was surprised to learn about the raucous reputation that these chocolate houses earned over the years. Let me paint you a picture…
One thing that I love about drinking chocolate is its colorful history. From its discovery by the Mayans, to its eager adoption by Europe and the world at large, drinking chocolate has forever been a historically interesting and tasty beverage.
In previous articles, I’ve written about the Mayans who nearly 2,000 years ago perfected the first ever drinking chocolate recipe. By about 1,400 AD drinking chocolate was an integral part of Aztec culture as a crucial part of religious ceremonies. Upon discovering its importance, European explorers were eager to learn what all the fuss was about.
Chocolate Arts located on West 3rd Avenue is one of Vancouver’s most principled chocolate making institutions, and their Cafe, is one of my favorite places to visit! I had the opportunity to visit during the 2014 Hot Chocolate Festival. At Chocolate Arts, their goal is to create delicious, innovative creations that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the tastebuds. Furthermore, when it comes to giving back to the community, they’re in a class of their own.
For some reason, those living in Peru predominantly enjoy drinking chocolate in the summer. Inconceivable you say! You would think that it would be a beverage to enjoy in the winter months like most other countries. That said, Peru experiences its summer during the Christmas holiday season. And along with panetón, lechón and turkey, drinking chocolate is a historic holiday treat.
It’s the day we say “Thank you” to the women who raised us. Our mothers, our friends mothers, aunts, sisters, grandmothers, and of course our girlfriends. There have been so many women responsible for influencing and shaping me into the woman I am today.
It may be called The Big Apple, but New York City is good for a lot more than delicious fruit. Have you heard of Max Brenner? For years, Max Brenner has been known as the place to go for drinking chocolate in New York City. Steps from the Flatiron building, nestled unassumingly into an iconic stone facade, you will find indulgent, decadent mugs of some of the city’s best hot chocolate. You may only notice it’s there because of the line-up trailing out the door, and onto the sidewalk. Even though Max Brenner is an international institution, this chocolate oasis makes every mug feel like the unique, one of a kind creation that it truly is.
What if I told you that drinking chocolate is good for your overall health? For thousands of years, cultures all over the world have been drinking chocolate for the general feeling of strength and well-being that it gave its drinkers!