The new discovery of a 350-year-old English recipe for an iced chocolate treat bears striking similarities with the modern-day drink.
Notes showing how to make a 17th century equivalent of the chilled drink, popular in summer months, have been uncovered by a university lecturer while studying literature from the period – complete with health warnings about consuming too much of the sweet, brown confection.
Dr Kate Loveman, an English lecturer at the University of Leicester, said the recipe directed the maker to mix chocolate, some snow and a little salt and “shaike the snow together (for) sometyme” in what she believes is one of the first ever examples of its kind to have been found.
“It’s not chocolate ice-cream but more like a very solid and very dark version of the iced chocolate drinks you get in coffee shops today,” she said.
The iced dessert would have been a “great luxury” because of the difficulty in freezing food at that time.
Dr Loveman discovered a host of recipes in a journal penned by one of the country’s earliest chocoholics, the Earl of Sandwich, in 1668. He is thought to have developed a taste for drinking chocolate while at the Spanish royal court in the 1660s.
His great, great grandson is commonly held to have invented the sandwich.
In among the manuscript’s entries is a prized recipe for King Charles II’s spiced and perfumed chocolate, which the Earl noted had cost Charles STG200 ($A350) a time – about STG25,000 today.
Dr Loveman has now published a paper on the introduction of chocolate into England.
“Chocolate was first advertised in England around 1640 as an exotic drink made from cacao beans,” she said.
“In the 1660s, when the Earl of Sandwich collected his recipes, chocolate often came with advice about safe consumption.
“One physician cautioned the ingredients in hot chocolate could cause insomnia, excess mucus or haemorrhoids.
“People worried iced chocolate in particular was ‘unwholesome’ and could damage the stomach, heart and lungs.
“There were ways round this and the Earl thought the best way to ward off the dangers of eating frozen chocolate was drink some hot chocolate about an hour afterwards.
“In other words, chocoholics are not new.”
Dr Loveman’s paper The Introduction of Chocolate into England: Retailers, Researchers, and Consumers, 1640-1730, is published in the Journal of Social History.