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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Hello, my name is Christopher Hew, and I’m from the University of Reading. Nice to meet you. Oh, very nice to meet you. My name’s Robert Hoare. I’m from the Historical Royal Kitchens team at Hampton Court Palace. How was chocolate made during the Georgian period? The process starts with taking the pods off the tree, and then fermenting them on basically the forest floor. And then drying them off. And then we have them in this form. And these have been processed abroad. They had to be fermented and dried and everything. And that takes quite a while. But we didn’t know that. So we get the beans like this. And then we roast them.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 seconds And we roast them in front of fires, sometimes just with iron pans, sometimes with things like this. Great big cylinders that you put onto the spit. And once it’s roasted, it gets to be like these. These are roasted beans. These are already roasted beans. Already roasted beans, which I did this morning. And we roast them– not a terribly high temperature compared to coffee. I’ve done these at 140 degrees centigrade. Are they edible? They are. Would you care to try them? Yes, please. Thank you.

Skip to 1 minute and 17 seconds It’s crunch– it’s chocolatey. Very chocolatey. But very dry. And what happens next is the amazing thing, because you crunch these up, and then you put them on the metate stone, which is warmed. But only warmed to about 80. It’s heated below. EIther using a charcoal stove or in our case, you can have a tray with sort of charcoal embers in. And then you use this to crunch them. You crunch the beans. And after a while, they sort of liquefy. It’s really strange. Suddenly the cocoa butter comes out. And they become liquid? Yeah, it becomes really fatty. Back home in Indonesia, we have a similar device as well. Oh, do you?

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds But we use it to grind up herbs and chillies, usually. And it’s much more rough in texture. And so it grinds the herbs very, very finely, as compared to probably this. So what you do is you get it until you think it’s ready. You sort of scrape it off with your special scraper. And you scrape it onto bits of paper, like this. And when you scrape it onto bits of paper like this, this is now called a chocolate cake. Called cake because of their shape. Cake of soap. It was just an old thing for a round thing. And then some people say keep them for a month. Some people say don’t keep them for a month.

Skip to 2 minutes and 37 seconds It’s a sort of trade secret thing. And then, typical Georgian, you boil this up in– over here, in England, milk. But not only milk. Chocolate wine, chocolate port– Oh, chocolate port. Which is very nice, yes. You have to serve it up quickly. But because it’s still got the fat in there, and it’s still got a slight graininess, you serve it in one of these. This is a classic chocolate pot. And the reason it’s got this, it’s because you want to– it’s basically a whisk. built in. And so what you do is you give it a whisk up. And get it all nice and frothy, so when it is poured out, it’s also sort of nice and homogenised.

Making chocolate the Georgian way

This Week we’ve focused on the role of chocolate in showcasing power, wealth and kingship during the Georgian era.

In this video, Robert Hoare, Food Historian and member of the Historic Kitchens Team at Hampton Court Palace explains the traditional, Georgian method for preparing a ‘cake’ of chocolate from raw chocolate nibs. These cakes were then taken and mixed with hot water, milk, or alcohol to make a delicious range of chocolate drinks.

Robert is joined by Christopher Hew, a Food and Nutritional Science student from the University of Reading. Christopher is keen to find out how these ‘cakes’ of chocolate are prepared and to take a sample back to the labs at Reading, where he plans to analyse the aromas released from drinking chocolate prepared using different ingredients, as part of his final year research project.

A photo of a chocolate cakes on a wooden table

Figure 1: Georgian Chocolate cakes © Historic Royal Palaces

If you’d like to see the full process of making chocolate, watch this recreation, also made in the Chocolate Kitchen at Hampton Court Palace:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

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This video is from the free online course:

A History of Royal Food and Feasting

University of Reading