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July 19th 2020
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Week 12

Week 12 - Industrialisation

L for (cocoa) Liquor

The Industrial Revolution started in the late 1700s. From this time, powered, special-purpose machinery, factories and mass production became prominent.


Machines grinding cocoa beans into a paste started to appear in France and the USA, as well as Van Houten’s invention of the hydraulic press, which produced cocoa powder and cocoa butter, became the basis of all chocolate products.


The paste obtained from grinding cocoa beans or mixing melted cocoa butter with cocoa powder form what is called cocoa liquor in its warmed liquid state, or cocoa mass in its cooled solid state.


This paved the way to industrialisation, giving the confectionery industry a new method to produce solid chocolate on a larger scale. This was the century of technological advance and entrepreneurship, and as the population was growing fast, so were demands for confectionery and food in general. More and more factories were established to meet these needs.


During this time, people didn’t tend to believe anymore in the therapeutic virtues of chocolate, so everyone started consuming chocolate anytime, in liquid or solid form and in larger quantities.


While Britain embraced industrialisation in the chocolate and food industry, the rest of the European countries were still grinding their cocoa beans on metate table (stone table) upholding the Mesoamerican and craft traditions.


Most of the confectioners were coming from the apothecary business, mixing the older tradition of chocolate taken as a medicine with the new trend of chocolate being consumed for pleasure.


In 1860, sales of eating chocolate were still modest compared to that of drinking chocolate, but the price of cocoa beans began to fall as greater quantities were shipped from Africa and the Americas, making chocolate available to the masses. Demand for cocoa beans increased from just 1,000 tons a year in 1850 to 5,000 tons in 1880.


Fry’s, with 4 factories in Bristol, dominated the British market with an amazing variety of chocolates, but competition started to arrive from other European countries.


Menier, who made the first solid chocolate bar in France, reached 2,500 tons of chocolate production by the mid-1860’s. He established himself in London, attracted by the large populations of Britain’s industrial towns. In 1893, Menier chocolate was billed “the world chocolate leader” at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.


Between 1880 and 1902, chocolate consumption had quadrupled and this prompted Cadbury to build the Bournville factory in 1879.

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We thank you for your participation,
Programme in partnership with Melange Chocolate
Principal Sources:
"The True history of Chocolate" Thames & Hudson
 "Encyclopedie du chocolate et de la confiserie" AFCC

"Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane" by James Delbourgo

"Chocolate Wars" by Deborah Cadbury

"The Secret Life of Chocolate" by Marcos Patchett

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