So hello and welcome to the Pleasant Vices
series. My name is Tasha Marks and I’m Paul A Young master chocolatier and today we’re
going to be talking to you about chocolate. So today we’re going to be talking about 18th
and 19th century chocolate, specifically in London.
Chocolate was not necessarily in the form that we imagine it today. It was drunk in
a liquid form and not necessarily as eating chocolate. And we’ve got some amazing examples
and replicas of items in the British Museum Collection that address just that. And this particularly Number 8 Greek Street
in Soho ‘Dealers in Chocolate, Coffee and Cocoa’ and it’s all about medicinal and the
well being of cocoa and coffee and tea. And also Sir Hans Sloane, very famous man of the
time. Founder of the British Museum Collection and
also celebrated as bringing drinking chocolate to the UK. ‘Sold here Sir Hans Sloane’s Milk Chocolate’
so he was the pioneer, he was the go to brand. So Sir Hans Sloane first got interested in
chocolate when he was in Jamaica and the idea that it was useful as a medicine, that it
was good for digestion and according to this advert here ‘for all consumptive case’. Scientists now have found that high percentage
stuff like this 91% or above is better than codeine and lots of medicine for the throat,
it coats the throat, lots of antioxidants, polyphenols and can help sore throats and
coughs. So eat more. So the coffee houses, the so called ‘penny
universities’ were very similar to the coffee shops we have today. People who go and work
use it as their go to office space. It’s something that started in the 18th century.
And you wouldn’t know that now because we have coffee culture now. And we still say we go out, we meet people
for coffee… And have tea.
…and we invite people over for tea. Yes that’s right.
So that idea of the coffee being external and tea being something that’s done at home
is still part of our language today. And chocolates bridged both worlds.
Which in essence kind of brought people together outside as a social activity. And hot chocolate
being for the elite and for the exclusive stemmed hundreds of chocolate houses. But
still even on this one it’s a drug store but with teas, coffees and chocolate.
But it’s interesting now chocolate shops are chocolate shops and you have news agents that
sell chocolate but not a drug store, that has anything medicinal like our current chemists
around cocoa or chocolate. Next time you go to a chemist and you notice
all the sweets by the tills just think ‘it’s probably historical’ they’re not just trying
to upsell you something. So the recipe we’re making today is inspired
by the mesoamerican roots of chocolate. So we’re infusing it with cinnamon and chile
and vanilla but the consistency itself is going to be much thicker so we’re going to
add milk to it which was an addition championed by Sir Hans Sloane. So do you want to talk to me about what we’ve
got? So chocolate. This is 100%. So it’s just cocoa
bean that had been picked, fermented, dried and roasted and then ground down and the heat
from the friction from the grinding extracts the cocoa butter and the cocoa solids the
brown bit in the cocoa butter blends together and when it’s cold it becomes hard. And of course milk. Now this has the spices
already in it so we want to remove those. This has been brought up to the simmer. So
we’ve got our cinnamon. We’ve got some chiles, some whole chiles, but you could use ground
chile that’s absolutely fine. Just be very careful add it gradually, you can’t take it
away once it’s in but you can put more in if you need to.
So it’s not boiling at this stage it’s just really really hot. If it’s really boiling
when you add the chocolate then it can scorch the chocolate and it can go a little bit grainy.
There we go. And then if you’d like to chop the last two bits of that chocolate for me,
without chopping your fingers off please. I’m very clumsy.
It can just be into even sized pieces And then we’re going to throw it all in and
then use our molinello our traditional whisk to froth it up.
There we go. Ok.
So we’re going to put all of that in, pop that in the middle.
So it’s quite a lot of chocolate, there’s about a pint of milk there and about 100 grams
of chocolate – it needs to be very chocolatey. I’m going to give you the honey pot and you’re
going to sweeten it slightly because as it is it would be incredibly bitter.
So yeah all the historical chocolate the solid processed cocoa nibs which is a much more
rough gritty chocolate than what we would have today wouldn’t be an eating chocolate
it might have had sugar added, you could eventually buy it with sugar added but we’re going to
go for a traditional one so it hasn’t really had any sugar added so we’re going to add
it in the form of honey. We’ve got some raw honey, so it’s a really
strong flavour. If you’d like to tip? Just say when.
This is about using your discretion. I think we’re good.
We don’t want it sugary. And then this is our molinello, our carved whisk. We’ll give
it a little stir, and if you’d like to hold the pan, I’ll start whisking, it automatically
froths the hot chocolate. It smells incredible at this stage which makes me think how amazing
the chocolate houses must have smelt in the Georgian era. Roasting cocoa beans, doing
it from scratch particularly. And historically that foam was as important
as the chocolate itself. The Aztecs would pour from one vessel into another to get the
foam. They would and really build the foam up from
a height. Moctezuma drank from two gold goblets about
40 a day – that’s a lot of chocolate – but it was all about the foam at the top. Fantastic.
Little bit more, you can’t overwhisk and the more you whisk the frothier it will get.
What we have as well – this is one of mine from my collection – this is an 18th century
chocolate stirer a patented design where you push it down, it has a little spring in there…
That is so satisfying isn’t it? Have you ever used it?
I haven’t. Do you want to try it?
Should we try it? No. Should we try it in the pot? You’ve got a
lovely original serving pot for this as well haven’t you?
Yes. So if I pour that in.
So this one is one of mine as well, this is a 19th century one so a little bit later than
the period we’re actually responding to. There we go.
I don’t think these pots were made for left handed people, I can’t.. it doesn’t seem right
to pour it that way. Shall I serve you?
Ahh yes thankyou. I’ll pop this in the back. So the froth should come out with it at the
end and that’s silky smooth… it doesn’t make a noise?
You can imagine how luxurious this must have been at the time. You’re going to have the
first taste. Ooo couldn’t possibly.
No go on. Ladies first. Ok.
I love the two little handles as well , very delicate. Two pinkies if you wanted.
Very English. That’s lovely. It’s the perfect amount of
bitter and spiced. Not too sweet. I’ll have it this way. Look it’s a sharing
cup. It’s less sweet than we have now isn’t it? But the cinnamon and chile, chile’s delicate.
You get all the flavours, you get the vanilla and the chile and the honey and the spices.
You wouldn’t rush it would you? That’s something you would sit down and enjoy. It’s much more
sophisticated than the hot chocolate we have now which tends to be incredibly milky and
sweet, with not a lot of chocolate where as that is powerful chocolate. Thank you for watching the Pleasant Vices
video about chocolate. Next week we have a video all about alcohol. For that or any past
episodes please click here and to subscribe to the British Museum YouTube channel click
over here. Thank you for watching.