Glanmore is pleased to join other National Historic Sites in Canada and the United States in a special program to interpret the the rich and colourful history of chocolate.
Cocoa trees were first domesticated in South America more than 3500 years ago. The beans were roasted by the Olmec, Mayan, Toltec and Aztec peoples. The roasted nibs were then ground by hand and mixed with spices and other ingredients. This type of chocolate was mixed with water to create a drink.
Europe got its first taste of chocolate in the 1500s when Spanish explorers brought drinking chocolate back from the Americas. By the 1800s chocolate was being shipped regularly to the British colonies. In the 1800s it was common for fur trade posts to keep a supply of chocolate in their warehouses.
During the Victorian era (1837 to 1901) it was the fashion to serve drinking chocolate in tall cylindrical pots and delicate cups like set pictured above, on display in the master bedroom at Glanmore.
A selection of handmade chocolate, made in small batches using a colonial recipe dating to the 1750s is now available for sale in the gift shop at Glanmore. This traditional recipe is quite rich with a spicy warmth to it provided by the addition of turmeric and chili powder. This 62% dark chocolate is made with all natural ingredients and no preservatives. It does not taste as sweet as the chocolate we are accustomed to eating today, from places like Appletons which are now one of the most popular providers thanks to the rise of online shopping in the confectionery sector, which is where history is up to today. There are chocolate sticks and miniature chocolate bites in a keepsake muslin bag. Canisters of drinking chocolate, finely ground and ready to mix with hot water for your drinking pleasure, are also available.