18th Century Drinking Chocolate

CWvTVKNW4AAOp4BThe things we subject ourselves to in the name of research! Just recently Jo visited her local Christmas Market in the city of Lincoln and returned having purchased two packets of ‘18th Century Hot Chocolate Drink’, one for her and the other which she kindly sent to me, an acknowledged ‘chocoholic’ to sample.

(c) Museums Sheffield; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
The Chocolate Maiden, (after Jean-Etienne Liotard). by M. Beaune (c) Museums Sheffield; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

I’m writing this blog with a most wonderful cup of the chocolate at the side of me. I have to say the taste is totally different to the usual brands of hot chocolate you buy in the supermarket today, it’s a much richer, creamy ‘chocolately’ taste and has been infused with long pepper, cardamom and cinnamon – the perfect drink for a frosty winter morning.

So the aim is that the blog should be written in the time it takes me to drink this lovely concoction!

As we all know chocolate has been enjoyed for centuries but as we focus on the 18th century it seems only right to take a quick peek at how the Georgians preferred to make the drink.

Chocolate seller
Courtesy of Lewis Walpole Library

We begin with a recipe from a cookery book we have referred to before by M E Rundell:


Those who use much of this article will find the following mode of preparing it both useful and economical:

Cut the cake of chocolate in very small bits; put in a pint of water, and, when it boils put in the above. Mill it off the fire until quite melted, then on a gentle fire till it boil; pour into a basin and it will keep in a cool place eight or ten days or more. When wanted, put a spoonful or two into milk, boil it with sugar and mill it well.

This, if not made thick is a very good breakfast or supper.

We then move on to The experienced English house-keeper, consisting of near 800 original receipts by Elizabeth Raffald which suggests a slight variation on this method.

To Make Chocolate

Scrape four ounces of chocolate and pour one quart of boiling water on it, mill it well with a chocolate mill and sweeten it to your taste; give it a boil and let it stand all night, then mill it again very well; boil it two minutes, then mill it, it will leave a froth upon the top of your cups.

Finally, I have found a recipe by Hannah Glasse for preparing the chocolate itself which seems to be the closest match in taste to the drink I have just finished!




chocolate service
Still life with a Chocolate Service (1770) by Luis Egidio Meléndez Courtesy of Prado Museum

The drinking chocolate that Jo purchased is available via  The Copper Pot


6 thoughts on “18th Century Drinking Chocolate

  1. I have just had a lovely message posted to our facebook page from one of your readers asking about our 18th century recipe hot chocolate from The Copper Pot. I immediately searched for your blog to see what he had seen, and was delighted to read your kind comments. I think that I do recall chatting with you, despite it being the busiest event of the year! Your reader did mention that the link to our webpage was not working, so I hope that you will permit me to put it here should anyone want to learn more about our chocolate.

    With very best wishes,




    • So sorry the link wasn’t working, hopefully it is now. Loved the hot chocolate and I knew Sarah would too so had to send her a pack.


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