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Monday, August 5, 2013
When most people think of good chocolate they think of Belgium and Switzerland, but England should not be forgotten! England is home of Cadbury chocolate! The creamiest chocolate I have ever tasted. You know those little Cadbury eggs you get in your Easter basket? They’re so tasty! They are from England and here in England, Cadbury eggs are sold year round. It’s fantastic! Brits can all agree that there is no chocolate but Cadbury chocolate.
The chocolate that we think of today was not always in a bar form. It originated from the hot chocolate beverage, made from real cocoa powder. John Cadbury worked in the coffee and tea industry. As it turns out, cocoa was in quite a different league than coffee and tea at the time, because Parliament had placed a hefty tax on cocoa so only the wealthy were able to afford it, making the market quite small. In 1832 the Liberal party slashed the high taxes on foreign goods including cocoa, allowing John Cadbury took to further his research in making chocolate creamier and accessible to more consumers.
Cocoa on its own is quite acidic and thus not palatable for most people. Milk acts as a buffer to the acidity of cocoa, creating that delicious creamy taste we all love in our hot chocolate today. In 1727, an Englishman named Nicholas Sanders thought of adding milk to chocolate. Sanders had not perfected the process so many years later, John Cadbury borrowed his idea and attempted to perfect it. Meanwhile, Sir Hans Sloane developed a recipe that mastered the art of adding cocoa to milk. John Cadbury caught wind of this and teamed up with Sloane to create deliciously creamy hot chocolate that nearly all consumers could afford. It is interesting to note that Sloane Square here in London is named after this influential chocolate pioneer. You can see how important chocolate is to the English.
The next project was determining how this cocoa could be made into a bar for a portable, ready to eat treat. Cadbury’s rival, Fry and Sons had created a dark chocolate bar in 1847 but it was not perfect. It was crumbly and had a bitter taste which many consumers found distasteful. John Cadbury knew he could build off of their mistakes. The issue with making milk chocolate in a bar is creating a proportional mixture of cocoa butter and milk that allows them to mix together because they have a tendency to separate. Cocoa butter is what “gives chocolate bars their magic” says John Bradley, author of Cadbury’s Purple Reign. Rudolphe Lindt invented a process called “conching” in 1879 which basically mixes the milk and the cocoa butter at a high temperature for a day or two. Conching makes the chocolate smooth as well as ridding the chocolate of the volatile flavors. While Cadbury was continuing their experiments, a Swiss confectioner named Henri Nestlé created the first milk chocolate bar. This was not the best quality chocolate bar because it was crumbly, like the dark chocolate bar of Fry and Sons. Cadbury did not take this as a win for Nestlé, but more of a push for them to perfect the flaws of the Nestlé recipe. George Cadbury, the son of John Cadbury, was a chemist who discovered that fresh full cream creates the best tasting chocolate as well as the smoothest. He used cream from British pastures within a fifty mile radius of Birmingham, where Cadbury was experimenting. They used this as a marketing device when they first advertized the chocolate bar. In 1897, Cadbury had finally created a smooth and creamy milk chocolate bar. By 1904 the recipe was settled and plans for building a chocolate factory were underway. Unfortunately the Swiss’ sales were still a great deal ahead of little Cadbury, but they did not let this discourage them. They had made it this far after all! After many years of perfecting the recipe and their marketing strategies, Cadbury is now one of the world’s leading confectionary companies. In the UK, Cadbury chocolate is considered the definitive chocolate brand. They worked hard and deserve the respect and fame they have gained. You can taste the perfection in every bite. Cadbury chocolate is by far the creamiest chocolate I have ever tasted. I even went to Belgium and thought Cadbury was better than the chocolate there!
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