The Untold Truth of Hot Chocolate
While hot chocolate may have been available on the street in countries like Spain, it was still an expensive drink compared to other imports like coffee or tea (via Alimentarium). When England started importing chocolate in the second half of the 17th century, it was particularly expensive due to the heavy import taxes that surrounded it (via Cadbury). As a result, drinking chocolate became a treat reserved for the very wealthy or the clergy.
As Cocoa Runners note, French nobility in particular enjoyed making hot chocolate. According to Cadbury, before marrying King Louis XIV, Maria Theresa of Austria was a Spanish princess who presented her husband, Louis XIV, with chocolate for their wedding. Louis even appointed a royal chocolatier to make hot chocolate with the monarch’s seal on it.
Outside the royal court, chocolate houses began to spring up, allowing those with enough money to indulge in a hot cuppa. As Cocoa Runners noted, chocolate houses were places of swashbuckling where indiscipline and misadventure reigned. Spicy and frothy cups of hot chocolate were served to players, thinkers and shakers. A chocolate factory even had a tunnel to get smugglers and the like out. What a salacious story for such a sweet delicacy!