Find out more about chocolate

A photograph showing a bar of chocolate


© Jack Shoulder

    • Who doesn’t love chocolate? Over here at Show Me HQ we can’t get enough of the sweet stuff, so we’ve had a look at what museums and galleries can tell us about chocolate.

      Where does chocolate come from?
      Chocolate actually comes from plants, the cacoa (say it co-co) plant to be precise. Cacoa plants grow in South America. You can learn more about these plants in this video with Andrew Grey, a curator from the Manchester Museum.

      The Aztecs are well-known for their love of chocolate. Did you know they even used it as currency? The British Museum has an Aztec recipe for hot chocolate for you to try, it sounds really yummy!

      Chocolate doesn’t have the most pleasant of pasts. Slave labour was used to grow, farm and harvest the chocolate crop. You can find out more about this tragic part of chocolate's history with My Learning

      Sir Hans Sloane, the famous collector whose stuff gave us the British Museum and the Natural History Museum, brought chocolate back from Jamaica. Initially he sold it as a medicine, but soon Cadbury used Sloane's recipe to make the treat we’re familiar with today.

      In the 1700s hot chocolate was a luxury drink, so to show off the fact that they could afford it, people would have a special chocolate jug, in much the same way many of us have a teapot today. Here is a lovely example from the Wedgwood Museum.

      So, how is chocolate made? This video from British Pathé shows footage from a chocolate factory in France as it produces sweets to celebrate the coronation of George VI in 1936.

      Did you know that Roald Dahl was a big fan of chocolate? He used to keep the foil wrappers from his lunchtime chocolate bars and turned them into a ball. It is at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre if you want to find out more about it.

      Chocolate was also an inspiration for Roald Dahl. One of his most famous stories is set in a chocolate factory. When he was writing, Dahl would do lots of drafts before he felt the story was finished and you can see some of the notes from his fourth draft of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Roald Dahl Museum.

      Finally, there are museums all about chocolate such as the Chocolate Museum in Brixton, London, and York’s Chocolate Story.

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