How to make 17th-century chocolate for Valentine’s Day

The 'food of love', chocolate makes for a popular Valentine's Day gift. And Hampton Court Palace is marking the occasion by opening to the public a royal chocolate-making kitchen that once catered for kings William III, George I and George II. But if you can't make it to London, and you're loathe to buy a box of heart-shaped treats, why not try your hand at this 17th-century chocolate recipe?



To make Chocolate


Take your Choco Nutts and put them over the fire either
In earthern pott, or kettle or frying pan keeping them
stirring with a brass spoone till they be very hott and of black
browne, then take them and pull of[f] the shells with your fingers.
They must look of a black colour though not to[o] much burnt.

Then you must pound them in a great iron or brass mortar
and seeth [sieve] them through a fine lawne [linen] seeth [sieve], and  soe pound
them againe and soe seeth it till all
getts through, then take two pound of the powder and
three quarters of a pound of good white sugar about
5d or 6d per pound being seethed [sieved] all one as the
Choco Nutts, then put a Nuttmeg and half and ounce of
Cinnamon and pound it well together and seeth it as
herein before mentioned and to each pound of Choco
Nutt the like quantity.

When you have mixt it altogether, take your mortar and putt it on the fire and
make it pretty hott and take the pestle also, then putt
the stuff in it and beat it till it comes to a smooth
past[e], then take it out and weigh it into Quarters of pounds
then Roll it round in your hands and putt it on a Quarter
of sheet of paper and take the paper into your two hands and
chafe it up and down till it comes to a short Roll.

English medical notebook, 1575-1663 (Wellcome Library MS.6812, p.137)


Click here to read a history of our obsession with chocolate