Hot chocolate has always been one of my favourite drinks but I have often wondered when the drink was first consumed in Britain.
I was surprised to find out that chocolate itself arrived in England in the 1600s, with evidence of it being drunk at the court of Charles I – before it was deemed a sinful pleasure by Oliver Cromwell, and banned.
This recipe is based on the drink served at the English court during the 17th and 18th centuries and the spices make it smell – and taste – wonderful. It’s also very simple to make.
The drink is very rich – you won’t need a big portion – but since chocolate was believed to have medicinal properties well into the mid-18th century, you can see it as a relatively guilt-free treat!
- 75g dark chocolate (minimum 70 per cent cocoa solids, broken into small pieces)
- 400ml full fat milk
- Seeds from 2 cardamom pods, freshly ground
- 2 star anise
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Zest of half an orange, grated
- Pinch of chilli flakes
Recipe taken from Chocolate Fit for a Queen by Historic Royal Palaces (Ebury Press, 2015)
This article was first published in the July 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine