Anthony Moll: 21/02/2017
On Friday 20th January, the Block 1 Pupils were treated to a kind of lecture totally different from anything experienced before. With the lecture on Alcoholism and addiction cancelled, someone came to talk about his own totally separate obsession and passion: chocolate. Arriving from the University of Happiness, a clear professional delivered a passionate and driven lecture on the origin and development of chocolate, from the early cocoa drink of the Ancient Aztecs over 3,100 years ago to the creation of solid chocolate in “Year Zero” as he liked to call it (1847) , and beyond. He explained how the Aztecs used it as a bitter drink given to human sacrifices before their deaths, and was made by grinding up the raw cocoa pods into a paste then added to water, certainly different from today’s modern usage as a staple of sweetness in many people’s diets. We were then shown the vivid details of how the Cocoa bean trade was used by tradesmen to make millions of pounds as the modified version of the drink, mixing sugar with the cocoa powder became extremely popular in England, America and across Europe. Finally, he described how Joseph Fry discovered a way to turn chocolate into a solid eating form, still used today. He learned to make chocolate moldable by adding back melted cacao butter. Milk had sometimes been used as an addition to chocolate beverages since the mid-17th century, but in 1875 Daniel Peter invented milk chocolate by mixing a powdered milk developed by Henri Nestlé with the liquor. At the end of the story, our lecturer then revealed his grand plan to bring chocolate making back to the UK, after the original Bristol-based Cadbury factory was moved to Poland in 2010, after the purchase of the company by Kraft. Although admittedly some of what he said was designed to be taken with a pinch of salt, it was a very enjoyable lecture and was most entertaining.