Cabinets of curiosity 3: porcelain cup
This is a lidded porcelain cup for drinking hot chocolate.
When chocolate first came to Britain as an expensive, exotic, luxury product in the 1600s, the only way to taste it was by drinking it… as hot chocolate.
Cacao beans were ground up and melted in hot water. Sugar, milk and spices were added, and the mixture frothed with a stirring stick called a molinet.
Around the end of the 17th century chocolate and coffee houses became popular meeting places for lawyers, businessmen and politicians. At home, the fashion was to sip hot chocolate as an early morning or bedtime drink.
In 1828 cocoa powder was invented, allowing a range of affordable chocolate products to appear, including the world’s first chocolate bar, made by Joseph Fry and Son in 1847.
Did you know?
The brothers of Folkestone-born William Harvey (famous for discovering the circulation of the blood) were among the first people to import chocolate into Britain in the 1600s.