It is said that "the earliest intimation of the introduction of cocoa into England is found in the announcement in the Public Advertiser of Tuesday, 16th June, 1657 (more than a hundred and thirty years after its introduction into Spain), stating that "in Bishopgate street, in Queen's Head alley, at a Frenchman's house, is an excellent West India drink, called chocolate, to be sold, where you may have it ready at any time; and also unmade, at reasonable rates".
In spite of this alluring advertisement, it was the beginning of the eighteenth century before chocolate became a fashionable beverage. And even as late as 1832 the consumption of cocoa was very limited, owing to a large duty that existed up to that time. Long-before this it had become a great favorite in Spain as it was in Spanish Ameria. In New England a mill for the preparation of chocolate was established in 1765. The chocolate of the early Spanish days must have been somewhat different from the modern article. This is one receipt that is given: "Take a hundred cocoa kernels, two heads of Chili or long peppers, a handful of anise or orjevala, and two of mesachusil or vanille - or, instead, six Alexandria roses, powdered - two drachms of cinnamon, a dozen almonds and as many hazelnuts, a half pound of white sugar, and annotto enough to color it, and you have the king of chocolates".
The cacao tree (theobroma cacao) from which chocolate and cocoa are obtained, is a native of tropical America. It grows to an average height of from thirteen to twenty, or even thirty feet, with a diameter of from five to ten inches. A quaint description of the appearance of the tree is given in the following words: "The cacao-tree almost all the year bears fruit of all ages, which ripens successively, but never grows on the end of little branches, as our fruits in Europe do, but along the trunk and chief boughs, which is not rare in these countries, where several trees do the like. Such an unusual appearance would seem strange in the eyes of Europeans, who have never seen anything of that kind; but, if one examines the matter a little, the philosophical reason of the disposition is very obvious. One may easily apprehend that if nature had placed such bulky fruit at the ends of the branches their great weight must necessarily break them, and the fruit would fall before it came to maturity".
FLOWER AND FRUIT OF COCOA TREE.
Cocoa is raised from seed, and the tree does not bear fruit till it has reached the fifth or sixth year. It re-duires an abundance of air and light, but must be shaded from too much direct sun. This is accom-plishd by growing large shade trees at frequent intervals in the cocoa plantation.
The cocoa beans are the seed of the plant and lie in even rows in a pod not very unlike a large cucumber in shape and size. The first step in the preparation of cocoa is the removal of the bean from this pod and its subjection to a "sweating" or fermentation pro cess. After this the beans are dried in the sun and in this form are shipped to our market.
Beans from different places, Caracas, Trinidad, Maracaibo, Java, and others are imported by the manufacturer who mixes them in different proportions in order to get the result desired. The second step in the process of manufacture is the careful roasting of the beans to develop the flavor, and the crushing or cracking of the nuts and the removal of the thin husk or shell with which the seed is covered, by winnowing. The shells are used in many places for the preparation of a drink. If they are boiled for a long time, a smooth, oily beverage with a pleasant nutty flavor is obtained. The cracked cocoa, or cocoa nibs, as it is called, is also used for preparing a beverage. A mixture of the shells and nibs gives a very satisfactory result.
COCOA BEANS. Showing Fruit, Flowers and Leaf.
METHOD OF GROWTH OF COCOA.