Any chocolate haters here? If so, I’m afraid you should probably look away now because this post is going to be all about it!
I’m a huge fan of chocolate and used to plough through at least a double layer box every day. Completely true story – I’ll do a blog post about how that changed at a later date.
So I was delighted when an invite for a private view of MShed’s new exhibition, which explores the history of chocolate and its links to Bristol, arrived in the post.
Especially as it was on a Willy Wonka style Golden Ticket!
Our evening started off in the best way, with complimentary drinks and nibbles overlooking Bristol’s harbourside. I think this is James’s “get the camera out of my face, I’m enjoying my wine” face.
There were quite a few drinks on offer, including chocolate cocktails, but I wanted to stay focused and opted for a Diet Coke instead. With two straws, obviously (does anyone else do this?).
It was then time to head inside and enjoy other treats on offer including a chocolate fountain, with lots of scrummy things for dipping – from fruit to flapjacks.
Everyone loved the fountain and there was a huge queue on both sides so we didn’t try it but there were lots of happy chocolatey faces!
It was then time to enter the exhibition. The first thing I saw when I entered was this memory board.
Clearly I had to add my own
Amazing that people were extolling the benefits of chocolate more than 100 years ago!
I had no idea that Fry’s (which merged financially with Cadbury in 1919) was based in Bristol and came up with the first chocolate bar as we know it more than 160 years ago.
* 1847 – J S Fry & Sons mixed cocoa powder, sugar and cocoa butter to make the first commercially available chocolate bar. This dark coloured bar was similar to the dark chocolate we eat today.
* 1873 – Fry’s became the first in the UK to make a hollow chocolate Easter egg
I love this poster. Nothing like a warm mug of hot cocoa (especially with a digestive biscuit dipped in) after a long, cold day.
I found figures about which country eats the most chocolate per capita fascinating. Here’s the list:
1. Germany – 11.39kg
2. Switzerland – 10.77kg
3. UK – 10.31kg
4. USA – 5.09kg
5. Brazil – 2.48kg
I suppose the chocolate in Germany and Switzerland does taste amazing! Can you believe the UK consumes twice as much chocolate as the USA though? I think it would be the opposite with peanut butter
Here’s another thing I found interesting – the global sales of chocolate brands. Cadbury includes Kraft.
There were lots of examples of chocolate sold in the past, from beautifully decorated chocolate boxes (for a suitor to give to the object of his affections) and pretty tins…
… to themed sets. Like Doctor Who!
Apparently cacao was so desirable that the Aztecs used it as money.
* One rabbit = five beans
* One chicken – 100 beans
* An avocado = three beans
I don’t know if I’d be able to choose between avocado and cacao!
There were lots of examples of cacao beans and nibs to look at but they were locked away in glass cases so no tasting (they must have known I was coming!).
The evening ended, like all good parties, with a goodie bag complete with free chocolate!
Chocolate! runs at MShed until May 6.
* Would you choose three cacao beans or an avocado? I think it would depend if I was hungry, a whole avocado would probably keep me going for a lot longer than three beans!