Cadbury to Open ‘Cocoa Houses’

Chocolate House, London 1708

Cadbury has announced plans to open a chain of Cocoa Houses in the UK.  The plan involves opening some 60 locations across the country over the next three to five years. The first one will open this year.

Retail analysts consider this a smart move and a way for Cadbury, now part of food giant Kraft, to cash in on the growing market for expensive hot drinks. The hot chocolate twist is probably a good idea provided it’s good hot chocolate.

The history of coffee houses (which served chocolate) in England goes back to the 1700s. One of the early chocolate devotees was Samual Pepys who kept a nice diary in which chocolate is mentioned often. Coffee houses became places where Whigs congregated to discuss their dislike of Charles II. Said Charles, of course, disliked the Whigs and, in 1675,  issued a “Proclamation for the Suppression of Coffee Houses.” A public outcry led him to suspend the implementation of the decree for six months. And then he just forgot about it (Sophie and Michael Coe, The True History of Chocolate, New York 1996, 167-73).

There’s little danger of that happening today, what with Cameron and Brown duking it out in more modern way. Let’s just hope that Cadbury serves real chocolate and not the over sweetened stuff that passes for hot chocolate in the U.S.

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