Posts Tagged ‘Earl of Sandwich’

Before the Sandwich came the snowy chocolatti

September 1, 2013

The use of the word “sandwich” to describe sliced meat between two slices of bread is supposed to originate after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, (13 November 1718 – 30 April 1792). But the invention of the sandwich as a dish probably goes back to the first use of flat breads and of wrapping other edible foods within the breads. As far as we know flat breads originate at least from 4,000 BCE as they were known in Sumeria and Ancient Egypt.

“Sandwich”: It was named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century English aristocrat, although he was neither the inventor nor sustainer of the food. It is said that he ordered his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread, and because Montagu also happened to be the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, others began to order “the same as Sandwich!”. It is said that Lord Sandwich was fond of this form of food because it allowed him to continue playing cards, particularly cribbage, while eating without getting his cards greasy from eating meat with his bare hands.

But it would seem from research by Kate Loveman that Admiral Sir Edward Montagu, the first Earl of Sandwich (1625 -1672) has an even greater claim to culinary fame than his great, great, grandson. Of course chocolate has been in use for at least some 800 years for pleasure and as a medicine but the first iced chocolate – or is it a chocolate ice? – is still a culinary milestone.The Earldom was created in 1660 and this recipe for a “snowy chocolatti” dates from 1668 or earlier.

The Earl’s iced chocolate recipe

  1. Prepare the chocolatti (to make a drink)
  2. Putt the vessell that hath the chocolate in it, into a jaraffa (carafe) of snow stirred together with some salt
  3. Shake the snow together sometyme and it will putt the chocolatti into tender curdled ice
  4. Soe eate it with spoons

Kate LovemanThe Introduction of Chocolate into England: Retailers, Researchers, and Consumers, 1640–1730,  Journal of Social History (Fall 2013) 47 (1): 27-46. doi: 10.1093/jsh/sht050


In the mid-seventeenth century chocolate was a new and fascinating product in England, often grouped with two equally exotic drinks, coffee and tea. This article focuses on the early history of chocolate, examining how it was marketed, perceived, and consumed. Chocolate sellers, who included coffee-houses proprietors, frequently made use of print to educate potential customers: the 1640s and 1650s saw chocolate-drinking promoted as medicinal, excitingly foreign, and pleasurable. Further insights into the scientific, governmental, and social factors that drove interest in chocolate during the Restoration can be found in the manuscripts of the first Earl of Sandwich (1625–72).

Despite evidence of considerable industry on the part of chocolate consumers, in the 1690s the success of a new breed of elite chocolate houses led to chocolate becoming strongly associated with leisure and decadence. These cultural associations were promoted in succeeding decades by periodicals, drama, and satirical poems. Throughout the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, consumers’ experimentation with chocolate took place in the context of succeeding government’s fiscal experiments with cacao and chocolate: new tax measures influenced the cost of chocolate and its availability. By consulting a range of sources, from customs records to recipe books, we can track the ways chocolate was used across the decades and the factors in its adoption by different groups of consumers.

BBC News writes:

Dr Kate Loveman, from the University of Leicester, said she found the recipes in manuscripts which belonged to the Earl of Sandwich in 1668.

At the time, the chocolate treats came with a health warning for damaging the stomach, heart and lungs. The research also shows some of the regular themes in chocolate advertising across the centuries.

Dr Loveman, a senior lecturer in 17th and 18th Century English literature, said she was looking through a Samuel Pepys journal when she came across a 30-page section on chocolate.

Dr Kate Loveman
Dr Kate Loveman said the recipe was for a very solid, dark version of iced chocolate drinks. “It struck me as quite an unusual, odd thing because I have never come across anything quite like this before,” she said. “So I thought I would look into it further to find out how unusual it actually was.

“It’s not chocolate ice-cream, but more like a very solid and very dark version of the iced chocolate drinks you get in coffee shops today. Freezing food required cutting-edge technology in 17th Century England, so these ices were seen as great luxuries.”

The Earl’s recipe was written about 100 years before his great-great-grandson allegedly invented the sandwich. Dr Loveman said: “In the 1660s, when the Earl of Sandwich collected his recipes, chocolate often came with advice about safe consumption. 

“The papers included quite stern warnings about the dangers. It was a drug as far as people of the 17th Century were concerned.

“One physician cautioned that the ingredients in hot chocolate could cause insomnia, excess mucus, or haemorrhoids. People worried that iced chocolate in particular was ‘unwholesome’ and could damage the stomach, heart, and lungs.”

Dr Loveman’s research also shows some of the continuities in chocolate advertising across the centuries, such as links between chocolate and women, pleasure and sexuality.

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