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wanted to sweeten the beverage to make it acceptable to them. They therefore replaced the pimento with sugar. That was at the time of the boom in sugarcane plantations. There was increased availability of sugar as such, and also it arrived in Europe in bulk thanks to Portuguese trade1.
Most noteworthy was that the addition of sugar, an accepted and well-known taste, was required to temper the bitterness of the cocoa and replace the pimento, thus making chocolate closer to accepted tastes. On the other hand, for a long time after that, spices, such as vanilla, cinnamon, anise, orange flowers, etc. were readily added in Spain. Vestiges of this preparation exist to this day.
• The second factor comes from what may be called the civilization of the court. According to this model, devised by Elias (11), royal society served as a reference. This model was all the more valued because it was difficult to reach, reserved for a few, even prohibited for ordinary mortals. The habits, fashions and values of the court were first copied by those near to it: nobles, courtiers, etc. The latter imitated and at the same time, deliberately or not, transformed the initial model; they themselves served as models for those beneath them.
Thus, through what one may term a virtual apprenticeship through imitation, the manners and fashions of the court served as a reference and were involved in the spread of habits2.
The consumption of chocolate spread in accordance with this latter model. For example, in France, under Louis XIV, consumption was essentially for aristocrats. In 1659 only one shop had the royal privilege of 'selling and supplying a certain composition called chocolate'. This privilege was renewed in 1666, and a second beneficiary appeared only in 1692 (10).
Chocolate was consumed because it was a model copied from the king, but also because it had numerous virtues. The abundant correspondence of Madame de Sevigne, virtual chronicler of the French Court, is proof of this: to begin with it was reputed to have medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities and above all that of being the product in fashion. These qualities were then decried, but again it
1 The accessibility of sugar and its arrival in Europe in bulk also had economic, political and cultural consequences. I would like to note here, anecdotally, the development in Portugal, which was the main importer of sugar at that time, of a literary mode: the sonnets of sugar. These were collections of poems which were produced mainly by monks and nuns in monasteries and which lasted for about a century (end of the 16th to about the end of the 17th century). Love poetry, it has a specific feature: any allusion to love was replaced by allegories of sugar!
2 This can still be found today, in another way. The inscription on the wrapping of certain products, certifying that these are brands recognized as supplied to such and such a famous person or reigning monarch, confer a definite marketing value on these products. It is as if the product has a higher quality just because of this. Thus, through the medium of a product, the consumer becomes a 'person of taste' and continues to perpetuate this model of society.
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