by Alexandra Koktsidis Imagine a world without chocolate bars. Pretty hard to think of, right? Interestingly enough, up until the mid-19th century, solid chocolate bars did not exist. How could this be? The fact is, when chocolate made its debut in Europe, first in Spain, followed by other countries, it was consumed just as the Aztecs and Mayans had done hundreds of years before: as a drink.
Cadbury Drinking Chocolate instructions
It wasn’t until 1847 when Joseph Fry, head of Fry & Sons Chocolate Company located in Bristol, England developed the first chocolate bar. Fry’s bar consisted of a cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and sugar mixture that could be neatly poured into little rectangular molds. Fry sold his new product under the fancy French name “chocolat delicieux a manger.”
Fry's Chocolate and Cocoa Poster, circa 1878
Were these new and revolutionary really so delicieux? Well, not so much. The world’s first chocolate bars tasted much different from what we know today. They were coarse and bitter, not so sweet or creamy. Two years later, the Cadbury Brothers (their name sound familiar?) began producing a similar chocolate bar, and the idea of solid chocolate spread. In 1875, Daniel Peter of Switzerland invented the world’s first milk chocolate bar, with help from his neighbor and colleague Henry Nestlé. (Another familiar name, right?) Nestlé had previously created condensed milk, which Peter used to mix with cocoa and sugar for a milk chocolate formula. Soon enough, the English companies, Fry's and Cadbury Bros. caught on to the milk chocolate trend. In 1919, Fry & Sons merged with the Cadbury Brothers, and took the name Cadbury; it’s the same company we know today.
Gala Peter chocolate advertisement - notice the acknowledgment to Nestle!
Fry's Five Boys Milk Chocolate
Cadbury Milk Chocolate Advertisement with a focus on milk