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Hampton Court Palace and the 1662 Hot Chocolate

The origins of this special hot chocolate are almost as old as the Palace itself. The recipe made use of ingredients sent to Henry VIII as gifts from South America and Asia. These ingredients, such as raw chocolate in its cocoa bean form and  spices from India, were new and exotic marvels to Tudor England.

The hot chocolate tells a lovely story of provenance specific to Hampton Court and English Heritage.

A Hidden History

Not long after the recent discovery of a range of Tudor chocolate recipes, the existence of the "chocolate” kitchen at Hampton Court Palace was uncovered. Here hot chocolate would be made and delivered by butler to the King’s apartment at bedtime.

The Ampersand team at the Palace have conducted our own research and worked with Marc Meltonville, Hampton Court Palace’s food historian, to ensure we interpret the recipe for this royal favourite dating back to 1662 correctly and maintain its provenance and authenticity.

A Secret Recipe

To preserve the integrity of the recipe, we source raw cocoa, in the form of Venezuelan chocolate block. Chocolate making is a tricky process, as the recipe must be tempered correctly to ensure it does not burn or spoil. We also carefully balance the recipe to remove some of the bitterness of raw chocolate, creating an authentic but delicious drink.

The recipe calls for chilli, so we investigated how its different forms – powder, liquid, flakes, parched – would add body to the drink.

Although the original hot chocolate was served in a pewter goblet, we have opted for a slightly more modern delivery and serve it in glass espresso cups. We keep it hot and churn it in a hot chocolate machine.

The recipe is closely guarded by the Palace, and so we are not at liberty to divulge. We can let you in on a little secret though: the key lies in sourcing the raw chocolate and incorporating the chili flavour in the right way to bring out the flavour.

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