Sisters and Brothers, your Chocolate Priestess is sure you've heard the name Cadbury in association with chocolate. I know that if you are in the UK you are very familiar with this brand of chocolate. The Milk Chocolate Acolyte has a "Forgotten English" daily calendar by Jeffrey Kacirk which marked today, August 12, as the birthday of English chocolatier John Cadbury (1801-1889). Using that calendar as a jumping off point, I went searching for more information because I think an important figure in the popularization of chocolate deserves to acknowledged here in The Chocolate Cult.
Born in Birmingham, Cadbury was a Quaker who saw the rise in alcohol as a serious social threat. Unlike other activists who focused on changing laws, delivering fire and brimstone lectures, or turning to the media to show the horror of drunkenness, Cadbury wanted to provide an alternative: chocolate drinks.
Chocolate-houses were all over Europe by the end of the 17th century so one more small grocery store in 1824 that also served chocolate drinks might have seemed foolish. Drinking chocolate was the principle way that cocoa was consumed for many, many decades so how did Cadbury become so huge?
Cadbury choose to open his shop next to his father's business in a wealthy part of the city. This gave him family support but also reached out to those who had the money and power to appreciate good products. By 1831 the business focused on chocolate and within 16 years there was a factory producing chocolate products to be sold under the Cadbury name. However, business turned sour and it took the next generation, John's sons George and Richard to turn things around and making their family business into a giant.
You might recall, Sisters and Brothers, that last year Cadbury was bought out by an American company and this created all sorts ill-feelings in the UK. The reason is that the business has been run under the ideals of Quaker beliefs. Cadbury was well-known for its charitable works and fair labor practices something some of my UK readers have told me they worry will change. Only time will tell if that is true.
So today if you can find something from Cadbury, eat and say a thank to John Cadbury for this work that lives on today.