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Chocolate today

Given the incredible variety of edible chocolate that arrived on the market during the 19th century, drinking chocolate lost its repute, especially amongst adults. However, it continued to be popular, notably for its nutritious and fortifying qualities.
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Churros and hot chocolate, Spanish specialities
© Shutterstock / Lesya Dolyuk

Stiff competition

As the 19th century progressed, drinking chocolate entered into serious competition with edible chocolate. Advances in the chocolate industry led to the arrival of a wide array of products on the market, including slabs of chocolate, pralines, then chocolate bars and spreads, all in an infinite number of variations. At the same moment, prices gradually decreased and chocolate became part of everyday life. Children started to eat this product, which had long been reserved exclusively for adults.

Healthy and delicious

Drinking chocolate and milkshakes remain a classic breakfast and snack-time drink for children and teenagers. Powdered chocolate appeared in the 20th century. This mixture of cocoa and sugar to be dissolved in milk was occasionally enriched with vitamins, minerals, barley flour, malt and cereals. Banania, a mixture of cocoa, cereals and banana flour, was launched in France in 1912. A Swiss pharmacist created Ovomaltine, originally a malt-based tonic for people with fragile health. In 1906, the inventor’s son, Albert Wander, turned it into a more flavourful drink by adding cocoa, eggs and milk (nowadays the powder is made without eggs). It became very popular with both children and adults. Sportspeople became its ambassadors, promoting it through advertising campaigns, where it was vaunted as being delicious and healthy, nutritionally well-balanced, with the power to both nourish and fortify.

Cocoa was also incorporated into traditional preparations, such as churros in Spain, a type of fritter dipped in very thick hot chocolate and bicerin, an old recipe from Turin, still popular today, made with a third of a cup of coffee, a third of hot chocolate and a third of cream.