Sweet Cracow

The Indian Drink of the Gods

“The discovery of cocoa tree fruit workings is attributed to the Mayans.They fermented the fruit, then roasted and ground it to prepare a hot, bitter beverage which they in turn consumed during holy rituals.

The tradition of drinking “xocoati” (bitter water) was later adopted by the Azteks. Thanks to this their leader Montezuma have a refreshment before each visit to the harem.
Chocolate (from the Mexican dialect Nahuati: chocolati; choco = cocoa, lati = water) was prepared by the Aztec in a simple manner: they mixed crushed cocoa beans with water, and consumed the beverage either hot or cold, seasoning it with black pepper, chili, corn, paprika, honey and dried flower petals.This beverage was for them a source of wisdom, energy, and an aphrodisiac.

The Aztec also used cocoa beans as the local currency. The costs of maintaining the court amounted to 32,000 beans, a porter earned 100 beans per day, a turkey cost 200 beans, 30 for a rabbit, and 1 bean was equivalent to 1 tomato. During Cortez’s rule one could buy a slave for 100 beans, and the services of a prostitute cost 10 beans.”

Fragment from Leszek Mazan’s book “Sweet Krakow”

“The King brought his wife the first potatoes in Poland from his trip to Turkey; however, the serving of hot chocolate in the royal bed made a greater impression on the Krakow servants. Sobieski longed for this treat just as much as he missed Marysieńka, whose beautiful eyes erupted with a wild desire upon seeing these sweets. The King relished this drink that was becoming more and more popular in courts throughout Europe (treated mainly as an aphrodisiac) 20 years before this time. His letter from 1665 has been preserved. In it he asked his wife to send chocolates and “wood to mix it with”.

Fragment from Leszek Mazan’s book “Sweet Krakow”

“Steam mills replace hand grinding of the beans for good. Mechanical presses create cocoa butter from cocoa pulp. The conche is introduced. It is a device that mixes and grinds chocolate masses using porcelain disks.Thanks to the conche (its work should last three days) chocolate becomes silky and melts in your mouth.”

Fragment from Leszek Mazan’s book “Sweet Krakow”

“He drank chocolate for breakfast everyday- and often also for official supper- Jerry Washington (1732-1799) at the suggestion of his wife Martha. The First Lady forced the USA government to buy the tea and chocolate service composed of three hundred and nine plates and cups made of "white gold", so the Chinese porcelain. Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, a friend of Kościuszko,  bought or received one of them from the President's widow and donated to Princess Czartoryska and that is the way the cup came to Kraków, where is today. The remained three hundred eight pieces we can see in the Mont Vernon Museum in Virginia State, where we can also taste the hot chocolate “a’la Washington”.

Fragment from Leszek Mazan “Sweet Krakow”

“At the beginning of the XIX century in Krakow, which was boasting a population of 25,000, as many as 251 ordinary taverns (which serve plain vodka) are open, along with 41 inns and 800 “public consumption” locales. These are absolutely hopeless drinkeries which would be complemented by being called “sub-par restaurants”. In 1817 the Senate of the Free City of Krakow declares that the amount of vodka and beer drinkeries is to be limited to the number of citizens: 1 drinkery is permitted for every 120 citizens. These limitations do not concern locales that sell wine, honey or English beer. This may be the reason why 10 years later 12 confectionaries, 76 cafes, 24 mead serveries, and 72 foreign liqueur stores were functioning in the city.”