Working with wholesale sweets and chocolates, I come across brands from all over the world. Each country has its own special relationship to the sweet stuff, with distinctive recipes and flavours delighting us year by year. Though the Aztecs had been working with cacao for years, it was the Spanish who first introduced chocolate to the western world as a by-product of their growing global empire. These days, Spanish doubloons are the stuff of legend, but thankfully chocolate remains! |
Spain’s Sweet History
Spain’s relationship with cocoa began at the start of the sixteenth century. Hernán Cortés returned from his intrepid trip to the ‘New World’ in 1528 with cocoa beans and the equipment for making the very first chocolate drink. As well as securing large parts of Mexico for the Spanish rulers, Cortés’ voyage led to the introduction of chocolati to the Spanish population. The drink was a success! The original South American recipe combined the bitter cocoa beans with hot chilli pepper. This recipe may have been thousands of years old and tasted very different to what we are used to today. It was drunk cold and was thought to have various medicinal benefits. However, it was soon altered to suit western palates.
Spanish chocolati swapped the chilli pepper for cinnamon, nutmeg and the all-important cane sugar. This recipe was carefully guarded and very expensive. The drink was not necessarily served hot, though it became more and more popular as a warm beverage as time went on.
These days there are still plenty of Spaniards in love with cocoa. Some of the oldest brands we know have their origins in the country which introduced chocolate to the western world. Thankfully, their delicious delicacies are available wholesale. Sweets and chocolates are the speciality of the brand Amatller, which manufactured its first bar in 1797 and is still going today. The packaging used by the brand features reproductions of stylish, nineteenth-century designs used by Amatller a few centuries ago. Amatller has a wonderful selection of sophisticated Spanish goodies beautifully presented in vintage-style tins. Look out for their Amatllons, caramelised Marcona almonds coated in smooth white chocolate and then dusted with top-quality bitter cocoa power. The sweet coating perfectly balances the bitterness of the powdery finish.
Alternatively, you could explore Simón Coll’s offerings. This wholesale sweets brand opened its first factory in the mid-nineteenth century, processing the cocoa beans delivered by large boats all the way from South America. Generations of the Colls have kept the family business alive and thriving right into the twenty-first century. The beans they use are sourced from all over the globe and roasted in their Spanish factories. They specialise in intense, high cocoa bars which pack a punch. These are ideal for those who treat chocolate-tasting like wine-tasting. Their 99% Cacao Bar is a real knock-out – you can’t hide behind the sweetness of sugar with such high cocoa content; the bean does the talking! For a less intense but still flavourful alternative, try the 70% Dark Bar with Cocoa Nibs.
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, established wholesale sweets suppliers with decades of experience supplying sweets and high-end chocolates to retailers across the UK. Working with the most dedicated suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and the UK, hf Chocolates' great tasting and beautifully packaged products add panache to any sweet display.
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