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Military Chocolate Memories

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Military chocolate has sustained American soldiers from colonial days until now. Wartime rations included chocolate to aid them emotionally and physically.

Rations in the Colonial Period
Hand-ground chocolate formed into balls, stored in old rags or used newspapers, mixed with boiled water, all frothed into a colonial period hot chocolate. This drink was breakfast and/or supper in those days. It may have also been mixed with other ingredients to make chocolate wine.

Benjamin Franklin sent six pounds of chocolate (and sugar, tea, coffee) for each officer fighting near the Forks of the Ohio in the French & Indian War in 1755.

Boston-based suppliers William Tailer and Samuel Blodgett sold chocolate regularly to the soldiers of a regiment near Crown Point, New York, also in the French & Indian War.

In 1776, Chaplain William Emerson of Concord, Massachusetts wrote to his wife that once he arrived at Fort Ticonderoga "This morning I breakfasted just as I would at Home, my Porringer [small bowl] of Chocolate was brought in, in as much Order as need be."

The Continental Congress specified that rations for colonels and chaplains to include four pounds of chocolate per month, majors and captains to receive three pounds, and lieutenants to receive two pounds.

Chocolate beverage fortified our troops for victory. Our American chocolate has fueled the patriotism, duty and healing that we celebrate on Memorial Day.

Recipe
To Make Wine Chocolate
Take a pint of Sherry, or a Pint and a half of red Port, four Ounces and a half of Chocolate, six Ounces of fine Sugar, and half an Ounce of white Starch or fine Flour; mix, dissolve, and boil all these as before. But, if your Chocolate be with Sugar, take double the Quantity of Chocolate, and half the Quantity of Sugar; and so in all. --The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary, John Nott, 1726

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Prinz travels the world sharing stories about chocolate, cultures and convictions. More about chocolate in the colonial period, along with historical and contemporary recipes, may be found in On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao.