Historic Royal Palaces to reveal 300-year-old Chocolate Kitchen at Hampton Court Palace

By Culture24 Reporter | 13 January 2014

A culinary chamber of Hampton Court Palace, known as the Chocolate Kitchen, will reopen on Valentine's Day

A photo of a man in Georgian cooking whites carrying out a demonstration in a kitchen
The chocolate-making rooms at Hampton Court Palace are to open to the public for the first time in 300 years© Yves Salmon
Chocolate might seem a hidden extravagance in the fables of Georgian times. But King George I’s personal chocolatier, Thomas Tosier, excelled in the chocolate kitchen within the Fountain Court, even preparing a special chocolate drink for the hoi polloi to enjoy during the dinners and events of the 18th century.

“Chocolate was an expensive luxury,” says curator Polly Putnam, calling the country’s only surviving royal chocolate kitchen “a below stairs story like no other.”

“Having your own chocolate maker, chocolate kitchen and chocolate room filled with precious porcelain and silver - all this, just for chocolate - was the last word in elegance and decadence.

“It was really something that only kings and queens could afford, and is a real contrast with all the pies and meat we associate with the Tudor Kitchens at Hampton court.”

The kitchen also catered for the sweet-toothed fancies of William III and George II, but its precise location has only been revealed by recent research. Its lengthy subsequent service as a storeroom has kept it “remarkably well” protected – the original stove, furniture, equipment and fittings will be visible when it opens to the public next month, dressed with new ceramics, copper cooking equipment and silverware from the time.

Best of all, live Georgian chocolate-making sessions are expected to take place throughout the year, revealing a complex process within the historical context of the rooms Queen Caroline once dined in.

  • Opens February 14 2014.

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A close up photo of various cooking implements filled with cocoa beans on a table
© Yves Salmon
A close up photo of various cooking implements filled with cocoa beans on a table
© Yves Salmon
A close up photo of various cooking implements filled with cocoa beans on a table
© Yves Salmon
A photo of a man in Georgian chef whites carrying out a chocolate demonstration
© Yves Salmon
A close up photo of a small silver cooking pot being operated on a wooden table
© Yves Salmon
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