[Sca-cooks] 16th C Molinillo (chocolate stirring stick) found inSt. Augustine, FL

t.d.decker at att.net t.d.decker at att.net
Wed Dec 30 06:24:34 PST 2009

San Augustine was established 28 August 1565, so that is the earliest date possible.

The molinillo was found in a well, which reduces the possibility of it being an intrusive artifact, but I see no information about how it's deposition was dated.  It was also not found in conjunction with other artifacts of cocoa use, therefore it can not be decisively stated that it was used for preparing cocoa in this context.

However, it is a fascinating find.

> From the Trimaris list: 
> <<< Interesting article on chocolate in St Augustine in period! 
> http://staugustine.com/news/local-news/2009-12-28/sweet-discovery >>> 
> Among other comments in the article: 
> "That humble whisk -- known as a molinillo -- is a big deal to 
> archaeologists because it proves that chocolate dates back at least to 
> the 1500s in St. Augustine." 
> "Special pots of brass and similar metals were made to serve the 
> drink. The pots were fitted with a top and there was a hole for the 
> molinillo. 
> The Spanish kept their new-found treat, which also was noted for 
> giving a burst of energy, to themselves for almost 100 years, 
> according to historians. 
> During that time the English would seize the Spanish treasure ships 
> coming from the New World and take their cargos. They knew what to do 
> with the gold, but sometimes they would find these odd, bitter seeds. 
> No one knew what to make of them, and they were dismissed as trash, 
> possibly rabbit droppings, according to one source. 
> Eventually the chocolate secret did get out, and by the 1600s, 
> chocolate -- or, rather, the chocolate drink -- became popular. 
> In France no one but the aristocracy was allowed to drink it, while in 
> England, if you had the price of a drink, the chocolate brew was 
> yours. In 1657 the first chocolate house opened in London, and it 
> became a place to socialize, talk and gamble." 
> So, it appears that the English could've had chocolate sooner, if 
> they'd realized what they had. 
> Stefan 

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