A Brief History of Chocolate is a short ebook, taken from the larger book The Great British Tuck Shop. I must admit it was the cover that drew me in, I love it, especially the little price tag. The book is just under 100 pages long but it’s still a worthy short but sweet read.
The chapters are divided by different sections, from the beginning of the chocolate industry to the different ways bars were branded over the years to chocolates in bags (à la Buttons), to chocolate biscuit bars (Twix), teatime treats (Kit Kats) and chocolate boxes (like Milk Tray). In each chapter, the authors set about what bars and companies started these different trends and then how other companies tried to hit back, telling us what was successful and what wasn’t. One of my favourite facts upon reading this was that Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bar was originally called Highland Milk, before being changed to Dairy Maid and finally settling on Dairy Milk.
The book is quite witty in places, I liked the sentence ‘Little by little, chocolate revealed its versatility; as a gift for a loved one; a reward for an obedient child; or an amuse-bouche at the ambassador’s receptions’. It is also packed full of pictures of no longer in production bars as well as showing how some brands updated their packaging over the years. I will say that some of what was mentioned went a bit over my head, I just a bit too young to remember Ice Breaker or when Snickers was Marathon. It reminds of a small, chocolate book version of The Museum of Brands and Packaging! I would have liked it to go a bit beyond the late 80s/early 90s. Like when they mention Kit Kat, they could have mentioned Kit Kat Chunky or something.
Overall though I did enjoy it, there was plenty of interesting facts and I managed to read it in less than an hour. If you’re looking for a short fun nostalgic read, you can get this on Amazon for Kindle for only £1.99.
Copy obtained from Net Galley