History of the chocolate production and process in Germany
Chocolate arrived in Germany at the beginning of the 17th century. At that time, chocolate was already more or less common in other European countries. The state of Germany we know today was not united at that time. Instead there were lots of independent countries.
First chocolate has been distributed as medicine or tonic in pharmacies. One of the first evidenced offer of chocolate as a consumer good was the drinking chocolate at the 1673 founded coffee shop of the Dutch Jan Jatz in Bremen.
Chocolate was considered as a luxury good. Therefore, the dues and tariffs were very high. In consequence of the high prices, chocolate was reserved for aristocracy and affluent consumers. During the 18th century, the price for chocolate remained very high due to a high tax policy in order to decrease cocoa import.
Many important German personalities loved chocolate. Among them Frederick the Great, king of Prussia or the famous poets Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller were known as chocolate connoisseurs.
1765 is considered as the beginning of the chocolate industry in Germany. Prince Wilhelm von der Lippe built the first chocolate factory in Steinhude, region Hannover, county of Niedersachsen although the term “factory” should not be taken literally. The chocolate has been produced by hand. The workers were specially hired for this purpose in Portugal, because they had much more experience in chocolate craftsmanship.
In Prussian Berlin, chocolate was not as popular as in the bordering countries and only considered as an expensive tonic. At the beginning of the 19th century in Dresden and Leipzig chocolate was very popular. 1821 the first confectionery with chocolate manufacture opened in Leipzig. 1835 the confectionery was expanded by a café were the aristocracy and the affluent people met and adapted the fashion of the French, the Italian and the Spanish. The decrease and in some cases the elimination of the tariffs on cocoa promoted the growth of chocolate sale in many German countries. At that time the manufactures were the dominant production method. The confectioners’ craftsmanship practiced the profession of the “Chocolatier”. Due to that until today, this profession is still a part of the confectioners’ qualification and not a specific apprenticeship as in other countries.
With the beginning of industrialization the usage of machines in the chocolate producion increased. One of the first chocolate factories who used steam engines in the production process was the 1804 founded factory J.F. Miethe in Halle/Saale, county of Sachsen-Anhalt. Chocolate produced that way was called “Steam-Chocolate”. The elimination of internal tariffs promoted industrialization in Germany. In the course of this development, many chocolate factories were founded, many of them in Dresden, county of Sachsen.
In the second half of the 19th century, after the unification of Germany as a result of the German-French-War 187ß-1871, the cultivation of sugar beets which replaced the former expensive import of sugar and the economic boom, the chocolate branch increased. At the end of the 19th century Germany a consumer society raised and the transformation of chocolate from a tonic to a luxury food was completed. With that transformation the assortment of chocolate products became larger.