When reading about Reims during the occupation at the start of the 1WW, I came across this account in the archives. “The provision of food for the civil population was of constant concern to the municipal administration, who created a committee to buy large quantities of basic necessities: meat, potatoes, sugar and chocolate.” Chocolate! – as a basic necessity! That surprised me! Even if chocolate has been part of the French diet for nearly 400 years after being introduced to the French court by Anne of Spain, when she married Louis XIII, I wouldn’t have thought it was a staple of the common man! Were ‘pains au chocolat’,drinking chocolate, chocolate based breakfast cereals and spreads already part of the ‘petit dejeuner quotidienne’? One site tells me that at the time of the French revolution breakfast was a cup of coffee or tea and at most some chocolate drowned in milk.

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