Cuban chocolate is a very high standard chocolate that is widely used in Canada by professional bakers. The first cocoa plantations in Cuba were started by France in the 1650s in the Guantanamo region. As of today, this region in southeast Cuba is the same area where the majority of cocoa farming still occurs. Most of it is used for export.
Milton Hershey first visited Cuba in January 1916. He reportedly fell in love with the country at first sight. Hershey was excited by the huge sugar plantations in Cuba. In 1916 the world was battling in the Great War, and sugar, essential to milk chocolate production, was in short supply. During his first visit to Cuba, Milton Hershey decided to purchase sugar plantations and mills so that he could mill and refine his own sugar for use in his Hershey Chocolate Factory.
Museum of Chocolate
When you travel to Cuba, be sure to visit one of my favorite mini-museums: the tiny Museum of Chocolate in Old Havana. It offers a tour through the history of cacao, its harvesting, production and commercialization. Panels placed in the museum’s rooms exhibit texts with the history of chocolate from its discovery by the Spaniards in America. It was used by the native population before colonization. The display also has posters showing famous foreign and Cuban industries and enterprises related to chocolate.
Cuban Chocolate Art
The permanent exhibition presents a collection of china cups for chocolate, from the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy. There are many examples of a variety of domestic and religious designs from the 18th and 19th centuries. You can view a French bow cup used by men to drink the delicious liquid without wetting their moustaches. Bakelite molds and containers donated by the Royal Museum of the Real Square in Brussels enrich this collection. There are also ceramic chocolate cups, pots, containers and large English bowls found in archeological excavations in Old Havana.
Cuban Chocolate Munchies
Visitors can view demonstrations of techniques to manufacture candies, every Tuesday and Friday at 11:00am. The museum was once the home of the Count of Lagunilla. It was the starting point of the procession of the Holy Way of the Cross and now offers a journey through the history of cocoa cultivation, production and marketing. The Museum of Chocolate is located on Mercaderes Street, just a three-minute walk south from the Hotel Ambos Mundos.