'Las cosas claras y el chocolate espeso.'
'Ideas should be clear and chocolate thick.' Spanish proverb
George Cadbury came from a Quaker family in Edgbaston near Birmingham. His father John was a dealer in tea and coffee who died young, as did his mother Candia, and George and his brother Richard took charge of the family business when they were both in their early 20s. One of the basic tenets of Quakerism is refusal to swear an oath and this meant that until the twentieth century many of the professions were closed to them. Their pacifist beliefs obviously also precluded a career in the armed forces so Quakers often went into business; they became bankers - Barclays; they made biscuits - Huntley and Palmers and Carrs; they made shoes - Clarks; and most famously they made chocolate - Cadburys, Rowntrees and Terrys. Their principles of truthfulness and fair dealing often made them very successful and sometimes very unpopular with their fellow business men.
Cadburys was the first company to sell cocoa powder in UK. George Cadbury - a staunch teetotaller marketed the powder as a healthy and comforting alternative to alcohol. The advert below says it is also 'strengthening and flesh forming'... hmmm.
Perhaps the Cadbury brothers greatest achievement however, was the model village they created for their employees at Bournville. Here all the houses were built with gardens, there were parks, schools, communal wash houses, reading rooms and a hospital - but of course no pub! Cadburys provided pensions for their employees (George put much of his personal fortune into the pension fund) and were one of the first companies to give employees a half day off on Saturdays.
I was amazed to find that cottages in Bournville where women lived alone were protected by a night watchman, one of whose responsibilities was to light a fire there every afternoon so the house was warm on their return from the factory. This all sounds very paternalistic to us twenty first century sophisticates, but I think if you were a hard working woman of the nineteenth century you would have valued that fire enormously.
Outside the business George was a stalwart of the community, a local Councillor, strong opponent of the Boer War and the First World War, a campaigner for old age pensions for all and a teacher at the local Adult Education Institute. An all round good egg in fact - I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere..
I don’t make brownies often - too flesh forming, but this is the recipe I use. Unlike most brownie recipes it uses cocoa not chocolate. I've halved the original recipe which is from 'Real Chocolate' by Chantal Cody.
70g unsweetened cocoa powder
340g caster sugar
125g plain flour
1tsp vanilla essence
100g raspberries or walnuts or blackberries
Oven at 180c, a shallow baking tray about 8”x12” (I used my swiss roll tin)
Line the baking tin with baking parchment. Melt the butter with the cocoa, cool a bit. Whisk the eggs until light and frothy and add the sugar then whisk some more. Now add the vanilla and the flour. Pour in the cooled cocoa mix and fold in gently with the nuts or fruit. Pour into the tray and bake for 30 minutes until just springy to the touch. The skewer test doesn’t work here, you want them fudgy in the middle. Cut into squares while still warm. I often make a stencil and sprinkle with cocoa and icing sugar.