Archaeological discovery sheds light on Barcelona as a centre of chocolate production

by admin

Archaeologists have made a special discovery in Barcelona. During the rehabilitation works of a building in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona, they came across the remains of a chocolate factory from the nineteenth century.

The find – including lead moulds for chocolate wrappers – reveals new details about the industrial and cultural heritage of the Catalan capital. Barcelona appears to have been an important centre for its production.

From Gothic palace to chocolate factory

The archaeological excavations were carried out as part of an extensive restoration project at the Plaza de la Llana. These not only revealed the remains of the chocolate factory, but also the remains of a Gothic palace from the 14th century and an inn from the 15th century. The discoveries therefore provide insight into the different phases of the building’s life. It went from a luxurious residence to a commercial production site.

The owner of the factory was one Clemente Guardia. His factory appears to have been one of the most famous in Barcelona in the 19th century. The chocolate produced there was even exported to Spanish overseas territories. This fact is supported by the discovery of lead moulds with the name of the factory and several storage barrels and large tongs that indicate the industrial activities that took place there.

Cogesa Expats

Chocolate popularity in Sanje

The discovery in Ciutat Vella underlines Barcelona’s historic role in the popularisation and production of chocolate. In the 16th century, Spanish conquerors were the first Europeans to discover chocolate in Central America. The product quickly became popular in Spain, especially after the addition of sugar. In the 17th century, chocolate drink was a favourite among the Spanish elite. At the time, it was still unknown in the rest of Europe, partly due to the lack of access to the recipe and the necessary raw materials. According to an 18th century expression, “chocolate is to the Spanish what tea is to the English,” referring to the English love of tea, which also began in the 17th century.

chocolate fabric

Catalans’ love for chocolate

Chocolate was both drunk and eaten in Spain, and especially among the Catalans. In 1770, Xocolata Jolonch was founded in Agramut, near Barcelona. That is the oldest existing chocolate company in the world. A decade later, the first chocolate production machine was invented in Barcelona. That paved the way for the industrial production of chocolate. In the early 20th century, chocolate lost popularity in Spain in favor of coffee. Nevertheless, the historical connection with chocolate remains visible in Barcelona. One of the largest chocolate museums in Europe can be found in Barcelona.

A special heritage

The archaeological finds have now been documented. The remains are then transferred to the facilities of the ICUB (cultural institute) in the Zona Franca of Barcelona. Preservation of some elements on site is also being considered. This way, visitors and residents of Barcelona can come into direct contact with this piece of history.

Also read: Chocolate replica of Picasso´s Guernica

You may also like