1662: The Italian cardinal Francesco Maria Brancaccio confirms after years of long discussions that it was permissible for Catholics to consume chocolate during the 40 days of Lent, but only as a drink and not in its solid shape, neither processed in cakes or as pastilles.
1671: The duke of Plessis-Pralin – one of the ambassadors serving Louis XIII – was competing with the Bordelais, who undermined the King’s authority. In one of his sly moods, he came upon the idea of inventing a candy that would distract the rebels of Bordelais. He proposed this idea to his chef Lassagne, who – by coincidence – had seen one of his sous-chefs enrobing an almond in some spoiled bits of sugar. The idea of the praline was born. It still would take a long time though before the real praline – covered with chocolate – was invented.
A threat to cocoa
In the 17th century, the cocoa plantations became over-cultivated which exhausted the soil. On the other hand, the colonials had spread diseases and epidemics that struck the local population in a dramatic way. Hundreds of thousands of people died: local workers became scarce and the Spanish couldn’t find enough men to take care of the thousands of cocoa plantations. At that point, the success of cocoa threatened to destroy its own future