Image from the cycle *The Farmer’s Year*, gouache, 3rd quarter of 18th century

Worlds of Delight

Bitter and Sweet Delicacies from Near and Far

1500–1739

The ‘discovery’ and colonization of America brought new delicacies like chocolate, sugar and tobacco to Europe, where they first appeared in the ports and capital cities of the colonial powers. Tea and coffee were imported from parts of Asia and Arabia respectively. Whereas wine and hops – and later tobacco – could be cultivated in Europe, where they could be produced cheaply and hence afforded by large sections of the population, it continued to be necessary to import coffee and teas from warmer zones, so that they were regarded as luxuries – prestigious items that could be afforded only by the members of the Court, the aristocracy and the upper middle-class. Some of these products were also appreciated for their medicinal properties.

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