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London: Chelsea Physic Gardens celebrates links with Jamaica and cocoa

Sloane's greatest discovery in Jamaica was cocoa. Having watched the locals mix it with water, Sloane introduced it to England for the first time, and pioneered the technique of adding milk - which is still used today. The original Jamaican milk chocolate recipe was first sold as a medicinal drink, for its 'lightness on the stomach and great use in all consumptive cases'. This was then acquired by Cadbury's, who sold it under Sloane's name from 1849 until 1885. Sir Hans Sloane's discovery had put the wheels in motion for the selling of commercialised chocolate, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Chelsea Physic Garden's ties with Sir Hans Sloane, after whom nearby Sloane Square is named, date back to 1722. In this year, he began the generous rental agreement which has allowed the garden to continue its existence - just £5 a year is paid to the Garden's landowner, now Earl Cadogan, for as long as the garden is used for the study of useful plants.
While Jamaica's tropical climate provides the perfect environment for lush vegetation and an abundance of tropical plants to thrive, these conditions are naturally difficult to replicate in the UK. However, the Chelsea Physic Garden's 'Provision Ground' is a beautifully crafted corner of Jamaica, right in the heart of London, and is well worth a visit. Over the next few months there will also be a series of special events taking place at Chelsea Physic Garden to celebrate the anniversary.
Saturday 16 October, 10am - 12 noon Free family chocolate tasting workshop - booking required - open to all ages
Monday 15 November, 6 - 8pm Lecture: Sloane at Home, in Bloomsbury and Chelsea - £10 per person (including a glass of wine)
For full details, see
For further information on travelling to Jamaica, see
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21 September 2010
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