This essay explores the early English encounter with chocolate, a beverage associated with New World and Spanish tastes, and popular among English recusants returned from Spanish service. In particular, it follows the career of Thomas Gage a Dominican priest who had spent considerable time in the Spanish New World before returning to England, where his account of travels in Spanish America helped ease his repatriation and religious reintegration. Gage's attention to New World food, especially the confection and consumption of the Indian drink chocolate, provided English readers with valuable information on the cultures of colonial Spanish America in the early seventeenth century. The Spanish lore transmitted to England by reconciled recusants became an abiding cultural concern of colonial promoters upon England's acquisition of cacao-producing Jamaica later in the century.

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