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Norwich Connecticut Is Home To America’s First Chocolate Mill

Did you know the country’s first chocolate and paper mill was in Norwich, Connecticut? Board President of Leffingwell House Museum Dayne Rugh joined me to talk about the 345 year old history of this wonderful place that is so important to the town.

Rugh writes:

“When Christopher Leffingwell inherited the Leffingwell Inn in 1756, he greatly expanded his own business interests over the following decade. Mr. Leffingwell earned the distinction of establishing Connecticut’s first paper mill in 1766 as well as Connecticut’s first chocolate mill in 1770. This makes Christopher Leffingwell Connecticut’s first and original chocolatier! The mill would have existed near the present-day Yantic Falls at the Uncas Leap Heritage Area. Such an exotic and tasty treat would have been quite enticing for local Norwich residents and was a perfect alternative when colonists began to abandon drinking British tea in the years leading up to the American Revolution.”Christopher Leffingwell managed several different types of businesses, including the chocolate mill throughout his life; because of his access and ownership of vessels engaging in coastal and international trade, Christopher had the ability to import cacao from the tropics where it would be processed and transformed into chocolate.

If you want to try making your own 1779-style hot cocoa, give it a try with the recipe below!