From medicine to a much-loved treat: the unusual journey of flavoured milks

From medicine to a much-loved treat: the unusual journey of flavoured milks

Flavoured milk: it’s one of the tastiest ways to consume your dairy. But where did this delicious delicacy come from you ask? To pay homage to flavoured milk, this blog is dedicated to what you’ll find is an often unusual journey – from debates on whether Irish physician, Hans Sloane, truly was the first to stumble upon chocolate milk during his 15-month voyage to Jamaica in the early 18th century, to the first homegrown cultivations of strawberries in Middle Aged France.


Chocolate milk has been around for a while but there is much debate among historians over who gets credit for its invention or ‘discovery’. The Natural History Museum lists Irish physician, naturalist and collector, Sir Hans Sloane, as the inventor of chocolate milk. During his time in early 18th century Jamaica, the local people gave him cocoa to drink which, according to the museum, he found “nauseous”, making it more “palatable” “by mixing it with milk”.


Upon Sloane’s return, he brought the milk and cocoa mix with him. A far cry from its enjoyment as a treat now, it was sold as medicine for many years in the 18th century! Historian James Delbougo disputes Sloane’s accreditation for chocolate milk’s invention, evidencing how Jamaicans were brewing “a hot beverage brewed from shavings of freshly harvested cocoa, boiled with milk and cinnamon” as far back as 1494. What’s more, ancient Mesoamerican civilisations were mixing cacao beans with other ingredients thousands of years back – albeit with the absence of milk, instead creating a frothy chocolate drink with water, vanilla, chili peppers and other spices.


With that in mind, it’s hard to imagine that Sir Hans Sloane was the first to sample the delicious flavour of chocolate milk – and the same goes must go for strawberry milk, right?


It’s not so straightforward, with the origins of strawberry milk unfortunately (and mysteriously!) unclear, and it is still thought to be a recent development in the world of dairy. Although the first mass-produced strawberry milk can be traced back to Nestle’s launch of Strawberry Nestle Quik in the USA in 1968, there’s little record of its first personal consumption.


Interestingly, the strawberry has a much shorter history than chocolate: historians place its initial discovery in ancient Rome in 234BC. Yet, like chocolate, its first uses were in the medicinal arena. The story then halts for over a thousand years before mentions of strawberries crop up again with the French first taking the wild strawberry from the forest to their gardens – it appears that French King Charles V was a big strawberry fan, with evidence of him having over 1200 strawberry plants in his royal garden. It was only from the 1600s that references to cultivating the strawberry became more commonplace in Europe and, again, it tended to be for medicinal purposes. So, when do you think strawberry milk was first drank?


Fast forward hundreds more years and you can now enjoy the pleasure of strawberries – and the delicious concoction that is strawberry milk – easily. However, our greengrocer partner supplies certainly attest that not every strawberry is created equally. The care of local farmers makes a big difference with the quality and freshness of your strawberries . After all, berries are naturally the quickest fruit to spoil and should always be stored in the refrigerator for maximum freshness. The same goes for our scrumptious strawberry milk. Straight from your doorstep, make sure to pop it in the fridge to keep this sweet creamy milk fresh and chilled.


Now you know a little more about the origins of flavoured milk, why not explore our tempting range that includes strawberry, chocolate, banana and more?  Simply click here to add Creamline-produced flavoured milk to your next order and enjoy the taste of fresh cows’ milk from local farms combined with your favourite fruits.

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