Stories|Part of Inside Our Collections

From cacao to chocolate

We know it’s sweet, unctuous and addictive, but there’s more to chocolate than meets the eye. Julia Nurse explores the transformation from cacao bean to confectionery, which was only possible with the help of the knowledge of enslaved people on New World plantations where the cacao tree was grown.

Words by Julia Nurse

  • In pictures

About the author

Black and white photograph of Julia Nurse, a white woman with brown hair, smiling. She wears an animal-print dress and the corners of paintings are visible in the background.

Julia Nurse


Julia is a collections research specialist at Wellcome Collection with a background in Art History and Museum Studies. She currently runs the Exploring Research programme, and has a particular interest in the medieval and early modern periods, especially the interaction of medicine, science and art within print culture.