Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter Chocolates

Easter is so early this year it's nearly taken me by surprise! Except all the chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs and chocolate pastel-wrapped kisses everywhere I look sort of give it all away. Plus of course the upcoming long weekend to look forward to, yay! For me, Easter is not a religious holiday, unless you consider eating excessive amounts of chocolate a religious experience. So in preparation for my favourite part of Easter, here is a list of some books dealing with chocolate.

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / Roald Dahl

You've got to love Willy Wonka, and admit it, don't you sometimes wonder when you unwrap a chocolate bar what it would be like to find a golden ticket? I enjoy Dahl's sarcastic sense of humour, but you can always watch the film too - I recommend the newer one as I find Gene Wilder kind of creepy in the original.

2. Chocolat / Joanne Harris

Something a little more adult. The book is a lovely read from an author who writes food and sensuality so well. A chocolatier and her daughter move to a small, moribund town in France where they proceed to open a chocolate shop during Lent. Very seasonal! I prefer the book to the movie despite some of my favourite actors (Juliette Binoche, Alfred Molina, Johnny Depp) appearing in the film.

3. Like Water for Chocolate / Laura Esquivel

Another film! What is with this cinematic fixation with chocolate? Although this book is only about chocolate insofar as it is included in the title, it's a sensual read with recipes which use chocolate. A Mexican family of sisters experience passion as their longings boil up 'like water for chocolate'.

4. The Discovery of Chocolate / James Runcie

No movie here (that I know of). This is a short novel about a Spanish man, Diego de Godoy, who goes to the New World in 1518 in search of riches, and finds a lover and nearly-eternal life through a magical cocoa elixir instead. The rest of the book deals with his return to Spain, then his movements through an extremely long life (he ages 1 year for every 10 which pass) as he wanders throughout Europe and the world accompanied only by his dog Pedro -- who also drank some elixir so long ago. He meets up with people like Sacher, Hershey, and Fry. Interesting, even if I did prefer the dog to the man!

5. Daalder's Chocolates / Philibert Schogt

A Dutch book I received via Bookmooch, this one deals with an artisinal chocolatier who emigrates from Europe to Toronto and opens a gourmet chocolate shop. Initially successful, after many years the shop is being put out of business by MegaDeli, an American chain which has just moved in next door. The main character Joop Daalder is a crusty perfectionist, but his very characteristics make this book even more worth the read. He struggles for quality and individual creation in the face of mass-market Everything.


  1. Nice way to celebrate Easter!

    Happy Easter!

  2. The Greek term theobroma (Latin name for cacao) means literally food of the gods. Chocolate has also been called the food of the devil, but the theological basis of this claim is obscure.

    Nice Post Anyway

    "I love chocolate. Have you ever seen a chocolate
    fountain? It is wonderful! Check this out.."

  3. Interesting point, Alex! Theobroma. Love it.


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