Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga

When you appreciate the history of chocolate and the effort that goes into making good quality chocolate, you’ll enjoy it even more. Mort Rosenblum, author of Chocolate: A Bittersweet of Dark and Light, admits he was previously a “chocolate ignoramus,” but he helps you develop your own chocolate knowledge. In this book, the finest chocolates are tasted and described, and much-loved chocolates are discussed.

Throughout the years, chocolatiers have been perfecting their art, and the author had the privilege to talk chocolate with many people in the business – makers of chocolate, chocolate artisans, even a chocolate taster who keeps her home at 15 degrees Celsius to protect her chocolate. All the while, he’s tasting chocolate, seeing workrooms, and discussing chocolate basics and beliefs. He’s seeing how it’s all being made. But he investigates further. Rosenblum, who also wrote Olives, researched the past, too. Chocolate has a rather interesting history. Once made in nunneries and monasteries, it was a sacred drink of the Mayans; the beans were even used as military payroll by the Aztecs.

There has been hostility in the chocolate world, and Rosenblum delves into the struggles between candy giants Mars and Hershey. He visits a cacao plantation and learned what farmers earn, the exploitation workers have suffered, and the effect war has on the business. Today, cosmetic companies vie for chocolate, too, and the author discusses a European Union ruling some are saying might “kill chocolate”. He also reports on many chocolate studies. Scientists have been studying and trying to comprehend chocolate for many years, and it’s interesting to read what the evidence suggests.

Pursuing chocolate, the author travels to Mexico and samples mole (chicken and chocolate). He tours plants and mills and talks to a chocolate grinder. He visits Hershey, Pennsylvania, and finds out the roots and evolution of this chocolate society. He talks to French masters and discovers Valrhona in France- makers of one of the finest chocolates. He travels to Belgium, New York, California and Britain and buys chocolates. He finds good chocolate all over the world. Good chocolate stories thrive, too – stories that enlighten, such as the Godiva chapter, and stories that stir up cravings, such as the Nutella story.

Taste chocolate again after reading this book! To win a free copy, be the seventh person to email [email protected] with the name of your favourite brand of chocolate.