Archive for October, 2009

Books about chocolate

Adult non-fiction

All About Chocolate by Carole Bloom
The essential volume, including facts, fictions, festivals, recipes, and resources on the treat that drives many to obsession. All About Chocolate is the ultimate compendium of information to indulge the cravings of true fanatics.

The Book of Chocolate, edited by Nathalie Bailleux
Sumptuous photographs and illustrations of chocolate in all its tempting variations alone make this book truly delicious.  Covering everything from the cultivation of the cocoa bean to chocolate’s role in history, there is also a detailed connoisseur’s guide listing chocolatiers, museums, associations and clubs

Sweet Dreams: The Story of Green & Black’s by Craig Sams & Josephine Fairley
Green & Black’s was launched by Craig Sams and his wife Josephine Fairley in 1991. In this book the couple tell their story, revealing how their first taste of 70% organic chocolate inspired them to set up the company on a shoestring and go on to turn it into an internationally renowned, award-winning brand and multi-million pound business.

Indulgence: Around the World in Search of Chocolate by Paul Richardson
Paul Richardson travels the world to find out the history of chocolate. It is a journey that takes him from the cacao groves of Mexico and Venezuela to the chocolatiers of Paris and Zurich, to Britain and America, and the homes of Cadbury and Hershey.

The True History of Chocolate by Sophie Coe & Michael Coe
A study of the fascinating history of chocolate, beautifully told, and enhanced with quotations, illustrations and old recipes.

Cadbury’s Purple Reign: The Story behind chocolate’s best loved brand by John Bradley
Illustrated with fact, anecdote and beautiful images from previously archived material, this book provides the reader with an unprecedented insight into one of the world’s most iconic brands and the rise of consumerism.
Discover how Cadbury was at the forefront of many of the developments which facilitated the rise of mass markets and how the company harnessed the potential of its workforce to create the most effectively run company in Britain.

The Chocolate Tree: A Natural History of Cacao by Allen M Young
A rich concoction of cultural and natural history, archaeological evidence, botanical research, and environmental activism, “The Chocolate Tree” offers an appreciation of the plant and the environment that provide us with this Mayan “food of the gods” and gives a fascinating overview of one of the world’s most intriguing commodities: chocolate.

The Chocolate Connoisseur: For Everyone with a Passion for Chocolate by Chloe Doutre-Roussel
As a child growing up in Mexico the author loved chocolate, and now devotes her working life to researching, tasting and sourcing the finest chocolate from all over the world. In The Chocolate Connoisseur, she reveals the secrets of what chocolate to eat, when to eat it, how to eat it, and most importantly, how to overcome the idea that chocolate is an indulgence.

Adult Fiction:

The Chocolate Lover’s Club by Carole Matthews
The Chocolate Lover’s Club brings together four very different women with one thing in common: they can’t resist chocolate. Together they form The Chocolate Lovers’ Club and meet in their sanctuary, Chocolate Heaven, as often as they can.  With a cheating boyfriend who promises he’ll change, a flirtatious boss, a gambling husband and a loveless marriage, there’s always plenty to discuss!

Chocolat by Joanne Harris
A wickedly delicious, mouth-watering and alluring tale of a woman, Vianne Rocher and her six year old daughter, Anouk, who arrive one day in a small tightly-knit French village and open the most luxuriant chocolate shop, crammed with the most tempting of confections and hot chocolate drinks.  It’s Lent, the shop is opposite the church, it’s open on Sundays and the austere parish priest is enraged.  A heart warming tale of love and temptation.

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
The number one bestseller in Mexico and America for almost two years, and subsequently a bestseller around the world, Like Water For Chocolate is a romantic and poignant tale infused with moments of magic, graphic earthiness and bittersweet wit.  It also includes some wonderful recipes.

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The headmaster of Trinity College asks Archie Costello, the leader of the Vigils, a secret society that rules the school, to help with the selling of 20,000 boxes of chocolates in the annual fund-raising effort. Archie sees the chance of adding to his power. Freshman, Jerry Renault, a newcomer to the corrupt regime, refuses to sell chocolates. Enormous mental and physical pressure is put on him but he will not give in – the result is an inevitable, explosive tragedy.
A suitable novel for older, teenage children too.

Non-fiction for Children and Families:

T’riffic Chocolate by Alan MacDonald
The history of the beautiful bean from the Aztecs to Aeromodern day! This sparky little book in The Knowledge series takes one of the world’s best-loved foods and dissects the facts and fiction surrounding the discovery and development of chocolate.  A must read for any chocolate lover wanting to know more about their favourite food.

The Story of Chocolate (DK Readers) by Caryn J Polin
From the Aztecs and cocoa beans to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory – encourage your child to discover the story behind their favourite treat. DK Readers at Level 3 have a fifty-fifty ratio between pictures and text to help encourage your child to develop reading confidence quickly and easily and then go on to read more!

Chocolate: Riches from the Rainforest by Robert Burleigh
Packed with fun facts and lavish colour photographs this book provides a history of chocolate aimed at middle to older readers.

From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate by Robin Nelson
Covers the entire chocolate making process from planting a cocoa tree to eating a delicious piece of chocolate

Smart about Chocolate: A Sweet History by Sandra Markle
Part of the kid-friendly Smart About series.  Children will learn about the history and personality that brought chocolate to where it is today.

Fiction for Children and Families:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Classic tale for middle and older readers about a boy’s adventures in Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory.

Percy’s Chocolate Crunch and Other Thomas the Tank Engine Stories
A collection of stories about Percy, Harold the Helicopter, and other friends of Thomas the tank engine.

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
John Midas loves chocolate.  He thinks chocolate is better than any other food.  But one day John finds out that there just might be such a thing as too much chocolate…
First published in 1952 this book is a twist on the children’s classic fable ‘King Midas and the Golden Touch’.  It offers older readers (8yrs +) a humorous and adventurous read.

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Chocolate tasting

Chocolate tasting

Of course, the cocoa beans themselves and how varying amounts of cocoa solids are combined with other ingredients (such as sugar and milk for example) have a big role to play when it comes to how the chocolate we know and love tastes.

We’re all unique too, so your own tasting experience will be yours alone.  You might love a particular flavour, combination of flavours or particular texture that another person dislikes.  The fun lies in discovering these differences.

Chocolate can differ in all sorts of ways; for example, appearance, texture, intensity of colour, aroma, although chocolate doesn’t have the same level of flavour complexity as wine.  But, chocolate tasting, like wine tasting, tends to be considered a little hi-brow, something best confined to specialist, artisan chocolates.

So we’ve put together some tips and ideas to help you get more enjoyment from chocolate and to demonstrate that chocolate tasting can be fun for all.

Hosting a chocolate tasting party can be a fun way of getting together with friends and sharing and contrasting your experience

How chocolate is made??

How chocolate is made??

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Cocoa beans come from cocoa pods that grow on cocoa trees – simple! The cocoa tree, (real name Theobroma Cacao), grows in warm, humid places near the Equator.

There’s got to be guaranteed rainfall and fertile soil for it to thrive, and Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Brazil, and Nigeria are all perfect – production’s increasing in Malaysia too.

A cocoa tree looks a bit like an apple tree but has broader, rich green leaves. It flowers and fruits all year round, and produces large cocoa pods that sprout from tree trunks and main branches. There’s not that many of them though – each tree only has 20-30 pods a year. Take a look inside the pods and you’d see 30-40 seeds sitting in a sweet white pulp rather like cotton wool – these are the cocoa beans.  And no wonder cocoa is precious; it takes a whole year’s crop from one tree to make 454 grammes (1lb) of cocoa.

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Different trees, different cocoa

There are three main types of cocoa: Forastero, Criollo and Trinitario – this last one is a cross between the first two.

Forastero is widely grown – it’s a hardy tree producing the strongest flavour beans. And within Forastero, a variety called Amelonado is most popular, largely grown in West Africa and Brazil.

Criollo trees aren’t as tough as Forastero. Its beans have a milder chocolate flavour and a unique aroma. They’re grown in Central and South American and Indonesia.

Trinitario isn’t found in the wild, but is grown in the Caribbean as well as in Cameroon and Papua New Guinea.

Cadbury get their cocoa from Ghana in West Africa, where the main harvesting period is October to December. When they’re ripe, the cocoa pods turn a rich golden colour. They’re cut down from the trees and split open, and the pulp and beans are removed from the outside husk.

To get a good chocolate flavour, the beans then have to be fermented. There are two main methods: Heap and Box. In West Africa the Heap method is used. The cocoa beans are piled up on a layer of banana tree leaves, with more leaves on top to cover them. Then they’re left for five or six days to ferment – this when much of the chocolate flavour develops. The pulp around the beans becomes liquid and drains away.

Next the wet beans are dried in the sun and turned frequently so they dry evenly – this is crucial because if any beans are still wet, they’ll go mouldy when they’re stored. Once the farmers are happy that the beans are dry, they’re taken to buying stations, where the beans are weighed and packed into sacks.

The Box method is used in the West Indies, Latin America and in Malaysia, and you tend to find it in large plantations. Over a tonne of beans is put in to a wooden box which has gaps in the base for air to get in and liquid to drain out. The boxes are covered in banana leaves and stored in a building for 6-8 days. They’re mixed a couple of times during this process, and then special equipment is used to dry them.

love chocolate

Love chocolate

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Have you got a love for chocolate?  Then you will love this section!  Indulge your passion and discover how to get more enjoyment from chocolate.

Tantalise your taste buds and find out about chocolate tasting the  way or take your love of chocolate to new heights and discover more about the subtle differences between different types of chocolate as well as ideas, suggestions and resources to help you get more enjoyment from chocolate.

Do you like to enjoy your favourite chocolate brand in a particular way?  In our How do you eat yours? section you can discover some of the weird and wonderful ways people choose to savour and eat their favourite chocolate, share your own experiences and find out how the people who make Cadbury chocolates eat theirs.

If you simply cannot get enough of all things chocolate, dip into our World of Chocolate and discover even more about this wonderful substance.  Marvel at chocolate art and sculpture and even wearable chocolate apparel and jewellery – you’ll be amazed by what you can do with chocolate and how chocolate has inspired festivals, films, literature and much more.

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