From Publishers Weekly
Did the Aztecs discover chocolate? Do the Swiss make the world's best chocolate? Is Godiva chocolate worth its price? No, no and no, according to Francophilic foodie Rosenblum (Olives
). Although he'd always considered himself a "chocolate ignoramus," after attending a fancy Parisian chocolate tasting he immerses himself in the world of professional chocolatiers. He researches texts on the history of chocolate for amusing anecdotes, but his forte is his knack for going out in the field and talking with the masters. Rosenblum lets the artists teach him how great chocolate is made and how to appreciate its qualities. He travels from the cacao growing fields of Ivory Coast to the kitchens of some of Mexico's finest chefs, from the refined workshops of Paris to the factories of Hershey, Pa. As he discovers, chocolates—candy bars, chocolate mints—are basically an industrial product, containing little cacao and unworthy of serious culinary interest. Real chocolate, however, like fine wine, can be absolutely sublime. Artisans who carefully select their cacao beans and process those beans with painstaking attention can craft exquisite chocolate with extremely complex aromas and flavors. Rosenblum's chatty book, which lacks an index or endnotes, may disappoint food researchers. But for that vast world of chocolate-lovers who'd like a book between their bars, this bonbon is sure to please. Line drawings.
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Rosenblum trades the focus of his James Beard award-winning Olives
for a newer, sweeter obsession. His experience as a newspaperman (Rosenblum is the former editor for the International Herald Tribune
and a former Associated Press reporter) bears fruit in the strong source material he tracks down in far-flung locales. If his prose is weakened by newsroom clichés, it is at least “clean and consistent” enough to tell a satisfying story (Newsday
). Like any devotee, Rosenblum has his favorites, and while the critics concede that French chocolate may be the best, many are put off by the author’s blind devotion to it. Like its subject matter, Chocolate
is a book that aims to please, and should drive anyone with a sweet tooth into the candy shop.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.