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Chocolate Unwrapped: Taste & Enjoy the World's Finest Chocolate Hardcover – October 7, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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About the Author

Sarah-Jane Evans is a wine and food writer, a founder of the Academy of Chocolate, and a Master of Wine. She writes for BBC Good Food, Decanter, and Olive.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pavilion; 1st edition (October 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862058598
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862058590
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,557,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As someone who likes to match up red wine (Cotes du Rhone) with dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids or more) I was intrigued to see that the wine critic of BBC Good Food magazine has published a book about chocolate. I should warn you that the word "chocolate" is used in the narrow sense here - if you like your "dairy milk" bars containing vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter, you've probably dialled the wrong number.

The book opens with a 50-page introduction into the history and production of chocolate, complete with a how-to guide to tasting. This is followed by an alphabetical compendium of some 80 brands of chocolate from around the world, from Akesson's to Zotter. Each gets two pages, and from each brand one bar, 70% or nearest offer, is marked up with flavour notes where the author's main job as a wine critic shines through.

The first part is well written and contains lots of interesting facts, both from food science and history. Chocolate feels smooth, for instance, only if the particle size is 30 micrometres or less. I also learned that more than half the world production of cocoa beans comes from just two countries, namely Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. And that the UK insisted on EU rules permitting up to 5% vegetable fat in "chocolate." Remember to read the list of ingredients before you buy any. The good news, though, is that the appreciation of real chocolate, made from fairly traded ingredients of well-defined origin, seems to be a growing trend around the world.

The list of chocolate brands is also surprisingly readable, thanks in part to the interesting mix of people who at some point of their life decide that their vocation is to produce chocolate.
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Format: Hardcover
The author, Sarah Jane Evans, is a journalist who is both a Master of Wine and a passionate advocate for fine chocolate (and a member of the UK's respected Academy of Chocolate). She has combined her journalistic flair with her tasting skills to produce a beautifully crafted and thoroughly researched book that will delight and educate lovers of fine chocolate the world over, as well as casting a bright light on the stars of this growing firmament. The book is split into two sections. The first, a mere sixty pages long, covers the story of chocolate, including its history, the journey from bean to bar, and how to taste fine chocolate. Despite the section's brevity it does not feel at all lightweight. Rather, the author has done a superb job in presenting a complex subject in a compact, accurate, informative and eminently readable manner. The second and much longer section of the book dedicates two pages to the leading 80 producers of fine chocolate bars around the world. A summary of each company is provided, with some comments on its range of products, ending with a detailed taste profile of that company's 70% bar (or nearest equivalent). No giants such as Cadbury's or Hershey are to be found in the top 80, which will not surprise anyone (NB: this is not to knock those companies; they are just in a different market), but larger companies such as Lindt, Godiva and Green & Blacks do make the cut, along with smaller but more well known names of the fine chocolate world such as Amedei, Valrhona, Domori , Pralus, and Michel Cluizel. Space is also found for rising stars (e.g. Amano, Theo, Ginger Elizabeth), and this includes chocolatiers who also produce a limited number of bars (such as Guido Gobino, Bernachon, Jean-Paul Hevin, William Curley, Paul A. Young, Artisan du Chocolate).Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Two sorts of readers should buy this book: those, like me, who have spent a good deal of time immersed in the world of chocolate and want a well crafted compendium for their bookshelf (equally for pleasure and reference); and those who are just entering that world, and seek a map of its landscape.

If you're among the latter, then you will find in these vividly illustrated, glossy pages all the information you need for a fuller appreciation of chocolate: where it comes from, how it is made, and how to taste it properly. What I like best about Evans's writing is that she manages to convey that fine chocolate should be appreciated like fine wine (her own area of expertise) without sounding pretentious -- she recognizes that her readers might want to become connoisseurs simply to enhance their own eating pleasure. My favorite moment comes when Evans is discussing the "fast method" for tasting chocolate ("look, listen, sniff"), and recommends learning how to do this in private, "without making it obvious to outsiders that one is doing a geeky tasting in one's head."

For the first group, the opening sixty pages will be a retelling of chocolate's history, geography, husbandry, ethics, and tasting guides. If there is such a thing as a chocolate studies canon, Evans bibliography captures it, and she has drawn heavily on the great chocolate writers: Sophie and Michael Coe (The True History of Chocolate), Joel Glenn Brenner (The Chocolate Wars; sold in the US as Emperors of Chocolate); Chloe Doutre-Roussel (The Chocolate Connoisseur); and Sara Jayne-Stanes (Chocolate: The Definitive Guide).
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