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Indulgence: One Man's Selfless Search for the Best Chocolate in the World Paperback – April 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Perhaps no other edible substance is so fraught with meaning as chocolate, a food that conjures up memories of childhood and feelings of bliss. For the average consumer who gets a fix from Hershey or Snickers, Richardson’s exploration of chocolate’s historical, cultural, gastronomic and even political impact will be nothing short of eye-opening. He begins his travelogue in Mexico, with a study of the harvesting and production of cacao beans, which come from the Theobroma Cacao ("chocolate tree"). While journeying through such countries as Venezuela, Spain, France, Italy, the U.K., and the U.S., Richardson observes the manner in which people enjoy their chocolate and concludes that it is directly tied to culture: hot chocolate drinks abound in Spain and, in France, artisan chocolatiers produce sublime truffles and other treats. Artisinal chocolate is a far cry from the sweet milk chocolate confections favored in the United States and Britain. Of the Cadbury eggs that are ubiquitous during Easter, Richardson remarks: "To eat a whole Creme Egg...is to feel sick in soul and stomach for the rest of the day." Of course, luxury items are never without political implications and consequences. Richardson notes the harsh dichotomy that exists between producing and consuming nations: "Cacao and chocolate are the raw and the cooked. What comes to mind is a dualistic, almost Manichean world, or rather two separate worlds living in almost total ignorance of each other. How many Western consumers have more than the faintest clue about cacao, its provenance and process? Meanwhile Latin America consumes 7 per cent of the cacao it produces; Africa, just 3 per cent." Readers will likely be left with a serious chocolate craving after reading some of Richardson’s more eloquent descriptions, but it’s hard to imagine ever looking at a bon-bon in quite the same way again.
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“The story of chocolate has never been better told.” —Conde Nast Traveller

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349115524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349115528
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,115,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WARNING - if you are a chocoholic, and even reading about chocolate, this book is for you but be prepared. Lock the doors, have fresh fruit available or something else because otherwise you will want to RUN not walk to the local corner store to get a lousy candy bar just to fulfill the desire to have chocolate and that won't work because Paul Richardson is talking about the BEST chocolate so hide your credit cards because you'll be off to Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Italy, and every other country on the planet or barring that - you'll be looking for a store in your city that sells high end chocolate, and you'll buy SEVERAL different types so you can compare.

Don't eat for a week before you read this book. You'll gain it back after reading it.
Although the funny thing is - great chocolate at 70-80% pure if you have 1-2 squares actually curbs your hunger according to other scientific articles on the web. Go figure. Its got something to do with the smell.
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By Adrenalin Streams on April 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
A good read, but I do find the language a bit flowery at times for my liking. Well researched, this book provides a useful addition to the canon of works that take an in-depth look at chocolate's history and its development and refinement. Unfortunately, the rate at which the fine chocolate market is developing means that the author's views on who the world's finest chocolate makers are, is already out of date, if not at the time the book was written 6 years ago. The only fine bar maker dealt with in any detail is Valrhona, with a single mention, in passing, of Amedei, and nothing on Pralus, Domori etc. Where chocolatiers are concerned, the French section holds up, but the UK piece was written before the rise to fame of stars such as William Curley, Damian Allsop and Paul A. Young. Four stars, but personally I prefer Mort Rosenblum's book, which I feel covers the same ground more interestingly.
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NOT a cookbook, this volume is instead a very personal exploration of the hidden and historical roots of "chocolate" and the people who grow it, prepare it, and study its ancestry. Get your truffle recipes elsewhere, but get insights and lots of obscure, useful information here.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Paul Richardson's stunning creative writing is intellectual all while seducing you into reading page after page of intriguing history, personal experiences and lore. I find few books to be completely captivating and this is one of them.

Paul Richardson's powers of observation are amazing and create vivid pictures in the mind. He transports you to exotic worlds of chocolate heaven. While this book introduces you to chocolates like the El Rey Gran Saman Dark Chocolate bar and Valrhona's Le Grands Crus there is also a lot of discussion about Hershey's chocolate which some chocolate connoisseurs might find to be inferior chocolate at best. I have found I only really like one Hershey chocolate and it is called "extra dark." They also have a pomegranate chocolate which is interesting.

I think if you love reading about chocolate then this book is essential reading. You may also enjoy:

Luscious Chocolate Smoothies: An Irresistible Collection of Healthy Cocoa Delights

Naked Chocolate: The Astonishing Truth About the World's Greatest Food

Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light

The True History of Chocolate

Chocolate Unwrapped: The Surprising Health Benefits of America's Favorite Passion

~The Rebecca Review
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