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The Chocolate Connoisseur Hardcover – February 2, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (February 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585424889
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585424887
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #729,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The chocolate buyer for the London department store Fortnum & Mason has taken it upon herself to educate the world about life beyond Snickers bars; the difference between "candy" and true ("artisanal") chocolate, and then between chocolate and chocolates (bonbons); and how to learn to love the good stuff, en route to becoming a chocolate connoisseur oneself, as skilled as any wine or cheese taster. Her approach is that of an unabashed and evangelical snob, a bracing combination of Mary Poppins and Miss Manners. Along the way, Doutre-Roussel skewers some sacred cows—Belgian chocolates, Godiva—and lists with approval a dozen brands most people have never heard of, with, fortunately, mail-order and online sources to find them and instructions on how to savor them when found. This is a beautiful little book, chockfull of charming pictures, maps, charts and graphs, sidebars and boxes of advice, lore and even a few recipes. Paired with a few choco-gourmet samples, it would make a scrumptious Valentine's gift for nearly anyone. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

'sensuous and entertaining' - The Independent on Sunday --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Nicole S. Urdang VINE VOICE on March 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a life-long chocophile, I have immersed myself (not literally, as someone in this book has!) in the enjoyment of chocolate. Naturally, I am interested in almost everything that has to do with the subject. Chloe Doutre-Roussel's book is a great place to start if you don't know about the different plantations, chocolate history, and her.

I found the book self-serving and a bit disingenuous. She does love talking about Chloe, and, she gives the impression she can eat a pound of chocolate daily and stay quite thin. Only at the end of the book does she tell you that she's exercising a minimum of two hours a day (swims an hour, does power yoga, and walks briskly).

I am not putting her down for her regimen, as that would be hypocritical. I enjoy chocolate and everything else I want to eat guiltlessly because I also love yoga and walking.

Chloe neglects to mention, let alone discuss, the history of slavery in the annals of chocolate lore; nor, does she even alight upon the current situations on the Ivory Coast, where child labor and terrible working conditions still exisit. I found this a huge omission.

Yes, fair trade chocolate may not rival Domori's line, but what about the good karma that comes from knowing no one was hurt producing it for your enjoyment? As she is someone with a great deal of power in the chocolate industry I was sad to see that she gave short shrift to this enormous aspect of the business.

She also omitted chocosphere.com as one of the great resources we have for buying our little delights in the US.
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32 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Samantha Madell on November 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Chocolate Connoisseur takes the cake as the worst book I have ever read.

I am a cocoa trader and chocolate manufacturer, with a background in agricultural science. As such, I know a lot about cocoa trees, cocoa beans, and all things chocolate.

I am appalled by the amount, and magnitude, of misinformation in The Chocolate Connoisseur.

For starters, the author lies about her qualifications: contrary to what she writes in her book, Chloe Doutre-Roussel has never worked as an agronomist for the UN. In fact, she has never worked as a professional agronomist at all.

So what if the author lies about being an experienced agronomist? The problem is that she provides very dubious agronomic advice throughout her book. (Doutre-Roussel has an irrational infatuation with fragile, inbred cocoa trees. If her advice - to replace robust cocoa trees with inbred ones - was acted upon, she could one day become famous as the person who destroyed the chocolate industry).

Moving on from agronomy: The Chocolate Connoisseur contains dozens of factual errors about cocoa harvesting, processing, and manufacturing.

Also, The Chocolate Connoisseur's bibliography and referencing is a joke. (The bibliography contains just seven items - or eight, if you count the book by Jancis Robinson that is listed twice. And not a single one of the "scientific studies" Doutre-Roussel alludes to throughout the book is referenced).

To add insult to injury, the book is riddled with spelling mistakes (I counted eleven).

Doutre-Roussel is renowned for her "unbelievable" tasting abilities. Her abilities are, literally, unbelievable. For instance, she thinks that she can smell sucrose (which is actually an odorless substance).
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Food lover on August 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I adore this book. At the core of The Chocolate Connoisseur is a true passion for the subject and a completely selfless wish to share it. It tells the history of chocolate as well as the science behind it in a way that is compelling and interesting. But its strongest point is Chloe's encouragement to form your own opinion and deepen to your appreciation and pleasure - great life lessons indeed. That's what food writing is all about.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Annmarie Kostyk on November 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book when it first came out. I had anxiously pre-ordered with Amazon. The book was not to disappoint!

Although a lot of information is covered in The Chocolate Connoisseur, she can only skim the surface as all things chocolate would take up many volumes. As a fellow chocolatier and writer, I can say that this is an excellent book to start yourself on the journey of chocolate. It's quite simple to read and basically leads you by the hand.

I really enjoyed that she shared this book from her experience and her knowledge from being a chocolate buyer. You feel as though she is in the room with you while you're reading. Many pages in my book have been dogeared and referred to time and time again.

Buy this book if you are just starting out on your own chocolate journey!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Coshow Jr. on May 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read other posted reviews of this book, then checked it out of the library. Far from being "autistic" on any level, the author is (as she admits, herself) lovingly obssessed with chocolate. She refers to herself and her own experiences only to provide the reader with a frame of reference.

This book is a terrific introduction to the world of premium chocolate, especially the richer, higher-cocoa-percentage chocolates now appearing in better stores. While I would've liked more references to external sources concerning the history and current status of chocolate, to support her facts, I found this book extremely useful for preparing a small seminar on chocolate and chocolate tasting. I highly recommend the book.
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