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Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light Hardcover – December 23, 2004
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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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
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.
Top customer reviews
One cannot read too much about the subject so just grab one!
Mariette's Back to Basics
I prefer The Chocolate Connoisseur for more focused detail on just chocolate and learning how to distinguish between various grades. This is more of an industry approach and extensive and interesting as are Rosenblum's other food books.
As an indication of how involving the book is, many readers (including myself) report the need to consume large amounts of chocolate while reading!
If you are looking for a book about the history of chocolate I can highly recommend The True History of Chocolate. "Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light" concerns itself with a more modern exploration of the best chocolates in the world. From the start Mort Rosenblum differentiates between candy and true chocolate. He travels (he lives in Paris) to England, Africa, Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico and America to meet with people who are passionate about every aspect of chocolate production.
Mort Rosenblum seems to prefer French chocolates and shows obvious disdain when discussing the common Hershey bar (tastes like sugared wax), although he still dedicates and entire chapter to the subject. Then there is the issue of allowing palm kernel oil in place of cocoa butter. I have to agree with him about Godiva chocolates not being that good either. I myself fell in love with Valrhona Caraque for making fresh cream truffles at home. He mentions Valrhona quite often throughout the book.
Finally he mentions Leonidas chocolates which I've had the pleasure of tasting more than once in my lifetime. I remember first tasting them in Belgium and then later finding them sold right here at amazon. If you love dark chocolate look for Leonidas Belgian Chocolates: 1 lb Dark Chocolates Assortment - Signature Ballotin.
What I liked most about this book is how the author gets to the heart of the chocolate business, capturing every nuance of production. I have rarely been so riveted while reading a book, especially while he was discussing the realities of cacao farming and while interviewing chefs.
~The Rebecca Review