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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

on January 19, 2010
This book has a lot of great information in it but the author should have made it a "less heady" read. It reads as a doctoral thesis would read, which makes it difficult to tread through when you're just looking for light reading in bed at night or on a Sunday morning over coffee. When authors convert their research to a published book that's intended to appeal to the masses, they need to write using more general language to keep your interest. This isn't intended to "dumb down" the work or the information presented, but instead to just make it more enjoyable to read.
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on February 19, 2010
At 260 pages long this book seems much longer as it is so crammed with detail. Based on research for a doctoral thesis and centred around chocolatiers in an area of South West France as well as Paris, Terrio had amazing access to the lives and businesses of French chocolatiers. She examines the way in which French chocolatiers have tried to craft a history and tradition for themselves that distinguises their business from other food businesses and from chocolatiers in other countries. That this history is substantially built on myth is fascinating to discover. Terrio also examines, exhaustively, the educational backgrounds of those in the profession and their struggle for respectability in a society that values academic qualifications over practical ones. Further, she looks at the social make up of the profession itself; the sharp divide between social classes in the chocolate business, in particular owners versus employees and new versus old (family) businesses. Additionally, Terrio sheds light on the cultural aspects of teh business that define that men should be the creators of chocolate and women the sellers. If anything the book is too long - the author dissects her subject from every angle and has a tendency to pad out her views. On the lighter side Terrio should win a prize for the most times the word "elide" has ever been mentioned in a book! In summary, quite a dense book, a bit overwritten, but still very readable and absolutely fascinating for anyone interested in chocolate and who really wants to gain a profound insight into the hearts and minds of the creators and purveyors of it in France.
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on March 13, 2009
Note the title: crafting the culture and history. Yes, crafting the chocolate will obviously enter in. But, we are presented with far richer and more nutrious satisfaction here. We are allowed to penetrate deeply into the French understanding of chocolate and at the same time becoming more and more aware of the significance of the internationalization of food products. I cannot imagine a student of french culture or a student of chocolate not being deeply pleased and satisfied by this study, which seems to have no comparable rival, even within French literature.

A bit of update to the heroic struggles of the French against the EC allowing MGV into french chocolate -- as of 2003, extra vegetative fats may now be added into the chocolates, up to 5% weight. So, check ingredients -- buyers beware !
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