Flight Network Foodie
Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate
(Wizard of Words Productions, 2013)
By Doreen Pendgracs
Reviewed by Christine Peets
This book should come with a warning, “Do not read unless you have a supply of chocolate handy.” After reading even a few chapters about how the people who make chocolate and the beautiful places all over the world where they live and work, you will definitely be reaching for some chocolate. How could you meet cocoa producers and farmers in Ecuador, Peru, and St. Lucia, discover the many health benefits of –and the reasons we (especially women) crave it—and then go with Pendgracs to meet chocolatiers, chocolate makers, and chocolate masters without wanting to devour some chocolate?
As the saying goes, “resistance is futile.”
There is some confusion between these terms, chocolatier, chocolate maker, and chocolate master, and Pendgracs explains them, but not quite early enough in the book. That aside, it’s a marvel to see the passion, flair, and personality put into the making of this delectable treat.
Speaking of personality, did you know chocolate has one, and that you have a “chocolate personality” too? This may explain why, when you have a craving for a certain kind of chocolate you may not be satisfied until and unless you can find it. Fortunately, Pendgracs makes that easy for us.
On her quest for “the world’s best chocolate” Pendgracs went to France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. She discovered—and shares with us—the best places to find the exact chocolate we seek. She also points out places to stay and eat so you can get the best experience in each locale. Some of the best parts of each chapter are the Fun Facts, and the Noteworthy Chocolate for each place. Adding to the fun of the book are the Chocolatour Awards, which Pendgracs admits are subjective, and the A-Z Guide for Chocolate Lovers. Those will help you decide where in the world you’d like to go on your own chocolate quest.
To give you an idea of what you’d find at each destinations, the book includes gorgeous photos — most of which were taken by Pendgracs. Each picture tells a colourful story. They, along with the soft paper Pendgracs chose for the book, make Chocolatour an experience for more than just the eyes.
However, this isn’t your typical travel book. It takes you to places that are “off the beaten path” as Pendgracs says, “as those are the places I most enjoy and the ones you are least likely to have heard of.” While some may be in large cities, others are in small towns and villages. There are also listings of events featuring chocolate, which will be expanded in Volumes Two and Three.
Yes, this is just the beginning. So there are more Chocolatours to different parts of the world coming. For now, we can enjoy reading about the wonderful chocolate in these parts of the world. You’ve been warned: get the chocolate handy.
Cover image and photo courtesy of Doreen Pendgracs, Wizard of Words Productions