Just like a good read, every fine chocolate bar has a story to tell.
If you enjoy a good novel and want to explore the world of craft chocolate then why not bring the two together?
However serious your book club, you will engage in some level of discussion about your feelings. For example: what you thought about the characters, the style, the settings, the author and the themes. At a chocolate club you do just the same. You compare taste experiences by exploring styles, themes, origins and makers.
THE ART OF A GOOD PAIRING
Successful pairings highlight and enhance the unique nature of each experience. With a good book and chocolate pairing, you read and talk about the book and you taste and talk about the chocolate. Crucially, by bringing the two together, you can explore the intricacies of each, furthering your discussion and understanding of both.
Fictional narratives inspire creative pairings that will delve into the merits of both book and chocolate.
The connections between chocolate and text can be imaginative. However, to be successful they should always be educational and provoke discussion and insight for example:
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Pairing this book with bars made from cacao from Colombia chosen for their ‘macho’ and gentle taste profiles will stimulate passionate debate on Marquez’s character portrayals.
Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
Matching this American thriller with bars selected for their earthy and floral flavour profiles will trigger further explorations of the imagery and plot.
Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.
Bars made from cacao characterised by red and white genetic characteristics will inspire discussions on genetics in cacao and the rivalries and affinities of the red and white warring factions of Pasternak’s classic.
The chocolate curriculum and the themes of taste, transparency and craftsmanship provide a rich source of pairings for non-fiction titles for example:
Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
The geopolitics of Marshall’s book gives us the opportunity to probe into the relationship between ‘terroir’ and the accessibility, colonial movement, quality and flavour of cacao.
Strangeland by Tracey Emin
Strangeland provides the opportunity to taste the latest alcohol infused craft chocolate bars and indulge in chocolate martinis made with the finest and fruitiest of Madagascan chocolate.
Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights by Helen Lewis
This book inspires research into #womeninchocolate. It solicits thoughts from female chocolate makers in the UK on their experience of being part of the fine chocolate movement, and the alignment or contrast to the experience of women in the country of origin.
There is just so much to share and learn from such unions.
TRANSFORM YOUR BOOK CLUB
I introduced fine chocolate to my book club, the Louth Literary Coven, five years ago. Since then we have never looked back. Seeking out makers, origins and taste experiences to match the books has played a decisive role in my own chocolate journey. I would love to see more people discovering fine chocolate through combined book and chocolate clubs.
In the interests of transparency however, I cannot claim full credit for the idea of matching the chocolate to the book. When buying chocolate for our first chocolate book club blog post – My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante and Duffy’s bean to bar chocolate from Cleethorpes – Duffy sent me a note (since used as a bookmark), asking if we match books to chocolate. I have simply answered that challenge.
If you want to give it a try at your own book club, you will find inspiration for pairings in the book and chocolate section of this blog or on the Louth Literary Coven’s Mainly Books and Chocolate blog. Alternatively, why not book a tasting with me to help get you started.