“Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light”

At first, I was very resistant. Years ago, for some reason, I had heard about Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum but never read it. I somehow thought it was one of those many fictional reads. You know, the ones that give the impression of starring our favorite food group. Yet only using the word chocolate as a marketing lure.

Was I ever wrong!

Matt is a former Associated Press correspondence and author of “Olives: The Life and Lore of a Noble Fruit.” He admits that prior to his research for this book, he was “a chocolate ignoramus.” Yet 292 pages later, he presents the reader with his in-depth polished, research notes. An intellectual “voyage de cacao”, so to speak.

From Amazon.com

Rosenblum takes the reader under his investigative wings to discover the origin and history of chocolate. From a tiny Mexican village at the base of a volcano to learn the secrets of authentic mole. To the struggles of cacao plantations in West Africa. Together, you’ll find tiny Parisian chocolate shops tucked away along cobble-stone streets-you smell them before you see them! Venture through the intimidating doors of Valrhona in the Rhone Valley of France. Experience the difference between Swiss, Belgium, and British choco-philosophies. Closer to home, you explore the land of Hershey and a number of West Coat chocolatiers.

One is taken on an intriguing journey around the world. From some of the world’s largest urban centers to some of the most remote areas of the globe. Together, you both discover the history, biology, politics and challenges of Theobroma, “the food of the gods.”

Matt connects with some fascinating and passionate folks along the way, including Steve DeVries, Claudio Corallo and Chloe Doutre-Roussel- all important powerhouses in the chocolate industry.

The book ends in France aboard his boat on the Seine with these chocolate mentors, celebrating the end of his trail. You feel as if you are right there listening to their conversations as you all float along the river.

Mort Rosenblum,
From The University of Arizona at Tucson

There are benefits of waiting to read this book years after its publication. One can realize what a cacao “psychic” Matt was in predicting some important developments in the chocolate world scene. I’d love Matt to do a follow-up book on new developments along the global chocolate trail. It would be interesting to read some new predictions he’d make in the world of chocolate. We’d all be in for another delicious treat.

Lessons Learned: Don’t judge a book by its title. Don’t discount a book because it was written back in 2005.

I’ve added his book on olives to my list for future reading!

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