Happy Easter everybody! Chocolate is definitely synonymous with Easter, so today’s book review is an eggcellent fit (bet you’ll be glad when I stop making annoying Easter puns eh?!). Whilst I usually read fiction, I do always love an interesting fact – and a big bit of chocolate – so I jumped at the chance to read The Bluffer’s Guide to Chocolate* which is choc-full of fun facts and interesting tidbits about everyone’s favourite food – CHOCOLATE!
The book is written by Neil Davey, who feeds readers tasty nuggets of chocolatey information, some of which are pretty intense. However, he does so in an easily digestible manner, served with a bar of explanation and a good bite of humour. This makes the facts fun to read and also very easy to remember – giving the ability to truly bluff your expertise on all things chocolate related.
There’s also a great glossary at the back to sum up all they key words and features,a notes section for you to record your own thoughts, and even a link to an online quiz for you to test your new found choco-knowledge at the end.
The Bluffer’s Guide to Chocolate teaches you all about the process of chocolate making from bean to bar; the perfect chocolate combinations; how to taste and identify each of the different cocoa beans; and the real stories behind well know names such as Cadbury’s, Nestle and Snickers.
Here are some of the favourite chocolate facts and myths dispelled in The Bluffer’s Guide to Chocolate:
1. Belgian chocolate is the best in the world. You see it everywhere. It’s fantastic right? Er, no. It’s not. The whole ‘Belgian-chocolate-is-the-best-in-the-world’ thing was just great marketing by those cunning Belgians in the 1980s.
2. 70% chocolate is always the best. 70% cocoa solids does not indicate good quality or good ﬂavour. No percentage does. You will ﬁnd great 70% chocolates on the shelves and truly terrible ones. The additional 30% could be made up of vegetable fats, artiﬁcial ﬂavourings, sweeteners, chalk, bits of bird’s nest, barbed wire…you get the drift.
3. White chocolate is not chocolate. Technically, this is correct. White chocolate contains no cocoa solids and therefore is not chocolate. It is, though, made of cocoa butter – a minimum of 20% – plus milk powder – a minimum of 14% – and sugar.
4. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac. While it can’t necessarily be proved that chocolate is an aphrodisiac, it certainly mimics the feelings of falling in love/lust and also gives an energy boost.
5. Chocolate is bad for you. Sadly, no amount of science, bluffed or otherwise, is going to justify a chocolate-heavy diet. While there are health beneﬁts in chocolate, 14 Mars Bars a day will not help you work, rest or play, nor can you go to work on a Crème or Easter egg.
Happy Easter everyone!
*Thank you to Bluffer’s for sending me a copy of The Bluffer’s Guide to Chocolate to review. All thoughts are my own. Please see my Disclaimer page for more information
Here’s the official blurb:
Instantly acquire all the knowledge you need to pass as an expert in the world of chocolate. Never again confuse your Olmecs with your Aztecs, your xocoatl with your cacao, or your conching with your blooming. More importantly, know the names of chocolate makers and chocolatiers to drop into conversation to underline your choc-credentials.
Bask in the admiration of your fellow chocolate aficionados as you pronounce confidently on the provenance of the bean in your bar, why you prefer a criollo to a forastero or a trinitario, and why the world’s finest chocolate is an authentic Aztec-influenced, ‘cold-worked’ mix from Modica. most of all, hold your own against the most sneering of chocolate experts by quoting the definitive words of Leonardo Sciascia. Who? Exactly.
DON’T SAY: ‘Gimme a Yorkie Bar. It’s not for girls.’DO SAY: ‘I’m getting damp, fresh hay on a spring morning with a little mint and a trace of loganberry. And is that a hint of smoke I detect?’
I live in Brixton in London. I eat out far too much, am always planning my next trip and have a borderline unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter.