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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Book Features Quest for World's Best Chocolate

Title: Chocolatour
Subtitle: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate"
Volume 1

Author: Doreen Pendgracs
Author's Web site link: http://doreenpendgracs.com
Genre: Nonfiction travel, food
ISBN: 978-0-9918901-0-1
Personalized autographed copies can be obtained directly from the author's site at http://chocolatour.net where e-books are also available.
Hard copies are available on Amazon

Reviewed by Susan Fluhr originally for Boomeresque: Baby Boomer Travels for the Body and Mind 


This first volume of a projected three has convinced me that travel writer Doreen Pendgracs is the “Rick Steves” of chocolate tourism. Like Steves’ books, this volume not only takes us to places, but also provides historical context and information necessary for an in depth understanding of chocolate. Pendgracs’ passion for and appreciation of chocolate is infectious.
In this first volume, Pendgracs ultimately takes us to seven European countries to explore the world of fine, artisanal chocolate, but she starts the book by sharing her travels to cacao growing regions in a remote Amazon jungle area in Peru and on back roads subject to mudslides in Ecuador. Her cacao growing exploration on the island nation of Saint Lucia was undertaken in somewhat more luxurious surroundings. In this chapter, we learn how the cacao fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) is grown and ultimately harvested and processed into chocolate.
If you ever feel the need to explain your chocolate addiction or why chocolate is actually good for you, Pendgracs provides the necessary information in chapter two of her book which is titled, “Chocogasms and Other Health Benefits of Chocolate”.
Although most of us know we like chocolate, the author educates us about how not to just consume chocolate, but how to experience it — much as an oenophile understands and enjoys fine wine. She identifies ten chocolate personalities that we can use to characterize the products of different chocolatiers and then introduces us to chocolatiers she finds noteworthy in the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Holland, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. These chapters will be very useful for travelers wanting to undertake a chocolate pilgrimage along with their visits to the “must sees” of Europe. After reading this book, you will want to and be able to add fine chocolate tastings to your European travel itineraries.
Many people know that Mexican mole sauce combines the flavors of chocolate and chile. In Chapter 12 of Volume One of Chocolatour, the author shares some recipes that employ chocolate in new and intriguing ways. Are you ready for cacao gazpacho or a summer salad with smoked eel, chocolate and pecorino wafers topped with chocolate vinegar?
There is also a chapter about chocolate festivals, museums and attractions around the globe.  Indeed, I purchased my copy of Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate (Volume One) at the Hawaii Chocolate Festival in Honolulu, where the author, Doreen Pendgracs, lectured about chocolate. I admit I was a little leery about sitting still for an hour lecture about chocolate, especially immediately after having sampled some of the festival products (chocolate covered bacon anyone?). However, just as in her book, the author kept me and the others in the room engaged as she conveyed her knowledge abut and enthusiasm for chocolate.
While you can (and should) purchase this book for yourself if you are a chocolate devotee or a chocolate devotee wannabe, it would also make a wonderful gift for the chocolate lovers in your life. My copy is inscribed to my favorite chocolate lover — my husband.
  The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.


Doreen Pendgracs said...

Thanks for the opportunity to have my book review posted on your site, Carolyn. I hope it gives travellers who love chocolate the opportunity to discover the fun of Chocolatouring!

Naomi Ganzu said...

This sounds interesting! :)
New to the book review club, would appreciate your feedback on - http://goo.gl/FDWN0W
Do add me via G+ :) Would def want to stay updated with your blog!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Naomi, everyone is welcome to participate on the New Book Review. Find the submission information in the left column of this blog! And, as to subscribing, use the form above where you see all the little icons. It's a great way to stay linked and get a little exposure--all fellow authors, reviewers, and readers! (-:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Doreen, thank YOU. It's lovely when authors actively tweet and promote their reviews as you have. It helps every book that's ever been reviewed here!