‘Chocolat’ by Joanne Harris

When walking into a grocery store, last thing in your mind is to buy a book.

Even if you get in there out of boredom – and not because your fridge is the portrait of bleakness – the least that could happen would be to buy some candies.

To be honest, at some moment I was in doubt. Candies were really tempting. Really.

Then I spotted a book I couldn’t say no to. Besides, looking at the title, it was a good compromise.

I’m talking about ‘Chocolat’. The tale about magic and chocolate that Joanne Harris wrote, just to remind us that chocolate is not just temptetion. Chocolate is much more than a sweet treat made to enlarge your hips. We all needed to hear that.

That book became my talisman. I read it with greed, tasting words, savoring each chapter.

A few years later, I figured it was time to pass the baton. I gave my own copy of ‘Chocolat’ to a dear friend who was moving into another town.

And there it was. The end of our story. I gave away the book and it got away from me. I waved goodbye and I let it go.

Could I really do it? Could I really part from a book that gave me such delightful moments?

It didn’t take more than a few weeks to realize that I could not.

So there I was – in a bookshop this time – holding a new copy of Joanne Harris’ book, heading to the cash desk.

I read it again, with the blissful anticipation of those who taste a praline for the second time, remembering the sweet flavor and savouring it again, as if it was the first.

I walked again down the streets of Lasquenet. It’s right there, in front of the church: La Celeste Praline. It’s Vianne’s chocolate shop.

She lives right above it with her duaghter Anouk. And Pantoufle of course, the imaginary rabbit, Anouk’s best friend.

It’s the beginning of Lent, when we get there, time of deprivation and self-denial. Father Reynaud calls everyone to resist temptations, but this doesn’t seem to worry Vianne Rocher.

Bitter orange cracknel, apricot marzipan rolls, cerisette russe, white rum truffles, manon blac, crêpes, pain au chocolat, various types of couverture, and countless chocolate beverages, all fill the air in the chocolate shop.

If this wasn’t enough to bring just a tad of tension in town, some gypsies dock along the river and Vianne is the first to do the honors. Should I mention now the disgust of Father Reynaud towards the gypsies?

So, leaf through the pages of this book and read about Vianne and the little Anouk. Read about Roux and the Gypsies. Read about the Lent and Father Reynaud.

If somewhere along the book you start smelling chocolate, you know what to do: prepare a cup of hot chocolate with a bit of vanilla and brown sugar, or open a box of rum truffles.

The magic is all in the chocolate.

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If you want to know more about this book: Goodreads

If you want to buy this book: Amazon

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