The Bluffer’s Guide to Chocolate is the perfect pre-Easter read. Written by professional blogger and foodie Neil Davey, it’s a delightfully funny and compact book (just over 100 pages) on all things chocolate. This little gem gives just enough information to whet your appetite and leave you hungry for more (boom boom).
Davey begins by giving his readers a potted history of chocolate, (starting with the Olmecs of central America) then moves onto a chocolate tasting tutorials and an overview of chocolate manufacturing. This is where The Bluffer’s Guide to Chocolate really shines. Davey describes the chocolate manufacture process in just enough technical detail for the bluffer, and enough humor to keep things lively. For example:
“Conching….this has nothing to do with feral schoolboys creating their own dystopian society on a desert island, the name does have a shell connection. The paddles used in this stage look like shells and the Spanish for ‘shell’ is choncha.”
Davey’s inclusion of chocolate terminology (for example, winnowing, tempering) throughout the book gives a feeling of authority. As any bluffer (or bull-sh*tter, to put it crudely) knows, the illusion of expertise comes from using the right terminology, the more baffling and obscures the better. And if you want to quickly check a term, there is a glossary included at the back of the book.
For a book and art lover, I am also impressed that this guide includes a section on chocolate-inspired literature and art (even if the examples given are incredibly obvious and mainstream) including Like Water for Chocolate, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Chocolat).
This book hit the mark for me because it delivered just the right amount of light-heartedness versus facts. The very concept of a ‘bluffer’s guide’ is also a winner in my eyes. I’m going to read the Bluffer’s Guide to Coffee next…ah caffeinated products, I love you.
After reading this I swiftly marched dawdled lazily down to my local deli and purchased some quiet expensive chocolate, including a block of Michel Cluizel 64% and a Valhona Noir Guanaja 70%. I ate both blocks peacefully this afternoon (oink, oink!), noting the hints of red fruit, the slight bitterness at the end and the smooth texture – thanks to my Bluffer’s guide! Nothing like applying your book-learning, especially when it comes to quality chocolate.
TAKE THE QUIZ NOW: http://bluffers.com/quiz-corner/chocolate-quiz/
I received an advanced copy of this publication from Bluffer’s via Library Thing (www.librarything.com) in exchange for an honest review.
Published in 2014 by Bluffers, UK. ISBN: 978-1-909937-05-5(e-book). Also available in print.
More details: www.bluffers.com, http://bluffers.com/bluffers-guide-chocolate/
More reviews coming soon, including So Brilliantly Clever by Peter Graham, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent and Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín (VCE list 2014). Stay tuned!