Valentine's may have passed, but February is still a good month to enjoy chocolate, but then again, what month isn't a good month to enjoy chocolate?
We still have a few short winter days ahead of us to relax and read. May I recommend a few novels with a fixation on chocolate?
Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel - This popular novel was published in 1989, and it was about a couple of years later when I finally bought a copy. Today it is known as a modern classic. It's the story of a young woman, Tita who dreams about marrying her lover. However, her mother has a different idea, as it is a family tradition for the youngest daughter to not marry and spend her life taking care of mama. Long story short, Tita makes a magical meal... I suppose if you want to skip the book, it was eventually made into a movie. I would say, enjoy both!
Chocolat, by Joanna Harris - Hedonism, whimsy, and of course, chocolate! Most of us have seen this movie, and should see it again. However, before there was a movie, Chocolat was on The New York Time's bestseller's list. It was first published in 1998. It's the story of Vianne and her exquisite chocolate shop that arrives in a small French village and instantly begins to play havoc with the town's Lenten vows. Harris wrote two more books that continues to follow Vianne and her world of chocolate in The Girl with No Shadow (aka The Lollipop Shoes in other countries), and Peaches for Monsieur le Curé. I have yet to read her second and third books, but they're waiting for me to read all safe and sound in my Kindle.
The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister - This book will leave you craving for fine food, and craving more information about the characters. With every chapter it left me hungry. While chocolate isn't as much as the theme as the above, it does have a few chocolate paragraphs that are quite divine; not to mention paragraphs about rich vanilla cake batter, fresh crab meat covered with a butter and wine sauce, pumpkin ravioli, and... The story is about a woman by the name of Lillian who owns a restaurant. Not only does it follow Lillian's life, but also the lives of eight students who gather in Lillian's Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. Beware, after each chapter you may want to start shopping for fine ingredients and start cooking.
This comes with a warning. While the books are calorie free, I cannot guarantee that after a chapter or two, you may start craving chocolate. Relax and enjoy it!