Chocolate’s in the Air

The winds of September have blown in quite abruptly in the Northeast. As soon as the calendar page flipped (yes, how analog, I still have a flippable calendar!) from August 31st to September 1st, the winds of autumn have arrived, sweeping the leaves underfoot, hastening our steps, reminding us that the days are growing shorter. With the winds of change knocking at my window, I love nothing more than to curl up into my plush gliding chair with a good book and a big bar of chocolate. My delectable indulgence right now is a bar of Theo 3400 Phinney’s Bread & Chocolate. This brand of chocolate is named for the address of the Theo factory where the chocolates are made. The chocolates are made with a minimum of 65% cacao (I prefer dark chocolates with up to 75% cacao; any higher is too bitter) from Central America (and for those who care, it’s also organic and Fair Trade Certified). This particular bar is made with the best part of a crusty French bread, Sea Salt, and notes of butter. Just think Nestle Crunch, but all grown-up.

How appropos that the book I’m currently nestling with is Joanne Harris’ novel entitled, “Chocolat.” I’m only on page 20, but I am rapted! Vianne Rocher and her daughter, Anouk, arrive “on the wind of the carnival” to a tiny town in Southwest France to open a chocolate shop during the Lenten season. Vianne proclaims to know exactly what type of chocolate her customers prefer. Is her inference based on clever observation or is she a witch? Her special treats and delightful charming, gypsie-like ways stir and awaken the spirits of the parishioners to the horror of the local priest, Father Reynaud. I have a strong suspicion who will win in the end, but I am savoring each word until the book’s sweet conclusion.

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