Boomeresque:Definition
1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

A Boomeresque Book Review: Chocolatour – A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate (Volume One) by Doreen Pendgracs

by Suzanne Fluhr on June 25, 2014 · 46 comments

Book review of Chocolatour: The Quest for the World's Best Chocolate

Book review of Chocolatour: The Quest for the World's Best Chocolate

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.

Cacao Pod at the Hawaii Chocolate Festival

It’s a fruit!

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?

Doreen Pendgracs speaking at the Hawaii Chocolate Festival

Doreen Pendgracs lecturing at the Hawaii Chocolate Festival

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 about 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 — Mr. Excitement.

It’s not too soon to get a jump start on your holiday shopping for your favorite chocolate lover—-even if that’s you ;-).  Chocolatour, A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate (Volume One)  (If you buy your copy from Amazon using this link, Boomeresque earns a teeny tiny commission which does not affect your price.)

Are you a chocoholic? If you have any questions about this book or about chocolate, please post them as a comment. Doreen Pendgracs has agreed to stop by to answer them.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Doreen Pendgracs June 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Thanks so much for the lovely review, Suzanne! I like being compared to Rick Steeves as I have a lot of respect for what he does.

I do hope folks will take advantage of the special sale price as I don’t think I’ll be offering a price that good ever again. Cheers!

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr June 27, 2014 at 2:03 am

I think your book would be the perfect gift for the chocolate lover who has everything.

Reply

Betsy Wuebker June 26, 2014 at 3:11 am

I’m a big fan of chocolate *and* Doreen! Fun to read this review!

Reply

Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) June 26, 2014 at 9:48 am

Wonderful review! Looks like I’ll have me that book:) Love Doreen’s posts…not only does she take me places I’ve never been, she’d made me a bit of a trivia genius when it comes to chocolate!

Reply

Doreen Pendgracs June 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Thanks, Jacquie. I’d love to send you a book! I’ll be sending another off to the US today, so if you’d like me to mail yours before our long wkend (no postal service Monday or Tuesday in Canada) pls drop in and place your order. Thx so much!

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr June 27, 2014 at 2:18 am

Speaking of buying books, Jacquie. I just dropped by my Kindle store and bought, “Confessions of a Corporate Slut”.

Reply

Roz Warren June 26, 2014 at 10:44 am

Chocolate tourism! Great idea — why didn’t I think of that?

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr June 27, 2014 at 2:19 am

Roz, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you eat anything other than broccoli. Hey, maybe you could invent chocolate covered broccoli. Believe me, they have chocolate covered everything else.

Reply

Doreen Pendgracs June 27, 2014 at 8:34 am

They sure do, Suzanne! Right now, I’ve got chocolate-dipped bacon the fridge. I’ve had chocolate covered licorice, olives, hot peppers, prunes, and more! But I think I’ll steer clear of the chocolate covered insects. They’re big in Asia, but I’m not anxious to try them.

Reply

Linda Strange June 28, 2014 at 1:42 pm

HI Doreen: I recall having chocolate covered insects back in the ’70s. Actually, I don’t remember if it was bees or ants – but the texture was like crispy coconut inside little blocks of milk-chocolate; and because they were so thoroughly cooked beforehand, I had no qualms about trying it.
Chocolate desserts in Mexico are nummy! My experience has been that they take advantage of the natural affinity of cinnamon and chocolate.
LL

Reply

Michele Peterson June 26, 2014 at 11:48 am

A great review of an inspiring book! How lucky for you that your husband loves fine chocolate — he’ll understand why it’s worth going out of your way to seek it out when travelling. But I guess that means you’ll also have to share 🙂

I too enjoyed Chocolatour and Boomeresque readers are welcome to stop into my A Taste for Travel blog on June 30th where I’ll be hosting a Q & A with the author.

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr June 27, 2014 at 2:20 am

Michelle, Mr. Excitement is actually more of a chocolate snob than I am.

Reply

Mike June 26, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Thank you for sharing Doreen with us, Suzanne! Though I’m not a chocoholic and I don’t eat it very often that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it as much as the next person! I learned two new words today – chocogasms and oenophile! I’ve had eel (no thank you for a repeat) but that summer salad sounds amazing 🙂 Great post, our friend! 🙂

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr June 27, 2014 at 2:22 am

Thanks for stopping by, Mike. I’m with you on the “I’ll pass on the eel” although I do believe I had a tiny piece in some sushi for dinner this evening. On the other hand, if you robed it in chocolate, maybe even eel would be palatable. —– Nah.

Reply

Irene S. Levine June 26, 2014 at 1:17 pm

As someone with a sweet tooth, I’ve especially enjoyed following Doreen’s travels.

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr June 27, 2014 at 2:24 am

Irene, having had the opportunity to see Doreen during one of her chocolate trips in Hawaii, I can assure you, she’s worth following—-preferably in person —- next best thing—-her book. Hmm. Maybe she’ll take me as her translator if she returns to South America.

Reply

Doreen Pendgracs June 27, 2014 at 8:36 am

I didn’t know you speak Spanish, Suzanne! It would definitely be fun to hook up with you again somewhere on the chocolate trail. But I believe my next Spanish-speaking trip will be to Mexico, as I’ve absolutely got to get there and investigate the history and contemporary culture of Mexican chocolate.

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) June 27, 2014 at 10:41 am

I lived in Mexico for a year as a child. I remember Mexican hot chocolate as being very good and that was a looong time ago.

Reply

santafetraveler June 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Congrats to Doreen Pendgracs on Chocolatour. Sounds like a great read for us cholcoate lovers.

Reply

Stacia June 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm

But…but…but…in your review, you didn’t name her top picks for best chocolatiers!

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) June 26, 2014 at 4:47 pm

You have to buy the book!

Reply

Lis Sowerbuts June 26, 2014 at 6:37 pm

As a chocolatholic I am loving the idea of this book series – but she really needs to get the ebook on Kindle – where most ebook readers are to be found!

Reply

Doreen Pendgracs June 26, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Lis, I do have the book on Amazon, and also can deliver Chocolatour to you in e-book format. All you have to do is go to Chocolatour.net/book and choose the e-book format.

Reply

Anita @ No Particular Place To Go June 26, 2014 at 10:48 pm

A rave review about a subject of great interest to me! And here I am, thinking about chocolate again…

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr June 27, 2014 at 2:25 am

Pull up a chair, get yourself a piece of chocolate and sit down with Doreen’s book.

Reply

Suzanne Stavert June 26, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Wonderful review Suzanne! I have the book and I have already learned a great deal. I absolutely love chocolate and I want her job!

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr June 27, 2014 at 2:26 am

Suzanne, I hear you. What made me think that lawyer would be a better career than chocolate travel writer? 😉

Reply

Michelle June 27, 2014 at 12:42 am

I am looking forward to purchasing not one but several of these books. They will make great gifts. I really don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that they don’t like chocolate. It sounds like a very comprehensive book that will do very well. Please let her know that I would love to be a research assistant in the future 😉

Reply

Doreen Pendgracs June 27, 2014 at 8:39 am

Thanks so much, Michelle. I’m looking forward to sending some copies of Chocolatour to you. Don’t forget … the special offer ends on Monday.

And yes, it would be great to meet you somewhere in my chocolate travels. You certainly get around!

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr June 27, 2014 at 2:27 am

Michelle, for the chocolate lovers in your life, this book and some high quality chocolate would make a no doubt, well appreciated gift.

Reply

Doreen Pendgracs June 27, 2014 at 8:41 am

Thanks so much, Suzanne, for your tremendous support of my book and my work. I really appreciate the enthusiasm you have created here in this discussion and in your review. Thanks for hosting me on Day 5 of the virtual book tour!

Reply

Suzanne (Travelbunny) June 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I love the idea of a chocolate pilgrimage around Europe – what a wonderful idea! I’ve done a tour around St Germaine, Paris but Europe – that’s taking it to a whole new level 🙂
Great review – I’m sorely tempted…

Reply

Doreen Pendgracs June 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Thanks, Suzanne … the Travelbunny!

I hope you won’t remain tempted for long, and will give in to the urge to join the Chocolatour! I guarantee you’ll find out far more about the world of chocolate than you ever imagined possible. Come join me for a chocogasm! 🙂

Reply

Lynne June 28, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Wow – chocolate and travel! Two of my favorites. And the book will be on my wish list!

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr June 29, 2014 at 10:58 am

Through tomorrow, Doreen is offering a substantial discount on her book. So, this might be the time to treat yourself.

Reply

Franca June 29, 2014 at 5:17 am

Being a huge fan of chocolate, it looks I might enjoy this book especially considering it mixes travel with chocolate, what else could I possibly ask for?

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr June 29, 2014 at 10:59 am

Franca, perhaps Dale will buy the book for you as a treat.

Reply

Lois Alter Mark June 29, 2014 at 10:54 am

I’m drooling just reading about the book — can’t wait to actually read it! I may have to plan a chocolate tour somewhere. Yum!

Reply

Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr June 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

Lois, Doreen is absolutely the person to guide you on a chocolate adventure. She is truly inspiring on the subject.

Reply

Debra Yearwood July 2, 2014 at 5:33 pm

I was amazed by the level of detail Doreen managed to pack into her book. Like you, I found it both an enjoyable and informative.

Reply

Neva @ Retire for the Fun of it July 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I have come to consider Rick Steves the guru of travel, so I can’t think of a better recommendation for a book. I never realized how many recipes include chocolate as well as eating it as a dessert.

Reply

Agness July 6, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I also had this pleasure to read Doreen’s book and I was amazed by her chocolate journey around the World. I’m a big fan of Belgium and French chocolate, but I can’t wait to make it to South America to try some of their goodies!

Reply

Jess @UsedYorkCity July 9, 2014 at 11:17 pm

This book sounds delicious! I love the idea about learning about chocolate on a deeper level…I went on a chocolate factory tour in Brooklyn which was educational and super yummy;-)

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: