Perfect Pairings: Books and Chocolate

Hey Savvy Readers,

If you want to treat yourself, where does your mind go first? For me, it’s chocolate. Even before books.. I know, I know. I just love it. But when I stopped to think about it, there’s no reason not to have both. So I brought two great things together to make a perfect thing: chocolate treats with some sweet reads.

Ready for a sugar rush?

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Chocolate ice cream and This is Just My Face by Gabourey Sidibe

I think we can all agree that ice cream is the best treat for a girls’ night in. That’s why we’re pairing it with Gabourey Sidibe’s new memoir, This is Just My Face, your perfect best-friend-in-a-book. It’s honest, clever, hilarious and completely one of a kind—everything we look for in a great gal pal. So settle in and dish with Gabby, she’s got lots on her mind, from friendship and fashion to bigger topics like race and weight… even her very first job as a phone sex “talker!”

Chocolate martini and Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes

Decadent, alcoholic, full of feminine sass, but still a bit tongue-in-cheek, a chocolate martini is just crying out to be paired with Plum Sykes‘ comic British murder mystery, Party Girls Die in Pearls. After finding the body of her glamorous classmate, studious Ursula Flowerbutton is catapulted into Oxford’s high society as she tries get the scoop on the mystery. But as she gets closer to the killer, could she become the next target? With all that pressure, we’d need a few (chocolate) drinks too.

Chocolate Swiss roll and The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman

You’ll be wanting something rich and layered to go along with The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman, the contentious world of her elite Swiss boarding school and the mysteries buried there. Twenty-five years later, questions still linger about the apparent suicide of a wealthy and beautiful student. With the school’s 100th anniversary looming, former student Kersti is determined to expose all its hidden layers. And unlike this layered roll, what’s buried under the surface may not be so nice. (Speaking of mysteries, we won’t tell that these delicious sponge cakes probably originated in Austria if you won’t.)

Chocolate croissant and The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan

Croissants are the quintessential French pastry, which is why we had to pair them with The Baker’s Secret, a story not only set in France, but one where bread and baking feature heavily.  In German-occupied France, Emmanuelle is responsible for baking the baguettes for the occupying troops. She uses her wits to extend her daily flour ration and produce two more loaves to share with her hungry villagers. In so many ways, the bread is what holds Emmanuelle’s community together, making a croissant its perfect chocolate match.

Chocolate covered strawberries and The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson

Ahh, chocolate covered strawberries… is there any dessert more recognizably romantic and intimate? What better chocolate treat to pair with a book about matchmaking in London at the cusp of World War II? The Marriage Bureau is non-fiction, so even if you’re feeling a bit jaded, it might have you believing in true love again by the end. After all, all these happy couples’ stories are true. Once you’ve finished, you may even be inspired to plan an evening out with your own sweetie.

Black forest cake and The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A classic German cake made with sour cherry liquor, black forest cake is a fitting pair for The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. This black-and-white, sweet and sour nuanced cake is perfectly matched with Marianne von Lingenfels, who struggles as she strives to uphold a promise to her late husband—a Nazi resister—to find and take in his co-conspirators’ widows and children. This kindly act turns out to be more complex than Marianne expects, as it forces her to re-examine her own world view and the choices that have previously and presently defined her.

Chocolate laddu and Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Laddu is a traditional Indian dessert made with a base of flour, dough and sugar rolled into a ball shape. Other ingredients, like coconut or pistachio pieces, vary by recipe but the addition of chocolate is a decidedly Western take on this Indian classic. That’s why it’s paired with Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, an east-meets-west extravaganza where a group of widows in a creative writing class are inspired by a book of erotic short stories to put pen to paper about their own secret desires and fantasies.

Chocolate bear claw and Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

One of the things we love most about Borne is the city’s unconventional ruler and villain, Mord, the giant, mutant bear. And if bear claws aren’t usually chocolate, well, bears don’t usually fly, either. In fact, nothing in Rachel’s world is as you might expect, from her longterm partner, Wick, to the green, pulsing organism she brings home, or even her own past. So it’s only fitting that we pair this book, and pay tribute to its terrifying god-bear, with an unusual interpretation of a classic doughnut.

Chocolate covered bacon and Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

A little birdie told us that bacon and onion are Ginny’s favourite foods—well, pizza toppings. We can’t exactly make chocolate and onion happen for her, but chocolate covered bacon is a thing. A delicious thing. It’s a unique snack that has captured peoples’ hearts, despite how unconventional it is—just like Ginny herself. Even if we can’t quite put our finger on it, something about chocolate covered bacon is endearing, making it the perfect match for Ginny, not approximately, but exactly.

Assorted chocolate and The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue

Who doesn’t love a big box of assorted chocolates? The different flavours and the element of surprise make it all so much fun. It’s kind of how we imagine living in Camelottery would be: maybe a little unpredictable and full to the brim with personality, but with lots of sweetness and love to complement the diversity. And with so many choices, even a grumpy grandpa must find something to like!

Chocolate covered pretzels and Mitzi Bytes by Kerry Clare

Salty and sweet. Two opposing flavours in one place. Sounds a lot like Sarah Lundy and her online alter-ego Mitzi Bytes. But when these two distinct parts of Sarah’s life threaten to come together, courtesy of an anonymous blackmailer determined to out Mitzi Bytes, this combination of sweet and salty might not be so satisfying. Mitzi Bytes, a lively story of self-acceptance and reconciliation, is as fun and addictive as chocolate covered pretzels.

Drinking chocolate and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Did you know that drinking chocolate — or hot chocolate, as it’s more commonly known today — first came to Europe from South America in the early 1500s, where it steadily gained popularity among the nobility over the next two centuries? That’s why we’ve paired this comforting winter favourite with The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. During his yearlong grand tour, we’re sure Monty and Percy will be drinking hot chocolate from Paris to Rome and back again.

Well, putting this post together has given me a wicked chocolate craving, so we’re going to wrap up here. Which of these perfect pairings appeals to you most? Personally, I’m dying to read The Gentleman’s Guide, and I won’t complain if you give me a mug of hot chocolate to go with it.

Do you have a go-to chocolate treat? What book would you pair with it? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet @SavvyReader. Until then, you’ll know where to find me…

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Happy Reading,

Sharon

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Canadian publishing professionals and bloggers. Looking for savvy readers to talk books with us!

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