When we had the idea to start a chocolate company back in 2008, it was very much a loose and abstract concept. We knew nothing about chocolate, apart from the fact it tasted good and we liked eating it often. Neither Robbie nor I had a culinary background, but we loved the idea of honing a unique craft that was a perfect balance of science and art, and equal parts process and sourcing.
But we had no idea where to begin to learn the craft of chocolate making. There was very little information out there and it felt near impossible to find someone to train under. At the time there were only a handful of craft chocolate makers in the US.
So we took to books for inspiration and information. These books got us hooked on the crazy notion of devoting our lives to chocolate making. It also felt like we were uncovering a beautiful world we didn’t know existed.
Here’s a list of some of our favorites and we hope they inspire you as much as they have us, though if not in the actual chocolate making, certainly to give context and true appreciation to what goes into each taste of a chocolate bar.
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light - Mort Rosenblum
This book was one of the first chocolate books I read and a page-turner at that. Mort takes you through the history of cacao with all its mysterious lore and legend, traveling around the world from the growers in the Ivory Coast to the heart of Paris where the French chocolatiers developed their confections. It even touches on the chocolate empires of recent years with Hershey’s, Godiva, and Valrhona.
A True History of Cacao - Sophie D. Coe, Michael D. Coe
Suppose you want a full historical account of cacao from its very beginnings starting 3,000+ years ago with the ancient Aztecs and Mayans through to the industrial revolution. In that case, this is the book for you. This book is a true connection to cacao’s cultural significance and importance through the years.
As an author and anthropologist, Sophie Coe devoted much of her life to the research of cacao through history. Though she sadly passed before her book was finished, her husband Michael completed this book in her honor. Such a beautiful homage to a life’s work.
The Science of Chocolate - Stephen T. Beckett
A deep dive into the science of the chocolate-making process, this book is a great reference for chocolate professionals and enthusiasts alike. It breaks down each chocolate-making step clearly and concisely from setting the crystal structures while tempering to various grinding and milling methods. A true resource, for chocolate geeks and anyone interested in food science.
The New Taste of Chocolate - Maricel E. Presilla
Beautifully written and researched, The New Taste of Chocolate shares the rich history of cacao, genetics, and the science of chocolate. Complete with striking images, historical prints, and great savory and sweet recipes to try.
The Chocolate Connossieur - Chloé Doutre-Roussel
Chloé is a true connoisseur of chocolate and someone we are honored to call a dear friend. Her passion and love for chocolate are infectious. This is a beautiful introduction to the world of chocolate and explains how to recognize the subtle flavors in cacao as you taste it.
More Books to Note:
BREAD, WINE, CHOCOLATE by Simran Sethi
Chocolate is discussed in the context of the importance of the biodiversity of food.
BEAN TO BAR CHOCOLATE by Megan Giller
With the new wave of craft chocolate, this book is A comprehensive guide.
CHOCOLATE WARS by Deborah Cadbury
This book reads like a crime novel and delves into the 150 years of corporate wars in chocolate.
The Manufacture of Chocolate and Other Cacao Preparations by Paul Zipperer
Written in 1915, this breaks down chocolate manufacturing techniques from over a century ago.