Life is like a book of chocolates.
Yeah, I know, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense! But bear with me and let me explain.
I am a bookaholic and a chocoholic and it occurred to me the other evening that certain chocolates simply ‘go better’ with certain books, while other chocolates are equally wrong.
In much the same way you wouldn’t pair red wine with fish (although these days that’s under debate), or steadily chug a rare single malt scotch with a main course meat dish, you need to be discerning about which chocolate to pair with a particular book.
Here’s a sampling of a few recently-read books, with retrospective insights as to my imagined perfect chocolate pairings. You’ll see that like my taste in chocolate, I enjoy reading a variety of genres and if you’re going to get all snobby on me, like the wine connoisseur/Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc quaffer who cringed when I admitted to using boxed white for my summer porch spritzers, then this post probably isn’t for you – but I have no shame in admitting to being an avid reader and an equally equal-opportunity chocolate-eater!
I recently enjoyed DD Miller’s David Foster Wallace Ruined My Suicide & Other Stories and the originality and vibrancy of these stories had me dipping into a precious stash of Freddos, tiny chocolate frogs that accompanied me back from Sydney, Australia. Why Freddos? Because the stories in this book are as delightful as chocolate frogs; playful with crackling exploding embedded bits of pop rocks, inviting all manner of memories from childhood to mix in with the complexities of adulthood. Life used to be a froggy party and now it’s… well, it’s adulthood, and as you reach for a fresh-faced Freddo and look down at the smiley faces of the shredded empty packages on the floor, it just seems like the right thing to do, while the protagonist reaches for another beer.
When reading Midsummer, the exquisitely beautiful new novella by Carole Giangrande about families, loss and longing, I’d say you need a Champagne Truffle from Godiva, made with Dom Perignon, kissed with Gold Leaf and cast in 64% Private Reserve Dark Chocolate.
While reading the entrancing poetry collection by Catherine Graham, Her Red Hair Rises With The Wings of Insects, I think you’d need chocolate-covered ginger, mysterious, exotic, deep, with many nuances of flavours; bittersweet, tart, memorable, teasing with the soft texture of melting chocolate, the tiny roughness of the ginger graining against your tongue, leaving a tiny sugar bead, palate satisfaction and a lingering taste of wanting more.
I picked up Linwood Barclay’s, Fear The Worst, delighted to find that I hadn’t yet read it. This book called for a good stash; a bar of Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut, Cadbury’s Hazelnut and a big slab of Aero. The wrapper on the Cadbury chocolates proclaims that you get 10% extra joy and I certainly get that with all of Linwood’s books!
For Thirteen by the Mesdames of Mayhem, I’d suggest a box of Lindt Lindor Assorted Chocolate Truffles; the ‘irresistibly smooth’ chocolate balls have a solid shell (the suspense that won’t let you in just yet, but keeps you wondering what’s inside), and then, the surprise and delight of an ever-pleasing resolution.
Here’s a less light-hearted read; Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease by Gary Greenberg. A funny thing about this book; I purchased the hard cover and removed the cover jacket to find the book spine proclaiming that I was reading The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman! The interior of the book was correctly installed, but it had the wrong cover! There’s one perfect confectionary solution for this book; chocolate-covered pretzels, twisted, salty, crunchy, disturbingly satisfying, leaving you feeling utterly replete.
Next on my list is As A Thief In The Night by Chuck Crabbe and I’m not quite sure what this book will bring, so I’m going to cover all bases and have Reese’s Pieces, Reese’s Peanutbutter Minis and an old favourite, Ferrero Rocher all close at hand.
Now, you might ask, what about The Witchdoctor’s Bones? What would I recommend for that? Well, the chocolates would have to be South African, so I’d say an assortment of Sweetie Pies, Crunchies, Top Deck (milk chocolate with a topping of creamy white chocolate) and a Cadbury’s Turkish Delight. It’s a fairly long book, so you need a good supply! P.S., I know most of those chocolates are British but they are also South African favourites.
In the final analysis, I’d say, regardless of your book of choice, or your choice of chocolate, keep reading – and enjoy!
Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.
Her first novel, The Hungry Mirror, won the 2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and was long-listed for a ReLit Award. Her second novel, West of Wawa won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was one of Chatelaine’s four Editor’s Picks. West of Wawa is available in bookstores and online.
Her third novel, A Glittering Chaos, launched in Spring 2013 to reader and reviewer acclaim, and is about murder, madness, illicit love and poetry.
Her fourth novel, The Witchdoctor’s Bones was launched Spring 2014. The Witchdoctor’s Bones is a thriller about the darkest secrets of African evil; the novel seamlessly weaves witchcraft and ancient folklore into a plot of loss, passion and intrigue and a holiday becomes a test of moral character.
All books published by Inanna Publications.