Shara Aaron and Monica Bearden
Prometheus Books, 215 pages, approx £13.50
If you can get past any trust issues you might have about a book on chocolate that is written by two authors with only-in-America-ultra-blindingly-bright toothy grins adorning the inside dust jacket, Chocolate provides a handy guide to all things chocolatey, from manufac-turing to the psychology of consumption.
The authors, having worked in the US chocolate industry promoting its health benefits, clearly adore the dark stuff - perhaps hinted at by the chapter titled A Chocolate Love Affair. And who could argue if, as they say, chocolate makes you prettier, brainier and live longer?
There’s a guide to how to choose your chocolate, based on the content of disease-inhibiting flavanols (generally speaking, the higher the cacao content, the better); how chocolate can make you look more beautiful (drink a high flavanol cocoa drink every day); and how flavanols improve cognitive ability to sharpen the brain.
The book is pretty comprehensive, covering everything from chocolate making to the flavours of the various origins of chocolates, how to taste chocolate at its optimal level and how to store it. This is embellished with a series of chocolate-based recipes, including two ’Better-than-sex’ cake recipes, whose claim inevitably rests on the quality of the chocolate you use!