Last year I helped to fund a Kickstarter for a chocolate company. That makes sense, of course, but it makes even more sense when you realize that it was book chocolate.
To be honest, they had me right from the beginning, when their first example of food in literature was Mercédès offering Muscat grapes to the Count in The Count of Monte Cristo. I mean, that’s a good scene, dripping with text and subtext, and you’re going to add chocolate? I’m in.
The countess left the arm of Monte Cristo, and gathered a bunch of Muscatel grapes. “See, count,” she said, with a smile so sad in its expression that one could almost detect the tears on her eyelids—”see, our French grapes are not to be compared, I know, with yours of Sicily and Cyprus, but you will make allowance for our northern sun.” The count bowed, but stepped back. “Do you refuse?” said Mercedes, in a tremulous voice.
“Pray excuse me, madame,” replied Monte Cristo, “but I never eat Muscatel grapes.”
Mercedes let them fall, and sighed. A magnificent peach was hanging against an adjoining wall, ripened by the same artificial heat. Mercedes drew near, and plucked the fruit. “Take this peach, then,” she said. The count again refused. “What, again?” she exclaimed, in so plaintive an accent that it seemed to stifle a sob; “really, you pain me.”
A long silence followed; the peach, like the grapes, fell to the ground. “Count,” added Mercedes with a supplicating glance, “there is a beautiful Arabian custom, which makes eternal friends of those who have together eaten bread and salt under the same roof.”
“I know it, madame,” replied the count; “but we are in France, and not in Arabia, and in France eternal friendships are as rare as the custom of dividing bread and salt with one another.”
My Kickstarter pack got me a a Monte Cristo (Muscat raisins in dark chocolate — I usually despise raisins but like this), a Sherlock Holmes (tea and honey in white chocolate), and an Alice in Wonderland (candied rose petals in milk chocolate). Other fun flavors include:
- Jane Eyre: Bilberries in milk chocolate
- Pride & Prejudice: Blackcurrant tea and cinnamon in dark chocolate
- A Christmas Carol (White): Hazelnuts, pears, and nutmeg in white chocolate
- A Christmas Carol (Dark): Hazelnuts, pears, and nutmeg in dark chocolate
There’s a new Kickstarter running now, to launch Les Misérables, a white cherry (inspired by Fantine and her loser boyfriend) in dark chocolate. And the stretch goal is Treasure Island, with rum and coconut in dark chocolate sourced from Fiji.
I have no financial or personal affiliation with Open Book, but I like both literature and chocolate. If you do too, consider checking out their campaign.