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Materials to accompany the chocolate lesson plan

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Chocolate joke - stage 1

This guy found a bottle on the ocean, and he opened it and out popped a genie, and he gave him three wishes. The guy wished for a million dollars, and poof! there was a million dollars. Then he wished for a convertible, and poof! there was a convertible. And then, he wished he could be irresistible to all women... poof! he turned into a box of chocolates.

Chocolate quotes - stage 1

I am a serious chocoholic. For the serious chocoholic, chocolate is better than sex. If you believe that, you REALLY need to meet that special someone who can change your mind. If you HAVE met that special someone and still believe that, I REALLY NEED to know where you get your chocolate!!!

'Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get.'
Forrest Gump in "Forrest Gump" (1994)

'Chocolate causes certain endocrine glands to secrete hormones that affect your feelings and behavior by making you happy. Therefore, it counteracts depression, in turn reducing the stress of depression. Your stress-free life helps you maintain a youthful disposition, both physically and mentally. So, eat lots of chocolate!'
Elaine Sherman, Book of Divine Indulgences

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE
Linda Grayson, "The Pickwick Papers"

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces Judith Viorst

Forget love-- I'd rather fall in chocolate!!!

I could give up chocolate but I'm not a quitter.

Put the chocolate in the bag and nobody gets hurt.

A day without chocolate is a day without sunshine.

Life without chocolate is like a beach without water.

I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process.... It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance?

Text from 'Chocolat' by Joanne Harris

Chapter 9

Wednesday, February 19

This is our rest day. school is closed and, while Anouk plays by Les Marauds, I will receive deliveries and work on this week's batch of items.

This is an art I can enjoy. There is a kind of sorcery in all cooking: in the choosing of ingredients, the process of mixing, grating, melting, infusing and flavouring, the recipes taken from ancient books, the traditional utensils - the pestle and mortar with which my mother made her incense turned to a more homely purpose, her spices and aromatics giving up their subtleties to a baser, more sensual magic. And it is partly the transience of it that delights me; so much loving preparation, so much art and experience put into a pleasure which can last only a moment, and which only a few will ever fully appreciate. My mother always viewed my interest with indulgent contempt. To her, food was no pleasure but a tiresome necessity to be worried over, a tax on the price of our freedom. I stole menus from restaurants and looked longingly into patisserie windows. I must have been ten years old - maybe older - before I first tasted real chocolate. But still the fascination endured. I carried recipes in my head like maps. All kinds of recipes; torn from abandoned magazines in busy railway stations, wheedled from people on the road, strange marriages of my own confection. Mother with her cards, her divinations directed our mad course across Europe. Cookery cards anchored us, placed landmarks on the bleak borders. Paris smells of baking bread and croissants; Marseille of bouillabaisse and grilled garlic. Berlin was Eisbrei with Sauerkraut and Kartoffelsalat, Rome was the ice-cream I ate without paying in a tiny restaurant beside the river. Mother had no time for landmarks. All her maps were inside, all places the same. Even then we were different. Oh, she taught me what she could. How to see to the core of things, of people, to see their thoughts, their longings. The driver who stopped to give us a lift, who drove ten kilometres out of his way to take us to Lyon, the grocers who refused payment, the policemen who turned a blind eye. Not every time, of course. Sometimes it failed for no reason we could understand. Some people are unreadable, unreachable. Francis Reynaud is one of these. And even when it did not, the casual intrusion disturbed me. It was all too easy. Now making chocolate is a different matter. Oh, some skill is required. A certain lightness of touch, speed, a patience my mother would never have had. But the formula remains the same every time. It is safe. Harmless. And I do not have to look into their hearts and take what I need; these are wishes which can be granted simply, for the asking.

Guy, my confectioner, has known me for a long time. We worked together after Anouk was born and he helped me to start my first business, a tiny pâtisserie-chocolaterie in the outskirts of Nice. Now he is based in Marseille, importing the raw chocolate liquor direct from South America and converting it to chocolate of various grades in his factory.

I only use the best. The blocks of couverture are slightly larger than house bricks, one box of each per delivery, and I use all three types: the dark, the milk and the white. It has to be tempered to bring it to its crystalline state, ensuring a hard, brittle surface and a good shine. Some confectioners buy their supplies already tempered, but I like to do it myself. There is an endless fascination in handling the raw dullish blocks of couverture, in grating them by hand - I never use electrical mixers - into the large ceramic pans, then melting, stirring, testing each painstaking step with the sugar thermometer until just the right amount of heat has been applied to make the change.

There is a kind of alchemy in the transformation of base chocolate into this wise fool's gold, a layman's magic which even my mother might have relished. As I work I clear my mind, breathing deeply. The windows are open, and the through draught would be cold if it were not for the heat of the stoves, the copper pans, the rising vapour from the melting couverture. The mingled scents of chocolate, vanilla, heated copper and cinnamon are intoxicating, powerfully suggestive; the raw and earthy tang of the Americas, the hot and resinous perfume of the rainforest. This is how I travel now, as the Aztecs did in their sacred rituals. Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia. The court of Montezuma. Cortez and Columbus. The food of the gods, bubbling and frothing in ceremonial goblets. The bitter elixir of life.

Perhaps this is what Reynaud senses in my little shop; a throwback to times when the world was a wider, wilder place. Before Christ - before Adonis was born in Bethlehem or Osiris sacrificed at Easter - the cocoa bean was revered. Magical properties were attributed to it. Its brew was sipped on the steps of sacrificial temples; its ecstasies were fierce and terrible. Is this what he fears? Corruption by pleasure, the subtle transubstantiation of the flesh into a vessel for debauch? Not for him the orgies of the Aztec priesthood. And yet, in the vapours of the melting chocolate 'mething begins to coalesce - a vision, my mother have said - a smoky finger of perception which points ... points ...

There. For a second I almost had it. Across the glossy surface a vaporous ripple forms. Then another, filmy and pale, half-hiding, half-revealing. For a moment I almost saw the answer, the secret which he hides - even from himself - with such fearful calculation, the key which will set all of us into motion.
Scrying with chocolate is a difficult business. The visions are unclear, troubled by rising perfumes which cloud the mind. And I am not my mother, who retained until the day of her death a power of augury so great that the two of us ran before it in wild and growing disarray. But before the vision dissipates I am sure I see something - a room, a bed, an old man lying on the bed, his eyes raw holes in his white face ... And fire. Fire.

Is this what I was meant to see?

Is this the Black Man's secret?

I need to know his secret if we are to stay here. And I do need to stay. Whatever it takes.

Chocolat book cover   Chocolat book cover

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