by Frances & Ginger Park
I’m joining Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.
“Frances and Ginger Park were carefree young women when the sudden death of their father turned their world upside down. Reeling from the loss, they turned to each other—and the comfort of good chocolate—to numb their pain as they tried to figure out a way to create a shared future. The answer turned out to be as simple as their childhood dream: open a chocolate shop.”
“In January 1984, Chocolate Chocolate opened its doors in downtown Washington, D.C. But it was a rocky road to success. After battling with their contractor, the walls of their shop literally crumbled around them, and building a clientele wasn’t easy—on many days the sisters consumed more chocolate than they actually sold. Over time, with much hard work and perhaps even a divine dose of chocolate magic, their no-name shop was transformed into a nationally celebrated boutique.”
“Along the way the sisters found love, penned books, and befriended a charming entourage of customers whose own stories were as luscious as the bonbons that had them coming back for more.”
What a sweet read ~ especially timely & fun for Food for Thought! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about these sisters who were “chocoholics long before it was a diagnosis…”
In addition to satisfying my sweet tooth, I could identify with their roller-coaster-retail-ride. . . the insanity of holidays, difficult leasing agents/landlords, rising rent, and the day-to-day selling woes of a shop owner. Much more entertaining to read about than to experience!
Fortunately for me, my out-of-date & non-selling inventory wasn’t edible~ otherwise my weight would have rivaled the number of pages of this book :)
I’m speaking the language of chocolate, sharing my favorite quotes from the book~ with candy as props ~ a delicious excuse to shop early for Valentine’s Day! Since one of my New Year’s resolutions was to exercise more, I’m exercising restraint :) and parceling out my chocolate for Valentine’s treats. My mom, a bonafide chocoholic, is a getting copy of this book, along with a box of Neuhaus & Baci Perugina for her February birthday.
And I also had a little fun shopping at World Market along the way. . .
“Coffee and cream in a bittersweet cup, topped with a dreamy swirl of white cocoa-dusted chocolate.”
I mixed a version of a Cappuccino Cup using these Dark Chocolate Cordial Cups from World Market
($5.99 for a box of 12).
~Coffee, chilled (so it won’t melt the cup) mixed with a little Bailey’s Irish Cream, (the cream part)
~Whipped cream mixed with a tablespoon of Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, (the dreamy swirl of white cocoa)
~ Choco Straws from World Market~ chocolate straws ($4.99 for a box of 18)
~ Chocolate Curls to garnish
Sip your coffee underneath the whipped cream layer thru your chocolate straw~ or throw caution to the wind~ shoot your cup then eat your straw & your cup!
“The marriage of coffee and chocolate was a match made in heaven. Topped with a meringue-like swirl of white chocolate, the bittersweet cup lent itself to being dropped into a mug of steaming black coffee. Wait for the bouquet. Go cross-eyed. Drink.”
“For us, chocolate proved an elixir that could soften all the blows of life: coping with our father’s untimely death, losing our small inheritance to a contractor who left our shop in shambles, praying for love when there was none.”
“Let’s face it: There are times when only chocolate can make a bad day better. That’s when you summon the most luminous piece of chocolate in the shop, one that sings to you. That chocolat du jour.”
“Chocolate was our comfort food, and we spent our days munching away on Hershey Kisses wondering whether we should go into business together…”
“Try a Baci. It is singly the most famous piece of chocolate in the world. Look at it. Not only is it so beautiful and delicious, there is a precious little poem inside, a little fortune.”
The Park Sisters introduced to me Baci Kisses & their love notes which I found at HomeGoods~
“Our introduction to Baci lived up to the Perugina rep’s description. There was something alluring about the whole romantic package, not to mention the sensation of crunch against velvet chocolate, an almost erotic light-headedness.”
“We stacked trays in our glass cases high with rustic-looking Belgian truffles as well as our fragile crème fraiche pralines. We place eye-catching gift-wrapped boxes in the windows to lure passersby. We gave our shop every ounce of chocolate love we had in us.”
“A mud-black chocolate truffle spiked with Kahlua and dusted with cocoa powder.”
I found a Chocolate Truffle recipe from Ina Garten that was easy, rich & wonderful!
I substituted Kahlua for the Grand Marnier called for~ a mini bottle is ideal since you only need 2 Tablespoons~ I made half a recipe.
~ 1/2 pound good bittersweet chocolate
~ 1/2 pound good semisweet chocolate
~ 1 cup heavy cream
~ 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or Kahlua)
~ 1 tablespoon prepared coffee
~ 1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
~ Cocoa powder
After reading some of the reviews of this recipe, I decided to let the chocolate mixture sit in the fridge overnight, rather than the recommended 30 minutes the recipe called for. I pulled it out the next morning to stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes and then used a melon baller to scoop the chocolate, roll in my hands, then in cocoa. We’re dark chocolate fans, so we didn’t object to the cocoa coating, but if you find it bitter, mix some powdered sugar with your cocoa or roll in confectioners’ sugar only. You can also roll your truffle in chopped nuts~ hazelnuts, pecans, etc.
With willpower, these truffles will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve them at room temperature.
“If windows could talk, ours would say: Step inside and stay awhile. Warm up, smell the chocolate. Listen to the good music they’ve got playing. You may not know a soul on the street, but once you’re inside, you’ve got someone to talk to. Welcome to Chocolate Chocolate.”
“Few things in the world were as dispiriting as throwing out stale chocolate. Thou shalt not throw away chocolate was probably carved into a chocolate tablet somewhere, but without customers, we had no choice but to commit that sin. It felt like we were going to hell.”
“While we were well aware of the power of chocolate, it seemed like the rest of the world wasn’t.”
“We loved bittersweet chocolate, we loved chocolate infused with exotic things, but as equal opportunity chocolate eaters, we also loved quality milk and white chocolate with all the gooey works. Our philosophy: If it made you smile, it was good for you.”
“Books and chocolate—what a perfect fit.”
A perfect Valentine’s Day pairing!
“The ultimate cautionary confectionary tale, replete with all the romance, ups and downs of any great food drama. This is a book to curl up with, along with the delicious, toothsome comfort of all the Godiva, Lindt, Baci and Bouchons, and (mood-altering) Half-Moon Buttercream Dreams you could wish for.”
~ Marcy Goldman, A Passion for Baking, The Baker’s Four Seasons, founder of BetterBaking.com
Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:
Beautiful pics Mary! The book sounds like fun and you sure made some great looking treats-enjoy:@)
What a mouth wateringly luscious review, your photographs are wonderful. I couldn’t get hold of a copy of the book in time for fft but will definitely add it to my tbr list after seeing this post.
I just got a notice from my library that this book has come in & is waiting for me. :/ I can’t wait to read it, now that you’ve wet my appetite, Mary.
“chocoholics long before it was a diagnosis…” me too!! LOL
I’m in love with your lacey metal candy dish…so pretty!
“stale chocolate”????? What on earth is that? Never had it happen around here, that’s for sure.
Beautiful review, Honey with gorgeous photos…you do this so well.
Off to visit Jain now
Thanks for the early Valentine’s Day gift! I will be making chicken and waffles for our Valentine’s Day meal…a strange but delicious request!
Wish I were your neighbor, Mary. I could be your taster!
I was pleased to get out of town yesterday and purchased the chocolate heart cups from World Market you showed in a previous post. My sister found them for me in the store. I did not get over to that isle so I missed seeing all the goodies you are showing today. I’m also on a diet so I must pass on the chocolate this Valentine’s Day! It is hard!
I will save your recommended truffle recipe and all the great decorating ideas. “Chocolate Chocolate” sounds intriguing.
The book sounds like fun and you’ve captured the chocolate theme well!
I didn’t know that chocolate went stale! I suppose it never has the opportunity around here. Your truffles and your photographs look divine!
The book looks interestingly delightful:)You must have enjoyed it and like you said how timely!
I visited a Bacci store in Italy..they saw my camera and right away said NO PHOTOS in here?All their products are all over the net.
I didn’t find them friendly at all:( It surprised me..Every other shop keeper was..
So much chocolate! My favorite kind of post…!
I tried to link my Chocolate Chocolate post over at Food for Thought, but the blog said to come here and link?
Love chocolate! I’m thinking that book would be a cute gift for a friend who loves dark chocolate also. These photos made me swoon in chocolate love!
When will I ever learn not to read your post on an empty stomach? You have certainly brought chocolate to an art form. The book sounds great (if I have some chocolate truffles nearby) and your decadent treats look amazing.
Mary, I kept checking last night to see if this had posted. Then just now getting to the computer this morning. I knew your post would be chocolicious! You are the best! I had so many ideas, but kept coming back to the personal story of these two adorable sisters. When I ordered the truffles, it was Skip who took the order. I told him what I was doing. He and Ginger graciously sent me some family photos. I love FFT! It has connected me to many wonderful books, enjoyed beyond measure because of connecting the read to food. Now I need to get to DC for a visit to Chocolate Chocolate.
Enjoy your day. I’ll be using restraint myself. I’ve been on chocolate overload all week. Thanks for hosting. ~ Sarah
Lovely post! Even though I’m not overly fond of chocolate, the pics are making my mouth water! Maybe I’ll have to go home and eat a little fudge!
Thanks for hosting, this was fun!!
Going to go visit the other links!
That book has been on my To Read list since I first saw you mention it…This is a delicious review!
Hi, My name is Sonia and I’m a chocoholic!
The truffles sound scrumptious and I LOVE Baci (chocolate or otherwise.;-) – My family’s favorite truffle for many years were homemade Frangos….I think I might just dust off that recipe for Valentines this year! I haven’t made them in at least 25 years!
Truly delightful, as always! Thank you for a beautiful and informative post. I am off to the bookstore (yes some of us still prefer the smell and feel of a real book).
Mary, I’m back to linger a bit more on this delicious post. I made a trip to World Market to pick up some of the little chocolate cups, but didn’t see the cordial cups and the straws. Guess I need to make a return trip. ;-)
I’ve been delivering some of my chocolate props to friends today. Too dangerous to keep them around. I’ve already consumed much. Had to chuckle about the comment you made about your rivaling the # of pages in the book. I look at the photos of Ginger and Frances and marvel that they are so trim. ;-)
Yikes! I didn’t realize the dogs ate Jain’s homework. Chocolate and dogs isn’t a good combination. Hope they are OK.
Thanks again for hosting FFT. ~ Sarah
So much chocolate, so little time. I gained 10 pounds just reading your magnificient post.
The book was truly a delightful quick read and I thoroughly enjoyed it as well as your beautiful post!
My book hasn’t arrived yet and I am so eager to read it. Your review is absolutely delightful and delicious. I see a trip to World Market in my near future. I love all your photos and I must admit they are making my mouth water. Everyone jokes about my love/need/addiction to chocolate so I can easily say this book is calling my name! So fun to read your review and see your tempting photos. Have a great weekend!
Your chocolate looks delicious….wait…I’ll be right back…gotta run out and get some!! LOL Thanks for the book review – have ordered the book from the local library and it should be here soon.
Oh my gosh, I’m salivating! I think I’ve just gained 10 pounds, but it was so worth it. Yummy.
I have to get this book. This is another great review and your photographs are going to send me to the pantry looking for anything chocolate! I’m sure it’s a very interesting book, can’t wait.
The French Hutch
I think I’m in chocolate over load. Great to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays.
– The Tablescaper
As always you really go all out for your book reviews! These delicious treats are more evidence of that. They look so mouth-watering. Being a certified choco-holic I’m loving them!
I have some Ghiardelli chocolates in the pantry that I have been resisting, however, that is no longer possible. I’m going right now to sneak one or two or maybe more.
From one chocoholic to another— a very yummy review! I’m going to give the book and a box of Godivas ( a family tradition) to my mother for Valentine’s Day.
I want to celebrate every ocassion with Dobla’s chocolate cordial cups!
What a great combination with Baily’s Irishe Creme or Grand Marnier. I wonder how champagne would work…
yippee i am finally home and able to do my homework AND COME TO SEE YOURS! AND I AM SALIVATING!
AND YOU KNOW I WAS JUST PLAYING WITH MY OWN CHOCOLATE!
i am an addict…
this book so fed my addiction… and what’s killing me is your toasting cups, i could drink my milk and chew at the same time! of course i use non fat milk :)
those cups are so adorable, tiny morsels of fun… i need straws now too… its not nice to covet… but i do!
i am so enjoying your visuals… and i see we used the same quotes, but see things so differently :) i like this game!
i ALMOST bot the baci kisses, but i had so much already i balked, i forgot about the notes tucked inside, so sweet to see them!
and your truffles… if i wasn’t so late to this review i would have made the house truffles… instead i can give yours my green eye stare…
oh that was so fun mary, thanks for playing in the chocolate pen with me, i love love love food for thought, it may be the death of me, but its a good way to go down!
Sounds like an adorable book. Such a great presentation. I’m so happy you brought this post to Seasonal Sundays.
– The Tablescaper
Mary, you are a genius with food, style, and photography!!! I love this…and need chocolate!
I adored reading Sarah’s post about this charming book and now love yours, Mary! I am going to make a point about visiting “Chocolate Chocolate” the next time I visit Washington DC. I like your truffle recipe! I ahve a whole Pinterest folder for candy so I’m pinning your truffle recipe in! Thanks!
I enjoyed reading this book on your recommendation…and I notice that Michael Lee West commented above…You introduced me to her books and I have now read all of them!