Books and chocolate...sigh. There's pleasure just in thinking about the combination. But what would be ideal reading with which chocolate? This is the question posed by the great chocolate book tag challenge, accepted from my blog friend Gill at A Head in a Book. As I try to do with real chocolate, I have gone for quality over quantity, and have limited myself to two choices, but I hope they look as delicious to you as they are to me.
Candied orange and clementine dipped in bitter dark chocolate would be a perfect accompaniment to Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins, a bitter-sweet love story that begins in Italy in 1962 and fizzes with humour and satire. (Couldn't resist adding the mock-orange blossom, Philadelphus.) I loved this novel, from the opening line: "The dying actress arrived in his village the only way one could come directly - in a boat that motored into the cove, lurched past the rock jetty, and bumped against the end of the pier." The quality of the writing is a constant delight, as are Walter's observations and cynicism about the film industry both then and now.
A white chocolate shard studded with pieces of nut and dried fruit would go beautifully with Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation, 1918-1940 by D J Taylor. This is one of those books I pick up and dip into - and end up re-reading completely because it's so good. A bit like thinking I will only eat part of the white chocolate shard. And the book is equally full of fruit and nutcases: the mad party world of Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford. But who were they all, these "vile bodies" and what became of them after their gilded youth? Highly recommended if you enjoy literary connections and the novels of the period.
I'm aware I haven't risen to the full chocolate challenge, but the baton is anyone's to take up! If you go over to Gill's blog, you can see how it's supposed to be done. Post me - and her - a link if you do.