Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chocolate Research


Doing research has always
been my favorite part of the writing process. In the last few years it’s become the easiest thing to do. Sitting at my kitchen table with my laptop and fast DSL I can gather more information than I could ever use.
Some information, however, falls short in stimulating my senses when viewed from my computer screen. When doing research for my Love by Chocolate Series, I refused to limit myself to an internet search. I needed to experience the tastes, smells, and textures of the decadent food I was writing about.  

This dreamy, creamy research never ends. I’m working on book #3, Chocolate Muse, and still take advantage of any opportunity to expand my chocolate knowledge (hopefully not my waistline too). 

On my recent trip to New Zealand, I discovered a great chocolate shop, Schoc Chocolate. The wonderful chocolatier guided me through an extraordinary chocolate tasting. I failed miserably at every attempt to identify the top flavors blended with the rich dark chocolate. Reluctantly, I limited my purchase to a lemon & cracked pepper and a lime & chili bar. Excess baggage charges can be heavy. 

I am not a chocolate snob! I also toured the NZ Cadbury factory. They offer varieties not sold in the US. Once again I over indulged. Nothing compares to hands on research. 

What’s your favorite chocolate?  How do you do your research?
Eat chocolate everyday and visit me at


Elisabeth Rose said...

Oh Zelda, the hardship. You know, I have two friends who don't like chocolate?!

The best chocolate has real cocoa butter not any other sort of oil or fat. Belgian chocolate---yummmmm

The internet has to be the single best research aid for a writer. I find houses for sale in the area I want my character to live and steal the interior floor plan from one, the view from another, the garden, the decor --anything's up for grabs. And money is no object LOL

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Yum, Zelda. What a way to do research!

Debby Mayne said...

Chocolate research? Now that's something I could sink my teeth into! I love it!

I love all chocolate, but my favorite is Lindt dark.

Most of my research is done via the Internet and with phone calls. Occasionally, I make a trip to the library, but there are so many great online resources, it's not often necessary.

Zelda Benjamin said...

Oh the sacrifices we sometimes have to make when working on a story.
After all my tasting experiences, I'm even more unsure which kind I like best. Dark or milk, solid or filled or whatever I'm eating at the moment.
Lis, Your poor friends- a life without chocolate. Hard to imagine.

Allison Chase said...

I agree, Zelda, the internet is great, but there's nothing like hands-on sensory experience! As far as I'm concerned all chocolate is good - light, white, dark - although I eat more dark now because of the health benefits, lol!

Carol Hutchens said...

Now you've caught my attention ...mmm...chocolate!
Love the house-hunting idea, Lis.

Sierra Donovan said...

Can't say I've actually researched chocolate ... just call me an enthusiastic amateur!

Dove makes just about the best chocolate around. I discovered this long ago, when it was just a thin layer wrapped around those frozen vanilla Dove Bars. Even in that less-than-a-sixteenth-of-an-inch ... SO creamy.

There's something special about the chocolate they use for those hollow Easter bunnies, too. Thin, again ... but they have a sugar-grainy sort of texture that I really like.

It's always strange to come across someone who doesn't care for chocolate. Kind of like the people who say they don't like music. It's almost like missing one of the five senses!

Rochelle said...

Anytime your research finds you new and interesting chocolates I would be happy to learn from your experience. And anytime you want to try out a chocolate recipe on me you know I am always available. Your friend in food, Rochelle

Sandy Cody said...

Researching chocolate - what a job!

Melissa said...

I just love simple milk chocolate, but researching chocolate sounds like a delicious job!

Joani Ascher said...

It's a wonderful idea choosing to write about chocolate, but how do you describe Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

Carolyn said...

I love chocolate. I freely admit I'm a chocoholic, but did you know, the smell of chocolate being processed at the factory is gross? Yep, it is.

I once toured the M&M Factory in Hackettstown, New Jersey, which I'm sad to say, is no longer there, but the smell was so bad I didn't touch chocolate for about . . . an hour! LOL