Bitter Chocolate: Investigating the Dark Side of the World's Most Seductive Sweet

Category: Book
By (author): Off, Carol
Subject:  BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / General
  BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Food Industry
  COOKING / General
  HISTORY / General
Awards: Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing (2006) Short-listed
National Business Book Award (2006) Short-listed
Publisher: Random House of Canada
Published: September 2007
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 7.98in x 5.22in
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*Award-winning author and broadcaster Carol Off reveals the fascinating- and often horrifying- stories behind our desire for all things chocolate.

Whether it's part of a Hallowe'en haul, the contents of a heart-shaped box or just a candy bar stashed in a desk drawer, chocolate is synonymous with pleasures both simple and indulgent. But behind the sweet image is a long history of exploitation. In the eighteenth century the European aristocracy went wild for the Aztec delicacy. In later years, colonial territories were ravaged and slaves imported in droves as native populations died out under the strain of feeding the world's appetite for chocolate.

Carol Off traces the origins of the cocoa craze and follows chocolate's evolution under such overseers as Hershey, Cadbury and Mars. In Côte d'Ivoire, the West African nation that produces nearly half of the world's cocoa beans, she follows a dark and dangerous seam of greed. Against a backdrop of civil war and corruption, desperately poor farmers engage in appalling practices such as the indentured servitude of young boys- children who don't even know what chocolate tastes like.

Off shows that, with the complicity of Western governments and corporations, unethical practices continue to thrive. Bitter Chocolate is a social history, a passionate investigative account and an eye-opening exposé of the workings of a multi-billion dollar industry that has institutionalized misery as it served our pleasures.


From the Hardcover edition.
Review Quote*Finalist FOR THE 2006 WRITERS' TRUST SHAUGHNESSY COHEN AWARD FOR POLITICAL WRITING

"In the style of Mark Kurlansky's Salt, Bitter Chocolate unravels chocolate's glittery packaging and uncovers an industry tainted by war and genocide
and child slavery."
Ottawa Xpress

"[Off] makes her case so strongly and with such nuanced flavour that the book becomes as hard to put down as a bar of Toblerone."
Shared Vision

"We know chocolate makers have their secrets–like how they get that caramel in there. That one, though, is pretty tame compared with the stuff unearthed in . . . Carol Off's new exposé, Bitter Chocolate."
Toronto Star

Praise for The Ghosts of Medak Pocket, winner of the Dafoe Book Prize:

"A first-class account . . . her prose is lively and her tone impassioned."
The Globe and Mail

Praise for The Lion, The Fox and the Eagle:

"This is an explosive look at what really happened in the failed peacekeeping missions in Sarajevo and Rwanda."
Ottawa Citizen
Biographical NoteCarol Off has witnessed and reported on many of the world's conflicts, from the fall of Yugoslavia to the US-led "war on terror." She has won numerous awards for her CBC television documentaries in Africa, Asia and Europe. She lives in Toronto.


From the Hardcover edition.