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

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Random House Canada, Jan 1, 2006 - Cooking - 326 pages
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.

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BITTER CHOCOLATE: The Dark Side of the World's Most Seductive Sweet

User Review  - Kirkus

The compelling untold story of a universal luxury that is unattainable to the very people who provide its most essential ingredient.Most of the world's chocolate is produced in some of the least ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this work, published in Canada in 2006, CBC reporter Off (The Lion, the Fox and the Eagle: A Story of Generals and Justice in Rwanda and Yugoslavia) explores the dark and bitter stories behind the ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Carol 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.

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