Synopses & Reviews
Joop Daalder, Dutch immigrant, has been an outsider from the first. Raised in a family of intellectuals and musicians, for which food was of no interest, he developed his taste buds on the sly, finding his vocation and true happiness as an apprentice to master-chocolatier Sorel in France. Our story begins years later, with Joop a long-time, celebrated chocolatier in Toronto. Then a super-deli is built next to his shop where three trendy "chocolatiers" steal his clients. The last straw is when the deli's car park is expanded and his shop has to be destroyed. Joop fights against it, alienating his wife and incurring the mockery of his son. In his search for perfection, Daalder's Chocolates is the fascinating tale of the bittersweet life of a real connoisseur.
"Dutch novelist Schogt follows up The Wild Numbers with this tale of a chocolatier knight-errant cast adrift in an increasingly corporatized, mass-produced universe. Joop Daalder, an elderly Dutch perfectionist and all-around crab, is forced to close his beloved chocolate shop in the face of competition from a corporate behemoth and its trio of tattooed and pierced 'rebel' chocolatiers. Flash back to Joop growing up the unloved baby of a musically oriented bourgeois family that has little patience for his culinary pursuits. On a class trip to France, Joop stumbles into a chocolate shop and discovers his calling. From France we go back to Holland and then on to Toronto, where Joop and his wife, Emma, realize their dream of opening their own shop. Entire decades vanish as quickly as they have appeared; Joop's unpleasantness is a constant, with Schogt using him to take shots at the barbarism of everyday life in the Wal-Mart era. They aren't enough to carry the book, but they make reading it paradoxically sweeter. Additional reviews can be found at " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)