Bookworms, rejoice. Open Book Chocolates is a newly-established chocolate company with a dream to embody the stories, characters, and settings of classic literature in its flavors.
There are few things in life that marry more perfectly than an engaging book and a hefty bar of good-quality chocolate. At the end of a long day, curling up to read is a wonderful act of self-care, and adding the occasional nibble of the sweet stuff to the mix can only make things better – chocolate does, after all, contain phenylethylamine, which encourages the brain to release endorphins and helps us relax into the escape offered by a great story.
As a plot device and metaphor, food features heavily in plenty of our favorite works of fiction, and often, sugary goodness holds extra prominence. From the curiosity-piquing notion of Harry Potter’s Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans to the charming chocolate shop at the center of Chocolat by Joanne Harris, we read about – and savour the descriptions of – creative foodie treats again and again. It’s little wonder that a cozy night in with a book often leaves us with a sweet tooth.
Well, chocoholics and bibliophiles, get excited. Newly-created chocolate producer and distributor Open Book Chocolates is here to cater to your mind and your tastebuds alike. Founded by writer, illustrator, and self-proclaimed chocolate-lover G.E. Gallas, best known for the William Blake graphic novel The Poet and the Flea and for illustrating Sara Latta’s Scared Stiff: Everything You Need to Know About 50 Famous Phobias, Open Book Chocolates is a Washington D.C.-based enterprise that aims to produce all-natural, handmade organic chocolates in the United States. The venture operates in association with Birmingham Chocolate of Michigan to develop a series of unique and delicious literary flavors.
To begin with, the company has made three signature chocolate bar flavors available for purchase through its Kickstarter campaign, through which Gallas hopes to raise enough revenue to begin brainstorming and moulding out new variations. These three flavors encapsulate the importance of indulging the senses in any well-told story, and are sure to tingle the tastebuds with the very essence of the plots, characters, and settings they were developed to reflect. To accommodate different chocolate preferences even at this early stage, they currently offer one bar each of the milk, dark, and white chocolate variety.
The first flavor is an Alice in Wonderland-inspired creation, with candied rose petals enrobed in a silky milk chocolate. The concept of the bar was found in the scene where Alice stumbles across the Queen of Heart’s playing card soldiers working hard to paint a garden of white roses red, as the Queen famously loathes the white. To be a little less biased than the decapitation-obsessed monarch, Open Book Chocolates have featured sweet rose petals in both red and white colors in their Alice in Wonderland bar, representing both the playing cards and the painted flowers.
The idea for the next bar came from an iconic scene in Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo. After finally escaping an unjust imprisonment, the Count arrives in Paris to rekindle his romance with his former lover, Mercédès. However, he is shocked to discover that she has married his rival in his absence. At a ball in her home, Mercédès escorts the count to the greenhouse, where she offers him a bunch of Muscat grapes as a token of “eternal friendship.” The Count rejects her offer, telling her that such friendships are rare. With sweet Muscat raisins and complex dark chocolate, a taste experience like this one is also rare, and it’s unlikely that, like the Count, you’ll be able to turn your back if this bar is on the table.
Lastly, a Sherlock Holmes chocolate bar evokes two of the sleuth’s most classic adventures with black tea and honey infused into rich white chocolate: in The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet, Holmes and Watson discuss the mystery of their case in 221B Baker Street over steaming cups of tea, and in His Last Bow, the last Holmes story, Sherlock retires to the English countryside to take up beekeeping in peace. This is a treat that would make an ideal gift for any fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic headscratchers.
Each chocolate bar is beautifully presented in a brightly-colored sleeve, with lengthy extracts from the inspiring story in question printed all over to cement the literary experience inside and out. The chocolate within is wrapped for pristine freshness is silver foil, and the nutritional information is presented clearly on the back of all packaging.
Kickstarter pledge options range from $5 to $129, and feature rewards such as recycled notebooks, temporary tattoos, and bookmarks, as well as Open Book chocolate bars aplenty. A pledge of any size could make all the difference in bringing Open Book Chocolates some sweet, sweet success – and some sweet, sweet treats to the doorstep of the book-lover in your life, even if that book-lover is you. Happily ever after, indeed.