READING THE CHOCOLATE ROOM

Updated: Oct 24

Please enjoy this blog in which I pair delectable chocolates from the Soneva Fushi Chocolate Room with the four books they remind me of. Was this blog post an elaborate ruse pitched to upper management in order to be given free rein in the Chocolate Room? Perhaps. Am I glad I did it? Absolutely. Do I recommend eating copious amounts of chocolate while reading? Always.


c. Julia Neeson, photographer and chocolate-taster extraordinaire


BIRTHDAY CAKE



Laced with dark humour, this is a colourful, confetti filled celebration for your mouth, one that feels like it’s on just the right side of indulgent. Best enjoyed with Oyinkan Braithwaite’s show-stopping satirical novel My Sister the Serial Killer. Korede is a Nigerian nurse who has grown up in the shadow of her vivacious and vibrant younger sister Ayoola. Ayoola is beautiful, but leaves a mess of murders in her wake, which Korede diligently cleans. My Sister the Serial Killer is as much a social commentary as a blackly comic novel, but Brathwaite’s deft writing style means the fun comes to the fore, like sprinkles on the top.


CHILLI



Innocently dusted with sweet cocoa powder, this dynamite bite of chilli chocolate packs a punch. For lovers of spice, it’s an exercise in delayed gratification as the smooth, creamy chocolate gives way to the manic rush of heat filling your mouth. Equally disorientating and delightful, Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas instantly came to mind as the ideal reading match. Anti-heroes Duke and Gonzo lament the loss of the 60s as they embark on a dizzying, drug-fueled charge through America’s desert playground. Filled with moments of fever-pitch madness and tongues that are left feeling scorched.


DARK CHOCOLATE



This little slab of chocolate intrigue brings a twist to a classic. It’s wickedly rich and wonderfully dark, but then it melts slowly in your mouth, revealing over time a rather wild and earthy taste that leaves you wanting more. I couldn’t think of a more perfect book to enjoy this with than Liz Nugent’s thrilling third novel Skin Deep. We meet our protagonist, Cordelia Russel, in the splendour and sophistication of the Cote D’Azur, but the beautiful life she’s sacrificed everything for is about to unravel, revealing a dark, unpredictable depth to an alluring woman. A deliciously addictive read.


PASSION FRUIT



Don’t be fooled by its beauty, this passion fruit dream is much more substance than style. A burst of tangy flavour dances on your taste buds from the very first bite, but its endless energy can be felt long after it’s gone. The defiant vitality of Eve Babitz’s Sex & Rage heroine Jacaranda strikes me as the chocolate’s model companion. Jacaranda, beautiful and wanted, floats through her 20s on the beaches of LA, leaving the surf only for cocktails and questionable liaisons. When her beauty begins to fade and her peers deem her finished, she refuses to be defined by their limits. Against all strong instruction, Jacaranda pursues a life of artistic expression and wild success, deciding to leave her own mark, rather than living as a muse.


Massive thank you to photographer and fellow chocolate - taster Julia Neeson who needed absolutely no convincing in helping me with this.

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