Bitter chocolate : anatomy of an industry /
Carol Off.
Paperback edition.
New York ; London : New Press, 2014.
328 pages ; 25 cm.
1595589805 (paperback), 9781595589804 (paperback)
More Details
New York ; London : New Press, 2014.
1595589805 (paperback)
9781595589804 (paperback)
general note
Originally published: Toronto : Random House, 2006.
Bitter Chocolate traces the fascinating origins of chocolate from the banquet table of Montezuma's sixteenth-century Aztec court to the bustling factories of Hershey, Cadbury, and Mars today. Carol Off, an award-winning investigative journalist, tells the engaging stories of the visionary entrepreneurs who founded these companies and helped fuel our insatiable appetite for chocolate by revolutionizing its production. But she also digs deeper, revealing that slavery and injustice have always been key ingredients in the making of this much-coveted treat.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-03-01:
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 history of chocolate production, now a multibillion-dollar world industry. She first provides background on Europe's introduction to Central America's cacao tree and its adaptation of recipes to increase the appeal to European consumers. The history that follows, in which chocolate became a common part of North American and European diets, is filled with household names like Hershey and Cadbury and such multinational conglomerates as Archer Daniel Mills and Cargill. Citing the work of investigative journalists, Off hones in on today's cocoa producers, who face a perpetual shortage of labor. Journalists have uncovered use of child labor (possibly slave labor) in Africa; one of them, investigating child slavery in the Ivory Coast, has been missing since 2004. Off's investigative account will make readers think twice as they bite into that next piece of chocolate. Certainly suitable for both public and academic libraries.-Kristin Whitehair, Univ. of Kansas Medical Ctr., Lawrence (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Main Description
Hailed as "compelling" ( Kirkus ) and an "astonishing [and] wrenching story"( London Free Press ), Bitter Chocolate is an eye-opening look at one of our most beloved consumer products. It traces the fascinating origins and evolution of chocolate from the banquet table of Montezuma's Aztec court in the early sixteenth century to the bustling factories of Hershey, Cadbury, and Mars today, revealing that slavery and injustice have always been key ingredients. The heart of the book takes place in West Africa inside the Ivory Coast--the world's leading producer of cocoa beans--where profits from the multibillion-dollar chocolate industry fuel bloody civil war and widespread corruption. Faced with pressure from a crushing "cocoa cartel" demanding more beans for less money, poor farmers have turned to the cheapest labor pool possible: thousands of indentured children who pick the beans but have never themselves known the taste of chocolate. "An astounding eye-opener that takes no prisoners" ( Quill & Quire ), Bitter Chocolate is an absorbing social history, a passionate investigative account, and a shocking and urgent exposé of an industry that continues even now to institutionalize misery as it indulges our whims.

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