Beach Reads, Flicks, & Tunes | #PodSaveChocolate Ep53

Beach Reads, Flicks, & Tunes | #PodSaveChocolate Ep53

Episode 53 of #PodSaveChocolate: Top book, movie, and music recommendations for chocolate-loving Summer beach-goers.

When and Where to Watch

The LIVE episode starts at 10:00 AM PDT/MST (11:00 MDT, 12:00 CDT, 13:00 EDT), on Tuesday, June 25th, 2024.
Updated after the episode to include two more books: 1491 by Charles Mann and The International Cocoa Trade by Robin Dand.
Join the conversation LIVE!

This is the third episode of PodSaveChocolate that is only streaming LIVE to YouTube. I want to see if streaming to a single platform increases overall engagement. Keep in mind that to comment or ask questions you must have a YouTube account.
Beach Reads, Flicks, & Tunes | #PodSaveChocolate Ep53
Episode 53 OverviewIt’s hot. Dang, it’s hot ... and many people at this time of year pine longingly to get out of their humdrum day-to-day to spend long leis…

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Episode 53 Overview

It’s hot. Dang, it’s hot ... and many people at this time of year pine longingly to get out of their humdrum day-to-day to spend long leisurely days at a beach working on their tans and consuming media.

Hard for me to do as I am in Arizona, at least 300 hundred miles [~500 kilometers] from the nearest ocean beach.

For decades, Beach Reading has meant books. Real. Physical. Books.

But these days the Summer Beach Read means more than a trashy bodice ripper or legal drama – books, movies, and songs can all be consumed on a device.

Following are some recommendations for how to spend some free time this summer whether you are at the beach or not, educating and entertaining yourself with chocolate-themed books, movies, and songs.

Do you have a favorite that’s not listed below? Please let us know in the comments! Not a member? There’s a sign-up box at the bottom of this post.

Beach Reading List

For History, Cookbooks, Inspiration, and more

I have added rating stars to each book listed below. If this book is in your collection already, please rate it!

The True History of Chocolate: 3rd Edition

“A beautifully written . . . and illustrated history of the Food of the Gods, from the Olmecs to present-day developments.”―Chocolatier

This delightful tale of one of the world’s favorite foods draws on botany, archaeology, and culinary history to present a complete and accurate history of chocolate.

If you buy only one general introductory history of chocolate book – this is the one to buy. I have a copy of the first edition, first published in 2006. I was fortunate to meet and correspond with Michael and was the head of the panel for The Big Chocolate Show that recognized him as a Legend of Chocolate in 2017.

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Buy now on Amazon (affiliate link)

Discover Chocolate: The Ultimate Guide to Buying, Tasting, and Enjoying Fine Chocolate

My book. Published in October 2007. It’s a little dated today in some aspects of the history and brands, but there is still a lot of relevant information here.

“A connoisseur's guide to acquiring and consuming the world's best chocolates is a lavishly illustrated reference that provides information on cocoa-growing regions, makes recommendations for pairing chocolate with wine, and addresses the latest claims about the health benefits of chocolate.”

Finalist in the Technical/Reference category of the 2008 IACP book awards.

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

The Jaguar and the Cacao Tree (Max and the Code of Harvests)

Max Hammond has a life other science-obsessed boys his age only dream of: he travels the world with his bee researcher dad and science writer mom. When the Hammond family arrives in Guatemala to study the enigmatic stingless bees of the Maya, Max meets Itzel, a young Maya girl who introduces him to the magic and wonders of rainforest gardens and animal spirit guides. It’s a world that transforms the meaning of all the science Max has ever learned—but its magic is not always benevolent.

Birgitte is a contributor to TheChocolateLife. This book is in the magical realism genre and is the one book on this list accessible to younger readers as well as adults.

Buyn on Amazon (affiliate link)

The New Taste of Chocolate, Revised: A Cultural & Natural History of Cacao with Recipes [A Cookbook]

More than two hundred years ago, the great Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus christened the cacao tree Theobroma cacao, “food-of-the-gods cacao.” Truly, chocolate is the closest thing we mortals have to ambrosia. But not all chocolate is created equal, a fact we instinctively know when we bite into an exceptional piece of chocolate. What qualities set artisanal chocolate apart from mass-marketed brands? How does chocolate impact our health? How will the rising popularity of microbatch chocolate affect the industry? To find out, The New Taste of Chocolate, Revised takes us on a journey beginning with Maya and Aztec chocolate rituals, followed by exploring the significance of cacao through the ages, up through groundbreaking contemporary genetic discoveries.

I bought my copy in 2008. Make sure you order the revised edition published in 2009.

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Seriously Bitter Sweet: The Ultimate Dessert Maker's Guide to Chocolate

These days, people are accustomed to seeing chocolate labeled 54%, 61%, or 72% on grocery store shelves, but some bakers are still confused by what the labeling means and how to use it. In Seriously Bitter Sweet, Alice Medrich presents 150 meticulously tested, seriously delicious recipes―both savory and sweet―for a wide range of percentage chocolates. “Chocolate notes” appear alongside, so readers can further adapt any recipe using the percentage chocolate on hand. The book is a complete revision of Alice’s 2003 Bittersweet, which was named the 2004 IACP Cookbook of the Year. 

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

If you can find a copy, The Essence of Chocolate authored by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg is an interesting read, combining history, with personal journey stories, as well as recipes.

The Chocolate Connoisseur: For Everyone with a Passion for Chocolate

A chocolate lover's guide celebrates the world's finest confectioneries as it explains how to tell the difference between good and bad chocolate, introduces new brands of gourmet chocolate to be savored, offers a connoisseur's tips on how to taste chocolate, and presents an entertaining history, lore, myths, and recipes.

I purchased a copy in 2006. Now dated.

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Chocolate in Mesoamerica: A Cultural History of Cacao

Winner of the Society for Economic Botany's Mary W. Klinger Book Award

"A triumph of four-field anthropology. Botany, archaeology, linguistics, ethnography, and a small bit of physical anthropology are seamlessly united. . . . Without integration of the fields, few or none of the interesting conclusions in this work could have been reached."--American Anthropologist

"Contains a watershed of interesting and exciting information. . . . For those with a serious interest in food history and foodways, it is an invaluable source of up-to-date information on one of the most beloved and revered foodstuffs in the Americas."--Austin Chronicle

I pre-ordered this book in 2008 before it was published in 2009. Highly recommended. One of the article authors is Nat Bletter, who went on to found Madre Chocolate.

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

The Chocolate Tree: A Natural History of Cacao

The Chocolate Tree chronicles the natural and cultural history of Theobroma cacao and explores its ecological niche. Tracing cacao’s journey out of the rain forest, into pre-Columbian gardens, and then onto plantations adjacent to rain forests.

I purchased a copy of this book back in 2007; highly recommended.

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Other Reference

The Secret Life of Chocolate

A fascinating guide to the history and medical uses of cacao. The Secret Life of Chocolate is a book about chocolate. Not the sweet, mass-produced fatty confection most of us are familiar with, though/ This book is about old-school chocolate; pre-Colombian, Central American, bitter-spicy-foamy-intense blow-your-socks-off chocolate; chocolate beverages made with toasted cocoa beans, water, and indigenous plants.

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

The Economics of Chocolate

This book, written by global experts, provides a comprehensive and topical analysis on the economics of chocolate. While the main approach is economic analysis, there are important contributions from other disciplines, including psychology, history, government, nutrition, and geography. 

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

The International Cocoa Trade

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate

This absorbing narrative follows the craft community of French chocolatiers—members of a tiny group experiencing intensive international competition—as they struggle to ensure the survival of their businesses. Susan J. Terrio moves easily among ethnography, history, theory, and vignette, telling a story that challenges conventional views of craft work, associational forms, and training models in late capitalism. 

I purchased this book in ~2005 and highly recommend it.

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

The Genetic Diversity of Cacao and its Utilization

This book provides a comprehensive review of our current [2005] knowledge of the diversity of the species. 

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Cocoa and Chocolate, 1765-1914

Cocoa and Chocolate,1765-1914 focuses on the period from the Seven Years War, to the First World War, when a surge of economic liberalism and globalization should have helped cocoa producers to overcome rural poverty, just as wool transformed the economy of Australia, and tea that of Japan.

I purchased this book back in 2007

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Cocoa Pioneer Fronts since 1800: The Role of Smallholders, Planters and Merchants

The livelihood of Third World farmers conflicts with saving the remaining tropical forests. The advantages of growing cocoa in cleared primary forest drive from the fertility of virgin soils and low concentrations of weeds, pests and diseases. The consequent emergence of new 'pioneer fronts' has also been affected by cheap labour, relative commodity prices, pests and diseases, credit resources, entrepreneurship, information, physical infrastructures, and government policies. The dynamism of smallholdings and competitive private marketing over estates and marketing boards is demonstrated.

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Chocolate, women and empire: A social and cultural history (Studies in Imperialism, 80)

From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Chocolat, from romantic gift to guilty indulgence, chocolate has a special place in Western popular culture. But what are the hidden histories behind this luxurious commodity? This book examines chocolate production from cocoa bean to chocolate box, illuminating the dynamics of gender, race and empire which have structured the cocoa chain.

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)


Chocolat (2000) ⭐ 7.2 | Drama, Romance
2h 1m | PG-13

IMO, the finest cast ever assembled for a movie featuring chocolate: Juliet Binoche, Johnny Depp, Judy Dench, Lena Olin, Alfred Molina, Carrie-Anne Moss, John Wood, Peter Stormare, AND Leslie Caron!

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) ⭐ 7.8 | Adventure, Comedy, Family
1h 40m | G

The OG.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) ⭐ 6.7 | Adventure, Comedy, Family
1h 55m | PG

The Tim Burton remake. I think Johnny Depp is the only actor to show up on this list more than once

Wonka (2023) ⭐ 7.0 | Adventure, Comedy, Family
1h 56m | PG

Wonka’s Origin Story.

Like Water for Chocolate (1992) ⭐ 7.1 | Drama, Romance
1h 45m | R
Romantics Anonymous (2010) ⭐ 6.8 | Comedy, Romance
1h 20m | PG-13
Nightcap (2000) ⭐ 6.7 | Crime, Drama, Mystery
1h 41m | Not Rated

Original title: Merci pour le chocolat

Dripping in Chocolate (TV Movie 2012) ⭐ 6.2 | Crime, Drama, Mystery
1h 30m
The Chocolate War (1988) ⭐ 6.6 | Drama
1h 44m | R

More Wonka! No other movie on this list has inspired so many others to comment.

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory Pitch Meeting
Step inside the pitch meeting that led to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!Subscribe for more Pitch Meetings: Wonka and the Ch…
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Lost in Adaptation ~ The Dom
Charlie made it through the factory but then got lost in adaptation and The Dom splits time and space in order to bring you both versions of the film.Decided…
Laws Broken: Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
⚖️ Do you need a great lawyer? I can help! ⚖️How long would Willy Wonka go to jail? Are Oompa Loompas legal? How much d…
Golden Ticket - SNL
Charlie (Kristen Stewart) is not pleased when he learns his grandpa (Pete Davidson) has been able to walk this whole time. [Season 42, 2017]#SNLSubscribe to…

And of course, SNL had to have its Wonka moment!

The Best of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory | Robot Chicken | Adult Swim
SUBSCRIBE to Adult Swim UK: harrowing exposé into the gothic working conditions Oompa Loompas find themselves in.Own all of Robot Chic…

What kind of world would this be without Adult Swim taking their shot? (Not one I want to live in.)


BABYMETAL - ギミチョコ!!- Gimme chocolate!! (OFFICIAL)
BABYMETAL 1st full album “BABYMETAL” available!!Available on iTunes Store worldwide & CD web store.Don’t miss it!![iTunes Store]…

I am not generally a fan of metal – but I can’t see anyone hating on this. Click here for the lyrics in English. There is a link on this page to the pronunciation of the Japanese lyrics (romanization).

Chocolate (A Choco Choco) lyrics
I went on holiday to the Turkey Holiday Village and the entertainment team done like 4 times a day :|It got annoying :P

Like a chocolate version of Macarena – may not be suitable for younger listeners.

Tom Waits - Chocolate Jesus
Tom Waits - Chocolate Jesus
Tastes Like Milk Chocolate (Nirvana Parody) | Young Jeffrey’s Song of the Week
Even the Easter Bunny needs a break sometimes! Instead of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” it’s Young Jeffrey’s “Tastes Like Milk Chocolate”Make sure to s…

Spoiler alert: Parody

In Love with Chocolate (“Sound of Silence” parody)
Want more laughs? Try out my comedic Urban Fantasy/SciFi/Fantasy books!http://johnplogsdon.comThanks to Lorelei Logsdon for stuffing a pillow in my shirt and…

Spoiler alert: Another parody

Get the MOVIES, MUSICALS & ME Soundtrack here:! For all you Halpert-Heads!http://stark…

Spoiler alert: Still yet another parody. The link takes you to 3:22 in, when the song starts.

“Chocolate Rain” Original Song by Tay Zonday
“Chocolate Rain” original song by Tay Zonday.🔥🔥More singing! 🔥🔥 me on Inst…

The OG – published way back in 2007!


If you have questions, you can ask them live during the episode or, if you are a ChocolateLife member, you can ask them in the Comments below at any time.

#BeachReads #BeachWatches #BeachListens
#cocoa #cacao #cacau
#chocolate #chocolat #craftchocolate
#PodSaveChocolate #PodSaveChoc
#LaVidaCocoa #TheChocolateLife

Future Episodes

Friday, June 28th – AVPA Awards Show
Chocolates made at origin (in a producing country).
Friday, July 5th – World Chocolate Day Celebration
World Chocolate Day is Sunday, July 7th.
Tuesday, July 9th – Interview with David Nilsen, Bean to Barstool Podcast, Part 2
Part 1 will take place over on Bean to Barstool and will take a look at pairing beer and chocolate from the perspective of beer. Part 2 will take a look at pairing chocolate and beer from the perspective of chocolate.

#PodSaveChocolate and #TheChocolateLifeLIVE Archives

To read an archived post and find the links to watch archived episodes, click on one of the bookmark cards, below.

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News, views, and conversations on topics in cocoa and chocolate streamed live to YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook. #PodSaveChocolate!
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News, views, and conversations on topics in cocoa and chocolate streamed live to YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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