Sweets for the Sweet Laura Florand Discusses her 'Chocolate' Series
BY FAYE M. DASEN
Get ready for Valentine's Day at The Country Bookshop Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 11 a.m. as Laura Florand discusses her book "The Chocolate Thief."
Florand is a Romance studies professor at Duke University.
She will bring samples of Valrhona chocolate for those attending to taste.
In the book, handsome Frenchman Sylvain Marquis, whose artisanal chocolate is the stuff of legend, and the American empress of chocolate bars, Cade Corey, play a decadent game of seduction and subterfuge that causes them both to melt with desire.
Florand says there has been a connection between chocolate and romance "forever."
"Anytime we offer food to someone, we are saying we value that person and want to nourish him and give him a good life," she says. "But chocolate goes so far beyond basic human survival, beyond need, and sometimes beyond even self-acknowledged want. When we offer delicious chocolate, we are feeding someone with delight, with pleasure. When you give someone you love a beautiful, quality box of chocolates, you are saying, 'I want you to be delighted. You deserve to sink into this wonderful, sensual pleasure. Embrace it. It makes me happy to give this pleasure to you.' Or in other words, 'I love you. Just the way you are and to the fullest and happiest you can be.' That's the epitome of romance!"
Florand spent time in Paris in research with chocolate makers.
"I did research with Michel Chaudun, Jacques Genin, two top chocolatiers, and Laurent Jeannin, who is the chef patissier at the Michelin three-star restaurant at Le Bristol, one of the palace hotels in Paris," says Florand.
She says that none of the characters in her book are based on any person.
"But I would say there are certain traits that are common to the top people in this profession, and these fascinate me, and I do try to convey them in my characters: drive, determination, an indefatigable capacity for work, passion, perfectionism, an arrogance that has a very vulnerable side (I am the best ... I have to be better), and above all sensuality. These are people who really sink everything into the senses, and into giving the maximum amount of sensual pleasure to whoever bites into something they make."
Florand's next book is "The Chocolate Touch," which comes out in August of this year.
"For those who have read "The Chocolate Thief," this is the story of Dominique Richard, the rebel chocolatier who drives Sylvain crazy, and Cade Corey's younger sister Jaime," she says. "The fourth Chocolate book, 'The Chocolate Heart,' comes out in December, and meanwhile, we'll be launching a series I'm doing set in Provence, with a novella in a Christmas anthology that comes out in October of this year."
"Please join us before your downtown lunch plans," says Kimberly Daniels, bookshop manager.
For information, call (910) 692-3211.
Contact Faye Dasen at (910) 693-2475 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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