Chocolate Always Brings Heartfelt Memories.
Care Santos tells us about Desig de xocolata, winner of the Ramon Llull 2013 author’s prize.
Your novel binds the lives of three women from different periods with chocolate and a white chocolate porcelain jug. Why did you choose this ingredient?
Chocolate is with us all our lives and immediately evokes wholesome things. However chocolate in this case is the link to deal with other things, the struggle these women have with their fate, with their love of life and their passion.
Where did you get the idea?
While I was documenting for another novel, by chance I came across a chocolate maker from the eighteenth century, Fernandez, who invented the first machine for making solid chocolate (previously it was always a drink). It was so notorious that a commission was sent from Paris to investigate the device. For a time the apparatus was on show at the Chocolate Guild and then disappeared, like Fernandez, leaving no trace.
What do these three women have in common; Sarah, 21st Century, Aurora, 19th Century, and Mariana, 18th Century?
Nothing, except that each is the daughter of her own time. Sarah is a modern day, independent woman who has built her own company; Aurora is low class and it seems has mortgaged her own future, but an unexpected turn of events could change her destiny. In fact, her story is a reflection of the clash of classes in society at the time. Finally Mariana, who is inspired by a real case is the genuine fighter because she has to face a very male chauvinistic Chocolate Guild who want to prevent her from becoming a chocolate master, in fact it is said that she made the best chocolate in Barcelona ….
Could you be claiming Barcelona is the Chocolate Capital then?
Well when it comes to chocolate one immediately thinks of Paris, Brussels or Zurich, but Barcelona has many good master chocolatiers, similar to Fernandez from the 18th Century, or even Mr Escribà nowadays, I mean Antoni Escribà senior, who wrote a textbook on the architecture of chocolate in the 1960’s that was translated into four languages.
Care Santos admits that she likes all kinds of chocolate but her absolute favourites are the ones with a bit of kick, such as chocolate mixed with pepper and spice or a very refreshing chocolate, with mango.
One piece of advice? “When you want to make a great dessert, nothing better than chocolate poured over fruit. You will be a star”. Deulonder is well aware that passions about chocolate run high – ” 90% of the population say they love it and the other 10% are telling a fib”. Care Santos, smiles and thinks about a very special place she will use to store the different kinds of chocolate she has and all gadgets for preparing it.