If you are planning to study CHOCOLAT as part or a reading group, here are a few resources that might help.
Chocolate has a long and rich history and folklore. Find out more about it here!
Want to accompany your discussion with some chocolate recipes? Try these chocolate cocktails from David Greenwood-Haigh…
Or you could impress your fellow-group members with this simple flourless chocolate cake from my Little Book of Chocolat…
Questions for group discussion:
- Like Mary Poppins, Vianne Rocher arrives on the wind. Why do you think the author chose to introduce her in such a fairytale fashion? What does the wind mean to Vianne and Anouk?
- Vianne believes in “domestic magic”. What do you understand by this phrase?
- Vianne can tell a person’s character by the way they relate to food, especially chocolate. What do you think can be revealed by the way someone approaches food?
- Reynaud is suspicious of Vianne from the start, and yet finds it hard to keep away from her. How do you explain his attitude?
- Vianne is different from the other women in the village, and makes no real effort to fit in. In what way does this attitude divide the community?
- Reynaud sees Vianne’s shop as an affront to the Church and the spirit of Lent. Is he justified in this, or is he using religion as an excuse to impose his own rules?
- What do you think is the role of Anouk’s invisible friend, Pantoufle? Why do you think she needs him?
- Vianne is especially good at finding ways to bring shy and lonely people out of themselves. How does she do this, and what do you think it reveals about her?
- Reynaud is the village priest, and yet finds it quite hard to connect with his flock. What do you think is the reason for this?
- Armande calls Vianne a witch. What do you think she means by this?
- Reynaud creates a “Church, not chocolate” situation in the village in the hope of bringing his flock back into the fold. In what way does this plan backfire?
- The arrival of the river people gives Renaud further ammunition against Vianne. Why?
- Vianne dreams of settling down, and yet feels that she is never going to be accepted in Lansquenet. Why do you think she feels this way?
- Vianne’s paganism is genuinely warm and kind, whereas Reynaud’s religious faith is decidedly chilly. What do you think the author is trying to convey about the concept of goodness?
- Armande knows she is putting her health at at risk by eating chocolate. And yet she encourages Vianne to throw her a lavish dinner party. Why?
- The people of Lansquenet are mostly hostile to the river folk. Why? What does this say about this type of community?
- What is the importance of magic in this novel, and what do you think the author is trying to convey about the concept of belief?
- Sensuality plays an important role in the story. How does the author use it, and to what end?
- Vianne combats the Church’s idea that morality is automatically linked to religion. Where do you think our sense of morality comes from, and how does it come across in our lives?
- A sense of place in a story can be as important as the characters themselves. How does the author establish a sense of place in the novel, and what do you think is the effect of this?