Written by Michael Leventhal
Illustrated by Laura Catalán
Recipe by Claudia Roden
Price: £10.99 / $12.99
Subject: A Spanish-Jewish family introduces chocolate to France
A historical tale about how chocolate first came to France – the result of Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition
Gently teaches children about religious intolerance, immigration, and the positive influence refugees and immigrants can have on the dominant culture
Includes Claudia Roden’s recipe for traditional Spanish hot chocolate
Beautifully illustrated throughout, with a foldout section on the making of chocolate
Benjamin loves chocolate. He also knows a lot about it. But one person knows more – his grandfather Marco, otherwise known as the Chocolate King.
Benjamin’s family arrive in France at the beginning of the 17th century, having escaped the Spanish Inquisition. They have nothing but the clothes on their backs and as many cocoa beans as they can carry.
Back in Spain, Benjamin’s grandfather Marco was El Rey de Chocolate, famed for his delicious hot chocolate drink, a recipe he claims he learned from an intrepid Spanish explorer. But now, if the family are to make a living, they must persuade the people of France to fall in love with Marco’s strange mud-coloured concoction. Benjamin is desperate to help, dreaming that he might grow up to wear the Chocolate King crown.
Then, one day, Benjamin causes chaos in the kitchen. Covered head-to-toe in chocolate, he stumbles into the street and straight into the path of the real King – the King of France.
Finally, the family get the breakthrough they need, and all of Benjamin’s dreams start to come true.
Michael Leventhal is the publisher of Greenhill Books and Green Bean Books. The Chocolate King is his first book for children and won a PJ Library Author Incentive Award.
‘Michael Leventhal introduces us to the history of chocolate and its Jewish connections. The descriptions are evocative and suitably regal – a ’thick dark dink, with a crown of wobbly foam”, while Laura Catalan’s charming illustrations are filled with precisely researched detail. A timeline, cocoa-bean facts, a talmudic moral and a Claudia Roden recipe are are included in this keepsake book for the whole family to enjoy.’ – Angela Kiverstein, The Jewish Chronicle