Beyond the Pane is Pleasure: A Chocolat Review
None are allowed to see what Vianne is concocting behind the windows concealed with newspaper. Away from the public eye, Vianne paints the walls of her shop with Mayan designs and places tribal sculptures on the shelves with care. Young schoolboys peek through the miniscule slivers in between the newspaper; their only means to observe the magic happening within its walls. They watch as the grinding of the cocoa beans begins. With a knowing smile Vianne stirs the cocoa into a chocolaty paste, swirling around and around the luscious, thick brown mixture in her cauldron of temptation and passion. Platters are loaded with delights such as gleaming gold-foiled chocolate stars, balls of chocolate dipped in ganache, and red-foiled hearts to please the eye as well as the tongue, mind, and heart. They are artfully arranged inside the masked display window. At last, Vianne tears down the newspaper for all to see. The townspeople’s hurried pace to Mass slows down as they pass the new, most sensational store in town. They cast looks of contempt at these dangerously tempting treats and…its shopkeeper. “I heard she was some kind of radical,” one townsperson murmurs. “I heard she was an atheist,” whispers another. As Vianne proudly hangs her sign, “Chocolaterie Maya” she knows that her business hinges on the content of her customers, and the approval of the town’s pious mayor, Comte de Reynaud. The Comte is not pleased at all with Lansquenet’s newest residents. It is the holy time of Lent when Vianne and her young daughter Anouk follow the North Wind to his quiet town. During this time of solemnity and conservatism, she dares to open up a chocolaterie—a place where human yearnings are devoured in truffles and quenched in hot cocoa. Vianne persuades the townspeople to indulge in that they will not give themselves. She transforms Josephine, an abused housewife, who...