Pairing Books and Chocolate
We love this time of year. Long summer nights turning into snug fall evenings with a distant hint of winter in the air.
It's time to cozy up with a great chocolate bar and a good book.
We sat down with Icelandic author and our good friend, Johann Thorsson and asked him to pair some recent scary books with our chocolate bars, just in time for readers and chocolate lovers this Halloween season.
Snuggle up with your favorite chocolate bar and dive into one of these scary books.
A girl with an encyclopedic knowledge of horror movies, Jade Daniels tells us the story of her hometown Proofrock. As she narrates the history of the town, horror starts to occur.
Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges…a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body. My Heart Is a Chainsaw is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph.
2. Whitesands by Johann Thorsson, paired with Black N´ Burnt Barley.
This is the story of Detective John Dark, who just wants to keep looking for his daughter, who has been missing for two years. But he is pulled back into the homicide department after spending time out in the cold, and put on a very strange case.
And as the cases get stranger and the plot gets twisted, John Dark gets a new lead into his daughter’s disappearance. Time is running out, and he has to decide if he wants to risk his career again to chase down a thin lead.
3. The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig, paired with the S’mores Kit.
This is an old school scary story. The sort that reminds you of Stephen King at his best. Small towns with big secrets.
The Book of Accidents is about a family that moves to a small town. The son can feel other people’s pain, the mother makes sculptures that come to life and the father is a warden hunting down a serial killer that died in the electric chair years before - and is trying to claw his way back from death.
If that doesn’t sound like a formula for a good evening’s reading by a log fire making s’mores, I don’t know what is.
4. Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke - the surprise hit by Eric LaRocca, paired with Caramel.
Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke is the story of two women who strike up a romantic conversation over the IM of the early internet days. The relationship takes a sinister turn quite quickly and leaves the reader turning the pages.
It’s written in the style of an internet conversation but is surprisingly easy to read, and has sold copies in the thousands.
This fantastic (if a bit icky) novella by Eric LaRocca, paired with a bar of Caramel, is a recipe for a perfect evening.
5. The Last House on Needless Street eftir Catriona Ward, paired with Superchocoberrybarleynibblynuttylicious.
This is a story about a girl looking for her sister. It is also the story of Ted, who lives alone with a cat and is perhaps a serial killer. The cat can read, and its tail is sometimes a question mark.
Ted has a daughter who is sometimes with him and sometimes goes away. Maybe Ted is holding a girl captured in a box in his house. The Last House on Needless Street is a fantastic puzzle of a book, at turns horrifying and gentle. We pair this with Superchocoberry - and just know that this will go down well. Dark chocolate sprinkled with cranberries, salted almonds, puffed barley and cacao nibs.
6. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, paired with Peru 100%.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
And to make your reading even better - a recently rediscovered strain of cocoa bean, thought to be extinct. Deliciously dark and complex.
7. Dream Girl by Laura Lippman, paired with Sea Salted Almonds.
Injured in a freak fall, novelist Gerry Andersen is confined to a hospital bed in his glamorous high-rise apartment, dependent on two women he barely knows: his incurious young assistant, and a dull, slow-witted night nurse.
Then late one night, the phone rings. The caller claims to be the “real” Aubrey, the alluring title character from his most successful novel, Dream Girl. But there is no real Aubrey. She’s a figment born of a writer’s imagination, despite what many believe or claim to know. Could the cryptic caller be one of his three ex-wives playing a vindictive trick after all these years? Or is she Margot, an ex-girlfriend who keeps trying to insinuate her way back into Gerry’s life?
And why does no one believe that the call even happened?
Pair this chilling mystery with some of Omnom’s Sea Salted Almonds chocolate. Just remember to lock the door first.
8. When Things Get Dark - stories inspired by Shirley Jackson, edited by Ellen Datlow paired with Madagascar 66%
Sometimes you don’t want a whole book. Sometimes you just want a nibble. Ellen Datlow is the queen of horror short stories - a master curator that just does not get it wrong.
And here we have a collection of new and exclusive short stories inspired by, and in tribute to, Shirley Jackson. You know Shirley Jackson from the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, her fantastic novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle or from her classic short story The Lottery.
When Things Get Dark allows us to see Shirleys influence in the stories of some of today's greatest genre writers. And what better to nibble as you read, but a bit of Omnom Madagascar 66% chocolate.
9. Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby, paired with Cookies + Cream.
A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance.
Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.
The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.
Razorblade Tears is a fantastic and beautiful novel, rich with emotion. Destined to be a classic.
We recommend a few bars of Cookies + Cream with this one. And some tissues.
10. Children of Chicago by Cynthia Pelayo, paired with Lakkrís + Sea Salt.
This horrifying retelling of the Pied Piper fairytale set in present-day Chicago is an edge of your seat, chills up the spine, thrill ride.
When Detective Lauren Medina sees the calling card at a murder scene in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, she knows the Pied Piper has returned. When another teenager is brutally murdered at the same lagoon where her sister’s body was found floating years before, she is certain that the Pied Piper is not just back, he’s looking for payment he’s owed from her.
This is a dark and gripping story, which is also how people describe Lakkris + Sea Salt. The perfect pairing.
Johann Thorsson is a Icelandic writer of fiction with a supernatural slant, mainly short stories, mainly in English. His breakout first novel, the supernatural thriller WHITESANDS, is out now and already getting rave reviews.