Thursday, November 30, 2006

Chocolate Comments: A Year of Reader Responses

The end of November marks one full year of Chocolate in Context. I started this blog in Guatemala, with a humble hot chocolate recipe. By the time I headed home to New York for Thanksgiving, I was feeling confident as a foodie and a traveler. Over the next twelve months, I based myself in Australia, but I found time to explore Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, India, France, and New Zealand, chronicling my cacao-themed adventures here on Chocolate in Context. It's been an incredible year, made even richer by the rapidly growing and enormously enthusiastic readership of this blog.

The first comments came from friends who knew me and my idiosyncratic affection for chocolate. Kelly celebrated the blog's title and Charles wished me a good round-the-world trip. My boyfriend, Chris, soon chimed in, as did Arthur, Louise, Carlos, and John. I showered praise on Leila (of the nightgrapefruit and everyday trash blogs) earlier this month, but I'll do it again--she's not only been an avid Chocolate in Context supporter from the beginning, but she's also been a loyal long-distance friend to me while I've been living in these other worlds called Guatemala and Australia.

Within a few weeks of my first post, chocolate fans whom I'd never heard of before were leaving their marks on Chocolate in Context. Kayenne was the first, followed by Pinkeagle, Cat, another Kat, Carol, Ange, Chanit, Polly + Dieter, Malin, Libby, and a few anonymous commenters. Melburnians (among them Cin, Plum, Haalo, and Ed) have shown enormous support for the articles I've written about chocolate here in my adopted home.

There have been some surprise guests too. A daughter-in-law of The True History of Chocolate author Michael Coe made an appearance, and food writer David Lebovitz has had more than one encouraging word to say. Mae offered to create a new banner for the website (I haven't yet decided on a redesign, but I appreciate the offer), and Betty wrote to welcome me to the Well Fed Network (a set of websites that I now regularly contribute to).

I've participated in a few food blogging events along the way, which resulted in terrific comments from Andrew, Sarah, An Occasional Chocolate, Stephanie, April, and the Lavender Cupcaker. When I hosted an event of my own, Vernon, Maki, Shelly, Jessica, Abby, and several other chocolate enthusiasts joined in.

A couple of controversial posts have provoked high-profile comments. When I gushed about Pierre Marcolini as a "Pure Origin Chocolate Gringo," founder Martin Christy warned against Marcolini-inspired hyperbole, pointing out that the chocolatier's "homemade" couverture has been exposed largely as a marketing hoax. Clotilde from the famous Chocolate & Zucchini blog insisted that I should have done more research before positioning myself as an authority on Marcolini. (Agreed, but I'm not certain that the histrionics were necessary.) Another statement that I made about the limited usefulness of organic chocolate lead to a fascinating response from one of the erudite founders of the Green and Black's chocolate company, Craig Sams.

One name that's conspicuously absent from this dialogue in comments is my own. That's intentional--call it my theory of authorship. I figure I've given myself plenty of time to organize my ideas and defend my positions in the articles I write for this blog, so I leave the public comments to others. I do, however, invite all of my readers to email me directly (my address is on the right side of this page). I promise to reply (more or less promptly) to every personal message that I receive.

I'm ready to embark on another year-long journey with Chocolate in Context. To all of my readers, especially those who took the time to leave such delightful comments, Thank you!


Blogger Ed said...

Congrats on a full year. I wish I could be so focused as to concentrate on a single theme. here's to more chocolate (apparently Truffe is at South Melbourne market as well now).

12:38 AM GMT-5  
Blogger K and S said...

Happy Blog Birthday! Looking forward to the next year!


12:43 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Dolores said...

Thank YOU. I'm not a regular commenter, but I am a regular reader and I've enjoyed your discoveries vicariously.

1:13 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might in passing want to check out the origins of "Cloclotilde".
C&Z would never make those spelling errors for one or those kinds of choco insults for another. Too much a lady.
The commenter sounds like someone in your links list...
For myself, I've found Marcolini spottier than expected. His hot chocolate isn't anything special except alot of hype. Nice tin though. His very interesting looking marshmallows melted to an unsavory mush. His bonbons ARE terrific. I was sent to his shop by the editor of Elle Decor. Certainly Marcolini is up there design-wise with Paris' top chic chocolatiers, if he may be called that, since he fibs about his origins....

12:09 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your article is very informative and helped me further.

Thanks, David

6:19 PM GMT-5  

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