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"The Lovieliest Chocolate Shop in Paris" Book Discussion & Molten Chocolate Cupcake Recipe W/ Double Chocolate Frosting

I am a voracious reader who loves to bake and enjoys books from almost every category of fiction, as well as biographies and memoirs.

the-lovieliest-chocolate-shop-in-paris-book-discussion-and-recipe

Anna worked at a boring mass-produced chocolate factory in a small English town, until a freak accident left her missing two of her toes, and her self-esteem. Feeling sorry for herself and bored, she rekindled a friendship with her old French teacher, who is also at the hospital, for chemo. Her weary teacher begins to tutor Anna again, and after a little while, even finds Anna a job in the most prestigious chocolate shop in Paris, and the only one that still makes everything fresh, by hand, daily. But the owner of the shop is more than just an old friend to the French teacher, Claire. He was her first love, which she gave up long ago.

And working at the shop is much harder than Anna had anticipated, especially under the mean English expat co-owner, and living at the top a daunting number of stairs with a flamboyantly confident roommate addicted to the local night life.

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is hilarious, snarky, tragic, and a wonderful feel-good romantic comedy about yearning, striving for perfection, and mouth-watering chocolate. A wonderful book any time of year.

Perfect for fans of

  • chocolate
  • Paris or France
  • romantic comedies
  • romantic dramas
  • baking
  • cozy romance
  • foodies
  • misfits
  • friendship, teacher/student stories
  • flamboyant characters
  • overcoming challenges

Discussion Questions

  1. Why was it difficult for Anna Trent to read in the hospital after her injury, especially since it was one of her favorite things to do after a hard day at work? What did she prefer to do and why? What’s your favorite way to unwind after a hard day?
  2. Why didn’t Anna want to go to college, or back to school? Are some people better off not going to college? What are other options for still being successful?
  3. How did Thierry react to the man who pushed Claire out of the way of his store window and broke their eye contact the first time she visited? Were there any other moments in this novel you found humorous?
  4. How was Thierry’s chocolate different from most chocolatiers? How was it different from that made in the factory where Anna used to work?
  5. How did Alice come to be with Thierry, despite her non-winning personality? What good things did she do for him?
  6. Why did Alice think walking was vulgar? How did this hurt Thierry?
  7. How did the accident change Anna, especially when it came to being social?
  8. What were the things (or people) that stopped Thierry and Claire from being together longer?
  9. What happened to cause a rift between Laurent and Thierry? What was the connection to Laurent’s mother, Alice, and Claire?
  10. Why was Benoit shocked that the shops in England are open on Sundays, and that people work through lunch sometimes? How does this work mentality compare with America?
  11. What “stupid” family feuds had occurred in this story? Why is it sometimes so difficult for families to get along?
  12. How did a plate of exquisite risotto help Anna understand the point that her French friends had been making about “substandard” food that she had been used to?
  13. What was the significance of the small hats on the chocolate boxes?

The Recipe

Anna worked in a chocolate factory, and went to work for a great chocolate genius, Thierry, in his French chocolate shop.

In the hospital, Anna grabbed some chocolate cake and coffee for herself and Claire.

Laurent used Grand Marnier, an orange liqueur, in one of his crepe pancakes. This can be used as an optional ingredient in the cake or frosting, for adults.

Thierry offered to make his hot chocolate for Claire if she came back at Christmas, which was “stirred one thousand times and filled with cream so that it melts down your neck like being embraced by a man who loves you.”

Molten Chocolate Cupcakes with Double Chocolate Frosting

Molten Chocolate Cupcakes with Double Chocolate Frosting

the-lovieliest-chocolate-shop-in-paris-book-discussion-and-recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee, hot
  • 12 cold Dove dark or milk chocolate squares or other chocolate candy squares
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier orange liqueur, (optional ingredient)

Molten Chocolate Cupcakes with Double Chocolate Frosting

the-lovieliest-chocolate-shop-in-paris-book-discussion-and-recipe

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together sugars with the oil on medium-high speed for one minute. In a separate bowl, sift or stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Drop the mixer to the lowest speed and slowly add the flour mix, followed by the heavy cream, two teaspoons of vanilla, and the egg.
  2. Allow to combine for about two minutes, until the wet and dry ingredients seem fully incorporated. Stop the mixer to scrape down the insides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if anything is sticking to the walls of the bowl and not adding in to the batter. On the lowest speed, slowly and carefully pour in the hot coffee a little at a time. When all of it is in the bowl, stop the mixer, scoop any batter from the bottom of the bowl to the top, (add the Grand Marnier, if using any) and mix for two minutes on medium speed. Scoop into paper-lined cupcake tins about half-way up or less, top with a chocolate square, and then pour a little more batter on top. The cupcake tins should be about 2/3 full each.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the side of each cake and it comes out clean of any raw batter or crumbs (the centers should be gooey from the melted chocolate). Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

For the Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 4 chocolate squares (I used Dove dark chocolate)
  • 1 tbsp salted butter

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate squares with the 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) of butter for 20 seconds at a time. Stir between times. It should be melted after one-two minutes. If there are still hard chunks of chocolate that stirring doesn't dissolve, heat for 20 more seconds and stir until smooth.

In your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining stick (1/2 cup) of butter with the cocoa powder on medium speed for one minute. Stop the mixer and add half the powdered sugar, plus the vanilla extract. Start the mixer off slowly, then as the powdered sugar disappears, add the cream and increase the speed to medium-low.

Slowly and carefully add the remaining powdered sugar a little at a time. Stop the mixer to scrape down the insides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and pour in all the chocolate from your small bowl. Mix on medium speed for another minute, then spoon into a piping bag with a tip (I used an XL star tip) and pipe onto cupcakes that have cooled at least 15 minutes. I piped the frosting really high (as pictured), so if you choose not to, there may be extra frosting.


Rate the Recipe

Molten Chocolate Cupcakes with Double Chocolate Frosting

the-lovieliest-chocolate-shop-in-paris-book-discussion-and-recipe

Similar Reads

Other books by Jenny Colgan include her most popular The Bookshop on the Corner, Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe and its sequel, Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe, Little Beach Street Bakery and Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery.

One character from another book mentioned within this one is The White Witch of Narnia from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Magician’s Nephew.

Other romantic dramas and comedies about the famous French city are The Paris Secret by Karen Swan, A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable, The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, or The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown.

For more books about chocolate and love, try The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop by Caroline Roberts, The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen, The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek, The Chocolate Touch by Melissa McClone, or Captured by Chocolate by Steena Holmes.

Notable Quotes

“I read lots of books, but there’s a difference between reading a book when you’re tired after working all day (desperate to get in the bath and enjoy a few pages with a cup of tea…) and having nothing else to do.”

“There’s something about the first time you go to a place—it takes, far, far too long and you notice little details that you then notice forever, like the wrought iron lamps that lit the way as night started to fall.”

“It seemed such a bold thing to do, to announce to the world that you had made something wonderful, and everyone was welcome to come and pay you money to have it.”

“Close your eyes...It is so you can truly taste it. So you shut out distractions.”

“Fresh chocolate is of the utmost importance…for with the freshness, you get lightness, and churn, and a delicacy that does not come from a huge slab that sits on the shelf for three months...Chocolate should be treated as a delicacy...”

“...the moment the still-warm, gently thickening substance hit my tongue, I really did think, for an instant, that I was going to fall onto the table—no, worse, that I was going to DIVE in, to shovel every morsel of that sweet, creamy, dense, deeply flavored, rich, smooth, all-enveloping, chocolatey goodness. It felt like someone giving you a warm hug.”

“When you are young, you think you will get lots of chances at love. You are careless, you spend your youth and your freedom and your love because you think you will be rich with all these things forever. But they do not last. You spend it all, then you see if you have spent wisely.”

“In her opinion, like that of many French women, children flourished the less their parents interfered.”

“They make people work on Sundays! And through lunchtimes! But for what? For rubbish from China? For cheap clothes sewed by poor women in Malaysia? For why? So you can go more often to KFC and get full of fried chicken? You would rather have six bars of bad, bad chocolate than one good bar of chocolate. Why? Why are six bad things better than one good thing?”

“Maybe all family feuds are totally stupid.”

© 2018 Amanda Leitch

Comments

Naude Lorenzo on December 11, 2018:

As usual an excellent book and delicious recipe, thanks Amanda

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