Dipped in Chocolate: How I researched THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN and loved every minute by Jina Bacarr

December 11, 2022 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , with 0 and 0
Home > Columns > Jina’s Book Chat > Dipped in Chocolate: How I researched THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN and loved every minute by Jina Bacarr

Do you remember the hilarious scene in an episode of ‘I Love Lucy’ where Lucy and Ethel are working in a candy factory and the conveyor belt speeds up and they stuff their mouths with gourmet chocolates?

Pure heaven…

I didn’t have that experience, but I did have a blast researching the art of chocolate up close and personal for The Orphans of Berlin, tasting and munching on creams and caramels to my little heart’s content.

Then running on the treadmill for hours…

It was worth it.

I wanted to get a feel for what it was like to grow up in the world of chocolate like my debutante-heroine Kay Alexander and become familiar with how candy is made… as well as its importance during World War 2 when Ration D chocolate bars were loaded with vitamins and included in every soldier’s military ration kit.

It all started in 1868 when Kay’s candy-loving, Irish great-grandfather started a candy business called ‘Radwell’s French Chocolates’. Being a candy heiress gives Kay the opportunity to spare no expense getting Jewish children out of Nazi Germany.

I discovered a publication called the ‘Confectioners and Bakers Gazette’ which detailed the candy business from 1896 – 1930, including candy factories in Philadelphia (in 1908, there were twenty-five factories in the US manufacturing chocolate). I find it odd it ceased publication during the Depression since candy sales boomed during those lean years, including Radwell’s French chocolates.

‘Sorority Chocolates’ were a big seller reputed to reach seventy-five million customers, appealing to high school girls, their moms, aunts, and grandmas.

Other notable facts include the use of synthetic vanilla called vanillin even back then; but as any Christmas cookie baker will tell you, real vanilla in his cookies is what makes Santa smile.

I also read books on chocolates and searched the Internet for chocolatier’s ‘secrets’ and favorite recipes to come up with my own special chocolates for the Radwell’s brand.

Here are a few samples for your taste delight:

Renoir Dark Chocolate Bars

Hand-dipped, chocolate-covered squares

… topped with a swirl of buttercream

 

Caramels de Vendôme 

Dark chocolate

… filled with honey caramel and vanilla ganache

 

Truffles à l’Opéra

Bittersweet chocolate

…filled with raspberry ganache 

 

Montmartre Mints

Dark chocolate thin mints

… with flecks of almonds

 

Versailles Soft Creams

Dark chocolate hearts

… filled with raspberry buttercream 

 

Notre-Dame Angels

White chocolate truffles

… filled with pecans and vanilla ganache

I invite you to give yourself a treat when you’re reading The Orphans of Berlin. Stock up on your favorite chocolates filled with creamy mousse, rich ganache… and decadent truffles.

I dip my fingers into the box of gourmet chocolates and grab the last piece. A raspberry dark chocolate truffle. Mm… delicious. A gift from the candy gods.

Ah, the travails of a writer’s research… a tough job.

But somebody’s got to do it, n’est-ce pas?

@jinabacarrauthor

1939 Berlin What if you’re a mom and you have to send your daughters to France to save their lives? #historytokwwiihistoricalfiction@bookandtonic

♬ original sound – Jina Bacarr Historical Author♥

Author Details
Author Details
I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve. I grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales and it was those early years of storytelling that led to my love of history and traveling. I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris. The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.
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    I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve.

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I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve. I grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales and it was those early years of storytelling that led to my love of history and traveling. I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris. The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

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