Remarkable true Jewish history of chocolate revealed in new book


Jordan Palmer

Before you take your next bite of some delicious chocolate, you may want to check out a new book by British autor Michael Leventhal, that explores the history  of chocolate in Jewish food and culture. In his book, the author of  “The Chocolate King,” which won a PJ Library Author Incentive Award, creates a unique recipe book, bringing together individual recipes from more than fifty noted Jewish bakers.

If you’re a chocoholic, or know one, this book of chocolate-based recipes, or those with an interest in the diverse ways that chocolate is used around the world, this book is for you.

Leventhal begins his book with a brief history of the relationship between chocolate and Jewish people and how they are integrally intertwined. He explain how chocolate facilitated relocation when necessary to flee, but also led to Jews getting pushed out of certain communities when they had success.

After a refreshing history, Leventhal follows a more traditional cookbook format, with a variety of recipes using many different kinds of chocolate. The majority of the foods come from cultures of the Jewish diaspora, as well as recipes from Jewish chefs inspired by their local foods. There is something for everyone in this book! Many of the recipes are also pareve or even kosher for Passover, so you aren’t limited to enjoying these foods at only certain times of the year.


Highlights include Claudia Roden’s Spanish hot chocolate, the Gefilteria’s dark chocolate and roasted beetroot ice-cream, Honey & Co’s marble cake and Joan Nathan’s chocolate almond cake. As well as recipes for sweet-toothed readers, savory dishes include Alan Rosenthal’s chocolate chilli and Denise Phillips’ Sicilian caponata. There are also delicious naturally gluten-free and vegan recipes to cater to a variety of dietary requirements.

Each recipe helps provide an insight into the important role chocolate has played in Jewish communities across the centuries, from Jewish immigrants and refugees taking chocolate from Spain to France in the 1600s, to contemporary Jewish bakers crossing continents to discover, adapt and share new chocolate recipes for today’s generation.

Babka, Boulou & Blintzes is available for purchase on