Chocolat is a 1999 novel by Joanne Harris. It tells the story of Vianne Rocher, a young mother, who arrives at a fictional insular French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes with her six-year-old daughter, Anouk. Vianne opens La Céleste Praline, a small chocolaterie, and her confections quickly begin to change the lives of the townspeople through magic, setting up a conflict with Francis Reynaud, the parish curate. Chocolat is a recent contribution to the literary stream of Magic Realism.

Harris has indicated that several of the book's characters were influenced by individuals in her life: Her daughter forms the basis for the young Anouk, including her imaginary rabbit, Pantoufle. Harris' strong-willed and independent great-grandmother influenced her portrayal of both Vianne and the elderly Armande.

Chocolat is the French spelling of "chocolate", and is .

A sequel to the novel, The Lollipop Shoes, was released in the UK in 2007; under the title The Girl with No Shadow, it is set for a May 2008 release in the US.

Plot Summary

The most tempting of all sweets becomes the key weapon in a battle of sensual pleasure versus disciplined self-denial in this comedy. In 1959, a mysterious woman named Vianne moves with her young daughter into a small French village, where much of the community's activities are dominated by the local Catholic church. A few days after settling into town, Vianne opens up a confectionery shop across the street from the house of worship -- shortly after the beginning of Lent. While the townspeople are supposed to be abstaining from worldly pleasures, Vianne tempts them with unusual and delicious chocolate creations, using her expert touch to create just the right candy to break down each customer's resistance. With every passing day, more and more of Vianne's neighbors are succumbing to her sinfully delicious treats, but Francise Reynaud, the town's pastor, is not the least bit amused; he is eager to see Vianne run out of town before she leads the town into a deeper level of temptation. Vianne, however, is not to be swayed, and with the help of another new arrival in town, a handsome gypsy from Marseille named Roux, she plans a "Grand Festival of Chocolate," to be held on Easter Sunday.


  • Vianne Rocher
  • Anouk Rocher
  • Josephine Muscat
  • Paul-Marie Muscat
  • Armande Voizin
  • Francis Reynaud
  • Caroline Clairmont
  • Luc Clairmont
  • Guillaume
  • Narcisse
  • Roux
  • Zezette & Blanche

Film adaptation

The novel was adapted for film in 2000, directed by Lasse Hallstrom and starring Juliette Binoche, Alfred Molina, Judi Dench, and Johnny Depp.

Release details

  • 1999, UK, Doubleday (ISBN 0-385-41064-6), Pub date 4 March 1999, hardback (First edition)
  • 2000, UK, Black Swan (ISBN 0-552-99848-6), Pub date 2 March 2000, paperback
  • 1999, USA, Viking Adult (ISBN 0-670-88179-1), Pub date February 1999, hardback
  • 2000, USA, Penguin Books (ISBN 0-14-028203-3), Pub date January 2000, paperback
  • 2000, USA, Penguin Books (ISBN 0-14-100018-X), Pub date November 2000, paperback (film tie-in edition)
  • 2000, Australia, Black Swan (ISN 0-552-99893-1), Pub date 2000, paperback (film tie-in edition)


External links

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