Chocolatour -
Meet Doreen Pendgracs

Doreen Pendgracs is a Canadian writer, speaker and and author of 4 books, including Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate. 

Chocolatourphoto credit: Photography by Marlis

Doreen Pendgracs loves creativity, travel and chocolate. Here's an exclusive interview for

What made you decide to write “Chocolatour”?

As a travel writer, I've always enjoyed culinary and wine travel. I'd thought of writing a book about wine travel, but soon realized it's been done to death.

I'm also a huge fan of handcrafted artisanal chocolate, and quickly realized that no one had ever done a book about chocolate travel, so the idea of Chocolatour was born!

It is now my goal to establish chocolate travel as the new niche, and to encourage chocolate lovers to travel to new destinations where they will experience the memorable kind of chocolate and chocolate experiences profiled in my book.

What was your biggest challenge in writing the book?

My biggest challenge in writing the book—and it will be a series of three volumes dividing the world of chocolate geographically—is finding the resources to take me around the world to the places I need to get to conduct my research.

I chose to self-publish Chocolatour so that I could maintain artistic control as to how the book would look, and when it would be released. Volume I contains 61 color photographs—most of which I took myself—and is written in an informal first person narrative. I wanted readers to feel that they're along with me on my journeys of chocolate discovery.

But self-publishing a book of this type required a specially-coated paper that would effectively reproduce the photographs and that is an expensive endeavor.

I'm hoping that sales from Volume I will fund the printing of Volume II, and that new partnerships I will be forming will help underwrite the cost of the extensive travel I must pursue to continue my research, and bring readers a truly experiential travel experience. 

ChocolatourDoreen at the 2013 Salon Del Cacao y Chocolate in Lima, Peru, with some of the Peruvian farmers she had stayed with in 2012.

In your opinion, is there really such a thing as chocolate addiction?  

Absolutely, there is such a thing as chocolate addiction!

You will see when reading my book that pure dark chocolate contains more than 400 chemical compounds, some of which produce a feel-good effect from the endorphins, PEA, and serotonin produced when the cacao enters our systems. It even contains the same type of THC found in marijuana!

Chocolate makes us feel good on a number of levels. It's no wonder we want to eat it often, and that some people become addicted to the natural high that chocolate takes us on.

Can you tell me a little about your experience as a magazine writer?  Do you recommend a writer specialize in one area or generalize?

I launched my freelance career in April of 1993, and by 1995, I was writing for national magazines. My first niche was writing about home-based business and focusing on the entrepreneurial spirit.

I think that's why I'm enjoying writing about the world of artisanal chocolate so much, as each chocolatier and chocolate maker is a highly-creative independent entrepreneur who has carved a unique niche for themselves in the magnificent world of fine chocolate.

I think it's important to specialize and make yourself stand out for your originality—whether you're a chocolate maker, or a writer!  

What do you like best about public speaking? What do you usually speak about?

I love engaging with people—whether it's by blogging, and encouraging my readers to participate in the discussion that ensues from each post, or from making live presentations where people can ask me direct questions about my research, share their own experiences and findings, or just enjoy the camaraderie that ensues when like minds gather.

I really love talking about chocolate because it has a universal effect on people. No matter where in the world you travel . . .  if you say the word "chocolate" it is received with a smile.

People love chocolate. They love hearing about it, and more importantly, they love learning where to find the very best chocolate in every country on the planet. My list is ever-growing thanks to personal experiences, and reader feedback and suggestions.

ChocolatourDoreen speaks at a special "Chocolate Inspired Art" event held last Valentine's Day in Selkirk, Manitoba.

Do you have one tip you could share that would make someone a better public speaker?

If you want to pursue a career in public speaking, be true to yourself and honest with your audience. People can always tell if you're faking it. But if you're full of honest passion, it becomes infectious, and people want to hear more of what you have to say!

Who is your favorite author? Favorite fiction book?

Surprisingly, as an author, I don't read fiction. But I love to read non-fiction about personal experiences. Most of the books that I read are related to my primary areas of interest: travel and self-improvement and discovery.

I enjoy the works of Dr. Wayne W. Dyer as his books always make me want to know myself better.   

Can you share something about your personal background?

I was born and still live in Manitoba, Canada. I lived in my hometown of Winnipeg until 1982, when we moved to the country, and I've enjoyed the rural lifestyle ever since.

I love the quiet beauty and serenity of living nearby, but away, from an urban center as it connects me more intensely with nature.

My creativity as an author is fuelled by the wonders of nature, and I am blessed to live on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, where we have an abundance of birds and wildlife.

I worked in the corporate sector before embarking on my freelance career, and admit I love being my own boss. I'm free to make decisions and engage in the projects that fill my life with passion - like Chocolatour!

THANKS, DOREEN, for giving us this insight about your life in chocolate! 

Carolyn V. Hamilton, Former Editor

Connect with Doreen Pendgracs by clicking HERE, and learn more about her book, Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate HERE, and the chocolate events she has planned. She also diarizes her chocolate journeys around the globe.

You'll also find Doreen on most social media platforms. She looks forward to hearing from you, and hopes that one day you'll join her on a chocolatour!

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