Vianne wanders a lot with her daughter. She never lived in a place longer than 2 years. She has been in many different countries and speaks good French as well as English. This time they arrive in a very small town in France, between Toulouse and Bordeaux. They are not welcome in the village.
The residents don’t like strangers. Especially the Priest. When Vianne opens a chocolaterie on Ash Wednesday, he is very mad and he decides to do anything in his power to get rid of her. He is very persuasive in the church and tells his people they have to look out for Vianne, for she is no good with her chocolate and spells’. In spite of all this criticism Vianne does good business.
She soon makes friends with Guillaume, Armande and Josephine. Josephine has been battered by her husband. She has lived with it very long and now Vianne showed her she could walk away, she did. She comes to live with Vianne and Anouk to great annoyance of the priest. He didn’t want to see that it was actually true. Its spring and the water gipsies have come to the village. Vianne welcomes them, because she was sort of a gipsy to, but the people in town despise the water people.
They are strangers to them. Vianne, Armande and Guillaume are the only people who are nice to them. The priest tries to drive them away. It works because Josephine’s husband sets fire to the boat of Roux. He is a water gypsy who has also come to the village with his friends.
He made friends with Vianne and the others. Now all the gypsies have gone further down the river, because of the incident. Roux is the only one who stays. He hasn’t got a boat anymore and has to make a new one, with money he urns by doing all kinds of jobs. Vianne likes him, but she thinks Josephine and Roux like each other.
She’s wrong and later in the book they sleep with each other. Than Armande says she wants to have a big party for her birthday and she asks Vianne to help her with the preparations. She also tells Vianne that it’s going to be a farewell party; because she doesn’t want to live like this anymore (she’s old and has diabetes).
Vianne takes care of all the food and it’s a wonderful party, the river people and the people from the villages get along with each other fine, which makes Armande very happy. The next morning she dies.The priest is angry with Vianne because she’s going to have a big chocolate festival on Easter Sunday. He tries to anticipate her. In the middle of the night he sneaks in to Vianne’s chocolaterie. He wants to destroy all the chocolate she made for the festival, but he can not find the supply.
When he sees the shop-window he can not control himself anymore and begins to eat from the chocolates. The next morning he wakes up and Vianne and all the inhabitants are looking at him. He ate so much chocolate that he fell asleep in the shop. He is very ashamed by his actions and flees from the village.
The chocolate festival is a big success and for the first time Vianne is probably going to stay in the village. She doesn’t want to wander anymore and Anouk wants to stay here to.