Summer of Books & Chocolates with Casa Bosques

Casa Bosques, the literary world’s beloved CDMX-based curators, are now making their mark on Manhattan.
Their first-ever U.S. pop-up is opening its doors at The Standard, East Village just in time for Pride month! The limited-run, queer-owned retail concept will highlight rare books, indie zines, jewelry, and of course, their namesake chocolate line Casa Bosques Chocolatier. A majority of the spotlighted authors are LGBTQ+ voices, from Be Oakley to The HIV Howler and Margaret Y Ya, and more.

In an oversaturated world of screens, there’s something restorative about slowly browsing a hand-picked library and intentionally choosing a read to linger over. Quite frankly, there’s nothing more that we’d rather do on an early summer afternoon. We caught up with Co-Founder Jorge de la Garza on a BTS look behind the store and what we can expect from C.BB. next.

To shop it yourself, follow signs from The Standard, East Village’s lobby from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. until June 15. Casa Bosques will also be curating programming featuring their favorite queer voices - see the full lineup here.

How do you decide on such a one-of-a-kind book selection? Are most collaborations born out of inbound connections, or do you reach out to them proactively?

It's a bit of both, really. Initially, I relied on what I learned while working in libraries in the UK and my knowledge of the local scene in Mexico City. Over time, as my networks grew, things became easier. However, it's an ongoing process. New and incredible projects are constantly emerging, while some don't last long, so you have to actively seek out what feels relevant, new, or unique. Lately, we're trying to include more options from the global south, as it's still challenging for publications to circulate from different regions of the global south.

Are there ever any logistical hurdles that come with working with independent publishers or artists directly?

To be honest, we prefer working directly with publishers and artists. Shipping costs are usually lower, and issues are more easily resolved. Direct connections also make book launches, talks and other collaborations more likely. However, paying each publisher individually can be a headache, which is why working with distributors makes sense. We do a mix, depending on the project, but we maintain personal connections with most, if not all, of the local independent publishers we work with.

What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to leisure reading? Do you ever find yourself feeling jaded about personal reading after your constant exposure to the literary world?

Oh sure, but since Casa Bosques stocks more art and design publications, I turn to novels or short story collections (I’ve been into Kazuo Ishiguro lately), or newspaper articles (if I wanna keep in brainy). Otherwise, I enjoy scrolling through "digital folklore" (memes) and I love a good comment section. I also love music, films, TV series, ranging from artsy to campy and everything in between.

Even before the bookstore, you launched Casa Bosques Chocolatier as a collaborative platform. Why the foray into chocolate? What are the parallels that you notice between chocolate making and books?

The chocolates are actually my business partner’s project. Rafael launched them before we started working on the bookstore. He’s been obsessed with chocolate since we met. The parallels I notice are more about aspects like packaging, collaborating with artists, and I guess savoring life’s moments, a feeling you can also get from a book. To me, the chocolates are like edible multiples, and they certainly enhance the experience of enjoying a book.

Now that you’ve ticked NYC off as your first international pop-up, where would be your dream locale to launch in?

This is a difficult question, as I still feel like I’m not familiar with so many NYC neighborhoods, even after numerous trips. But as of now, financial constraints aside, I’d love to have a locale in the East Village, the Lower East Side or someplace in Brooklyn (preferably right next to Prospect Park, being that this is all in the realm of my imagination).

And most importantly, how do you keep your book pages from getting chocolate all over them? 

This is an important question. But it's all about being mindful. If you're deeply engrossed in a book, just remember to use one hand exclusively for the chocolate and the other for the book.


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