Vianne is a wandering magical chocolate maker who tries to help the people in her new town (a French village of a bygone era). Comte de Reynaud, played by Alfred Molina, is a control freak who wants everyone in town to do and live as he says, go to church, and strictly observe lent. Vianne goes to "war" against the local count, and tempts the townspeople to break lent by eating her chocolate. Vianne's romance with Roux takes a little while to get going and is a pleasant reward for her all her efforts.
Director Lasse Hallstrom has a very humanistic perspective that he manages to share. He touches on many topics: religion, freedom, domestic violence, the need for children to have roots, grandparent/grandchild relationships, forgiveness, tolerance, second chances... There are a bunch of little life lessons thrown into this, especially to treat others with compassion and tolerance.
Juliette Binoche is perfect.