Make way for chocolate!

It's been a while since we saw much in the way of serious chocolate books. For a while, the same chocolate book seemed to be published over and over: an introduction featuring the history of cacao's discovery and complicated processing and manufacturing, followed by well-photographed recipes of more-or-less average quality.

But this year's books are, without question, distinct from both each other and their predecessors.  Alice Medrich's Seriously Bitter Sweet is the authoritative one, painstakingly tested and assembled by the American queen of chocolate. "Seriously" doesn't refer to how bittersweet the chocolate is - it refers to how seriously you take the subject, as in including seven (7) highly detailed recipes for variations of chocolate truffle. The  Mast Brothers Chocolate book, on the other hand, seems to aim for single Platonic forms: the perfect chocolate ice cream, the perfect chocolate caramels, and so forth.

You could say that Vegan Chocolate is a redundant term - after all, all chocolate is vegan unless it's milk chocolate - but the book is a welcome revelation of just how far you can go with chocolate desserts and still stay within vegan parameters; indeed, gluten-free chocolate desserts might be harder in some ways.  

Interestingly enough, it's the gourmet book - Mast Bros. - rather than the mindful vegan book that makes a point of bringing up the social justice issues in chocolate.  But - unless I've missed something - none of the books goes out of the way to tell you where you can easily obtain fairly traded chocolate for their recipes, so I will.  If you can get it, a good brand is Madécasse - started by Peace Corps volunteers and devoted to providing a fair living for the farmers where it's sourced.


  • Lmickler  on  11/6/2013 at 8:45 AM

    Don't forget Max Brenner's fabulous "Chocolate: a Love Story."

  • boardingace  on  11/22/2013 at 12:17 AM

    Just goes to show, you can NEVER have too much chocolate...or too many chocolate recipes!!! I just made Black Forest Brownies tonight from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking using LorAnn Oils (Cherry Flavor)...mmmmm!!!

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