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Couture Chocolate: A Masterclass in Chocolate [Hardcover]

William Curley
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
RRP: £30.00
Price: £20.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Oct 2011

At one time, cocoa beans were prized so highly they were used as currency and only the privileged could enjoy what the Aztecs knew as ‘xocoatl’. Nowadays, high-quality chocolate is widely available in many different delicious forms to an increasingly discerning market. In this delightfully decadent book, the UK’s premier chocolatier William Curley presents the ultimate master class for all things chocolate.

Couture Chocolate first examines the origins of one of the world’s most popular foods –explaining the method of creating chocolate, how its quality depends to a large extent on the variety of bean used, and the differences between plain, milk and white chocolates. It reveals how some of today’s most popular flavours –such as vanilla and chilli- were those favoured by the pioneering Aztec chocolatiers centuries ago.

In the chocolate master class, William shares his techniques and most mouth-watering recipes, starting with the basics: tempering and making a bar of chocolate; advice on how to add exotic flavours like rosemary or raspberry; and introducing different textures. Once those skills have been mastered, it’s time to tackle some of his incredible creations…

His delectable recipes are helpfully grouped into sections:
‘Truffles and Filled Chocolates’ examines the science behind creating the perfect truffle, making ganache and adding fabulous flavours; ‘Couture Chocolates’ looks at experimental (but delicious) fillings such as apricot and wasabi, sea salt caramel, black rice vinegar and thyme; ‘Bouches and Small Delights’ covers blackcurrant tea cake, chocolate rochers and millionaire shortbread; ‘Patisserie’ explores chocolate and praline Paris Brest, chocolate financier with passion fruit curd, chocolate mille-fuille and more; ‘Cakes and Biscuits’ boasts chocolate and pistachio cake, macaroons, sable and chocolate rosette with orange ganache; and finally ‘Chocolate Ices, Drinks, Sauces and Spread’ looks at a huge variety, including Gianduja chocolate, Tahitian vanilla and golden chestnut.

With its unique recipes and sumptuous photographs, Couture Chocolate delivers a lifetime’s worth of culinary excitement and experimentation into your kitchen. With William Curley as a guide, you need never eat a bland dessert again.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jacqui Small LLP (25 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906417598
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906417598
  • Product Dimensions: 27.2 x 21.3 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘William Curley is a chocolatier extraordinaire. Find out all you need to know about the cocoa bean and drool over his stunning recipes.'

(Sainsbury's magazine)

‘Handsomely produced volume, filled with alluring images…its ample collection of recipes and techniques really does offer the ‘masterclass in chocolate’ its dust jacket claims. A book to savour and one which will inspire chocolate lovers everywhere.’


‘The definitive chocolate book for 2011…an exquisite book, packed full of stunning photography and easy to follow recipes.’


‘Stunning photography entices the reader at every turn of the page. This is a beautiful book that will appeal to all levels of chefs and chocolate makers. It’s a must-have for anyone serious about chocolate, whether you are a beginner or a professional.’

(Caterer & Hotelkeeper)

‘Beautiful, stylish and exciting…I simply love this book’


‘Superbly illustrated with mouthwatering photography…exquisite recipes’


'The Best 50 Cookbooks of 2011'


‘Wins the prize for most beautiful book of the year. Stunning.’


Winner 'Cookbook of the Year' Guild of Food Writer's Awards 2011

Shortlisted 'Food Book of the Year' Andre Simon Awards 2011

Shortlisted 'Best Chocolate Book in the World' Gourmand Awards 2011


'William Curley is one of the great chocolatiers. By combining flawless technique and wonderfully exciting creativity he literally brings chocolate to life.'

(Heston Blumenthal)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb text book for the would-be chocolatier! 17 Nov 2011
For most people this is very advanced and would see little further action than oo-ing and arr-ing on the coffee table, however if you were someone wanting to set up their own chocolate business this publication would be an inspiring and beautiful textbook.

After explaining the history and methods making chocolate the recipes are broken down into;
truffles and filled chocolates: making ganache, the science of the perfect truffle, adding fabulous flavours
couture chocolates: experimental fillings such as apricot and wasabi, black rice vinegar
"bouches" and small delights: chocolate rochers, millionaire's shortbread;
pâtisserie: chocolate and praline Paris Brest, chocolate financiers, chocolate mielle feuile and more;
chocolate ices, drinks, sauces and spreads.

William's partner is Japanese and the fusion of chocolate with Japanese ingredients is one of the things that gives him his signature style.

This book would make a fabulous gift for any discerning chocolate lover.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a true "Must Have".....Superb! 23 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have always been of the opinion that fine artisan chocolates should look as beautiful as they taste. Willam Curley's Couture Chocolate: A Masterclass in Chocolate takes it a step further moving artisan chocolates from culinary creations to five-star / Michelin food artistry, simply stunning.

From the first page to the final, the exquisite photographs are a rare treat in chocolate as fine art. Photographer Jose Lasheras redefines chocolate photography in his exquisite staging of the chocolates. His culinary choreography tells stories of Indulgence so including taste, texture, color and shape.

I Have always be of the opinion that pretty pictures alone do not justify buying a cookbook. When it comes to Couture Chocolates the amazing photographs are merely one of its assets. This book is buy no way a look book it is in fact in equal parts an art book, recipe book, and a first-Class instruction manual.

The book begins with a chapter titled "Chocolate Essentials" that lays out the basics of working with fine chocolate. Topics include a clear and concise explanation of the different types of chocolates as well as sections with tips on tasting chocolate and advice on shelf life and storage.

I really like the "sidebar" addressing the differences between making chocolates in a commercial kitchen versus a home kitchen.

What makes this chapter standout are the sections on tempering chocolate and making a basic ganache. I would go so far as to say they are worth the price of the book. Because tempering and making a basic ganache are two of the most important skills involved in making fine chocolate desserts, one cannot underestimate the importance of their mastery.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so good it's wicked 8 Oct 2012
Wow and a thousand times wow. This is every chocolate lover's dream book. It is without doubt the best book on chocolate I have ever seen or am ever likely to see. I love it so much. Every one should have their own copy. The recipes are wonderful and the photography does it all justice - this is photography and the art of cooking at its very best.

This is a true masterclass in chocolate - learn all about chocolate; make truffles, bars, bites, cakes, ice cream and more - all with chocolate. William conjures new flavours and exciting recipes. I can honestly say hand on heart that I want not only to make every single recipe in this book but also to eat it all. If this is death by chocolate, please let me die slowly, savouring every mouthful. Absolutely brilliant and may it continue to gather more awards. Surely William is our finest chocolatier. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed this book and how much I shall enjoy making some of those chocolate concoctions. This review first appeared on welovefinefoods.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exellent masterclass from Mr Curley! 17 Oct 2011
I can only provide a glowing report for this book - it was truly excellent. Glossy DELICIOUS pictures on every page for each recipe! So tempting I just had to try them out. Surprisingly simple to create.. I cannot honestly tell you my creations tasted as divine as the goods from the man himself though. But this only means I can go into his wonderful little shop in Richmond and smell the wonderful chocolatey air... Mmm :) Top marks to William Curley!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely.. 9 Oct 2011
By Blibbs
This is a beautiful book. I'm sure everyone else that uses recipe books will agree that a picture for every recipe is brilliant (and rare!). Very informative and lots of care has been taken to go into detail on techniques that I find other books on chocolate skim over.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book aims to teach both newcomers to chocolate making, and advances amateur chocolate makers, providing inspiration, tips, unusual ingredients and refreshing combinations. William also shares some of his most popular recipes from the shop, and from chocolate competitions, showing how to achieve the best results.

I have several chocolate books, but I think this is my current favourite. William breaks everything down into step by step guides, showing you exactly how to achieve good results for tempering your chocolate (without a tempering machine). William then shows you how to combine various ingredients into hand-made chocolates, moulded chocolates, bars, lollipops, even cakes, brioche, macaron and drinks. The book is clear, and most interesting from my point of view, actually makes you consider different flavour combinations for yourself. Perhaps I'm just at this stage of my chocolate making, but I found my mind wandering off into all manner of flavour variations. If you're an experience chocolate maker, I can't imagine it changing your technique management much, but I think it's worth seeing his flavour combinations first hand. William also does show layering techniques, which I don't think is covered in as much detail in some of my other chocolate books.

It would make a very good first chocolate book, and is certainly worth considering for those who already own a few books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot recommend more!
Couture Chocolate is incredibly detailed beyond the recipes!

Couture Chocolate has given me a knowledge of chocolate - the history & origins, bean to bar process. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Rhiann Mead
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for any kitchen, coffee table or book shelf...
I love this book. Given to me as a gift I was thrilled.
Not only does it give you the history of chocolate, which in its own right a very interesting subject the book gives... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Women Talking
5.0 out of 5 stars YUMMY
Great bargain. Excellent service. This was bought as a birthday gift along with a box of William Curley chocolates for a friend who taught him when he was at school in Fife.
Published 3 months ago by Ms. Wwd Thomson
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass in chocolate
As the book name implies this book contains very valuable information, tips and techniques.

May be some of the recipes are not very easy for a person unfamiliarized with... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Hugo Sousa
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Great book by a talented chef, lots of theory, method and in depth recipies, nothing went missing in here and no hidden tips ;)
Published 7 months ago by Mr. J. A. Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good chocolate book
Along with this book I bought several other books about chocolate so I can't but compare.
This one is very good and definetely one of the best chocolate books out there and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by alphaprior
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Interesting book, with nice design and recipes. If you like to decorate you desserts - this book for you )
Published 10 months ago by primakrim
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book, on my Favorite Subject!
Great book covers all levels of ability and explains the processes really well.
Already advanced my skills and looking forward to trying some more ideas out
Published 10 months ago by Miss Mutley
5.0 out of 5 stars Standard Reference nigh impossible to top
Mr. Curley as set the bar for professional standard reference works on chocolate preparation for the professional. This reference book will be extremely difficult to top. Read more
Published 12 months ago by TEDS Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing cookbook for amateurs and pro's!
I purchased this book after visiting William Curleys chocolate and patisserie shop in Belgravia and was blown away by the quality of this book. Read more
Published 14 months ago by sarah dean
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