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The New Taste of Chocolate: A Guide to Fine Chocolate with Recipes Hardcover – 31 Dec 2000

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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
All Hail the Food of the Gods 27 Sept. 2002
By Diana F. Von Behren - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
While the recounting of the history of chocolate along with a complete step-by-step perusal of the journey from bean to bar may offer compelling enough reason to purchase this book, I think the chapters on tasting the different qualities of that sinful commodity even more coersive. Anyone who likes to use chocolate in their culinary creations, may find the variety of finer qualities of couverture daunting. Which to use when whipping up a delicate mousse or a flourless liquid center cake? What spices compliment and which deterioriate? Never fear--the author diligently answers all such queries by recounting a tasting procedure which explains color, flavor characterizations, desirable and undesirable aromas and texture to well-educate your palate while insuring your choice of a specific chocolate to fit your expectations.
In addition, some twenty recipes are included to showcase the wide ranging possibilities of this food of the gods. From truffles to sachertorte, you cannot want for a more delicious palette of ideas to enhance your taste buds.
The layout of the book is unsurpassed; the photos are as luscious as the subject, making it the perfect gift
Recommended to all those who enjoy discovering new things about things you already love.
Also recommended to compliment this book is the novel "The Discovery of Chocolate", which traces the history of chocolate from discovering its Aztec roots to the production of Hershey's chocolate bars as seen through the eyes of a miraculously slow-aging Spaniard of the 15th century. Delicious descriptions of sumptious chocolate creations abound. Have a homemade hot chocolate ready to sip and savor while you read.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
New Taste... Leaves a Wonderful Taste 7 Mar. 2002
By Carter Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a cacao researcher I find this New Taste... a well-thought and provocative introduction into the natural history of cacao for the casual eater, epicurean, and even beginning researchers. The various sections and references are topical as well as thoughtfully presented. Ms. Presilla really brings you in to the mystique as well as some lighter aspects of the science behind cacao and chocolate. Many people don't realize what good chocolate really is like! Ms. Presilla even helps you to develop the skills involved in tasting and evaluating chocolates similarly as you would with fine wines. And if you can't romance that special someone after wowing them with Fran Bigelow's Deep Chocolate Torte that is simple to make and out of this world- page 136(heavy cream, eggs, 1 lb of dark chocolate), you're not really trying!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Coffee table book that also has true substance 24 Aug. 2005
By C. Good - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
_The New Taste of Chocolate_ has the beautiful pictures of a coffee table book, but it has a lot of academic substance and a lot of value to the reader.

The main chapters are:

- Growing Up with Cacao

- A Natural and Cultural History of Chocolate

- From Cacao to Chocolate

- Identifying Cacao

- Tasting Chocolate

- Recipes

There is also a glossary, and a list of companies to order fine chocolate from.

For a beginner like myself, who loved chocolate but hadn't progressed much beyond Hershey's with Almonds when I read the book, _The New Taste of Chocolate_ was very educational. It explained the path from cacao bean to chocolate bar, and it also explained the difference between dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. It explained how cocoa powder comes from chocolate, why chocolate is so difficult to make candy with if you don't know what you're doing, and why fancier recipes will sometimes specify chocolate manufacturer and cacao percentage.

It was also quite interesting to read about the guidelines for tasting chocolate. The discussion about criollo, forastero, and trinitario cacao plants was very fascinating from a scientific standpoint. I later found that what is true for cacao trees is true for many other types of plants (including wheat): the plants that make the tastiest & highest quality edible parts are also the least productive and most delicate, so growers & breeders have to choose whether to grow something that will almost certainly produce a less-desired but still profitable crop, or to grow something that has an uncertain yield but is highly profitable should the plant actually produce anything.

The recipes were also interesting. After reading this book, I became more adventurous in my chocolate-tasting and started trying some of the European imports I see in the local grocery stores. My only regret is I am now knowledgeable enough and my tastes are spoiled enough that M&Ms and Hersheys with Almonds seem pretty bland.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The Story of Chocolate 18 April 2003
By jerry i h - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The first chapter is a view of chocolate from both a historical and botanical perspective. The next chapter traces the complete life cycle of chocolate, from seedling, to mature tree, fruit, harvest, drying, fermentation, shipment, factory processing, and transformation into chocolate bars. The third chapter concentrates on the diversity of different cacao tree varieties, from criollo, to forasteros, to trinitarios. The last chapter is a collection of recipes that were developed for specified brands of chocolate.
The main strength of this book is that it teaches the chocolate lover that it really does matter about the cacao beans, just as it matters with coffee beans or wine grapes. Where was it grown? What variety is it? How was the fermentation and drying handled? Was it shipped properly? What types of beans were blended? What does the final product taste like? Is it high quality or just another mass-produced blend?
The flavor of chocolate varies all over the place, and one must know about the cacao beans it was produced from. This book makes a strong case for the opinion that if the consumer does not demand better quality chocolate, the great producers of the world will not give it to them. I learned that the expensive "boutique" brands of chocolate (E Guittard and Scharffenberger to name only 2 local such companies) really are worth the extra money. If nothing else, this book should raise the awareness of the chocoholic of the quality of the chocolate. The good news is that the chocolate companies really are capable of producing superior quality chocolate if the consumer demands it.
On the whole, this book is a mixed lot. It will inspire you to try all of the new, expensive "boutique" brands of chocolates. The recipes are intriguing in concept, but rather ordinary; only a couple of the Mexican-inspired hot chocolates are of interest. The most important part of this book is the list of resources listed in the back where you can learn about and buy all these chocolates. Also listed are books, classes, and websites that are very valuable sources of information.
On the other hand, once you finish reading the book, it will then become just another coffee table book. You will not be tempted to open this book again, except maybe to get that special website for that special brand of chocolate that you cannot find in the grocery store.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Good taste that tastes good 1 Jun. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This brilliant, beautiful and unique book is a must-have and a must-give; there is no one who would not love it.
The author brings a connoiseur's knowledge to the different varieties of chocolate, the fascinating origin and history of its cultivation, its conquest ofthe European palate, and a detailed explanation of its use in cooking in ways that are authentic, innovative and exciting.
"The new taste of chocolate" is the perfect gift - give it next time instead of flowers, a bottle of wine or -- a box of chocolate. You will be remembered forever. Dita Formell
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