on 2 January 2012
As boutique chocolatiers continue to release cookbooks for their adoring fans, a clear voice must be found to have these books stand the test of time. Melt, while offering beautiful photography and ample recipes, suffers from this very affliction.
Author's voice is a particularly daunting challenge for chocolate books. The problem is that making truffles and bon bons requires a bit of skill to do them well, and recreating the bon bons that we see in our favorite boutique's shiny glass cases is not as easy as we would like.
From Absolute Press, a publisher with an impeccable design team, Melt features the chocolate work of Louise Neson and Chika Watanabe along with the photography of Jean Cazals. Released just in time for the 2011 holiday season, Melt shares the boutique's namesake featuring a short introductory section followed by brief explanations of equipment, melting and tempering chocolate.
The book then dives into a range of recipes categorized by Spices and Herbs, Nuts and Seeds, Fruit and Tropical Twists, Blossoms, Leans and Roots, "Pure and Simple," and "Kick!" The latter two sections feature relatively tame concoctions and more unusual recipes respectively. Recipes range from truffles to cakes to marshmallows - a fair spectrum of sweet chocolate uses. Each recipe is well written, requires commonly found ingredients, and lovingly demonstrates the authors' passion for their recipes.
So who is this book written for? Advanced chocolatiers will not find anything novel or exciting. Intermediate chocolate makers will find some new recipes and possibly a fresh perspective on flavor pairings (which tend to the conservative-but more refined quality side of the spectrum), but the sections on "Identifying quality chocolate," "What to drink with chocolate," and "When is the best time to eat chocolate?" will seem silly and useless. Beginners, however, will find the book a good introduction to chocolate work, but may find some of the recipes to be too challenging.
The book is pretty to look at. The authors are a pleasure to read. Some of the recipes got dog-eared immediately in my copy for future use. Just be sure that the authors are speaking to you when you decide to buy Melt.
on 11 January 2012
I have received this book in good time.
There are some nice photos and chocolates to make but the book could do a bit better in explaining the technical sides and background of chocolate a bit better.
For example it says increase the heat by 2 degrees but in home environment you can never get to that level of accuracy in heating or cooling.
From the other hand it does well in giving some links where various items can be purchased.
Enjoyable reading, but you will lose interest after a couple of readings.. Mind you, it is well manufactured, so it will last a bit..