Adventures With Chocolate - Paul A. Young
Kyle Books - 2012
Photography: Anders Schønnemann
The introduction to 'Adventures with Chocolate' starts with a section on how to taste chocolate and a base recipe for ganache and turning that into truffles. There's lots of information for people who know nothing at all about chocolate - the basics of regional differences, cocoa levels, spice and flavour balances.
The writing is outstanding, both in terms of ease to read and also entertainment. It is a well balanced mix of a chocolate textbook and a work of passion. The hints dotted throughout and the notes that begin each recipe offer insight and endless variations. It is very impressive to see so many recipes all based around one ingredient.
If you do like chocolate then it is highly likely that you will find at least one recipes that will become a firm favourite, and probably far more than that. There is a good range of flavours to try for all tastes. The savoury section will take a little more getting used to although it is clearly not simply added for the sake of novelty. The Honey-cured Bacon, Stilton and Chocolate Sandwich is going to become a brunch staple in my house. There are far more dessert style recipes than main meals but that is rather to be expected here.
Flicking through this cookbook the real highlight becomes quite obvious, there are recipes that you want to eat right then and there, largely due to the stunning photography, and many of them are simple enough to do just that. A fair few of the ideas need a lot of time, preparation or special ingredients but there are plenty of recipes that really can be made quickly. There is no snobbery in here and beginners are very welcome.
The only real downside to this book is that to get the best from the recipes you need to use very specific chocolates which are pretty hard to get hold of most of the time. This is also going to push up the costs of making any of these, it really does make you appreciate why you pay so much for high quality chocolate.
Some ideas, even some of the more outlandish ones, most people will have heard about now (the hardback of this book came out in 2009) but the recipes themselves are very unique and have great combinations of original flavours.
My favourite recipes are the Chocolate Water Biscuits, the Bing Cherry & Coconut Brownies, the Sea-Salted Chocolate & Pecan Tart and the Saffron & Greek Thyme Honey Ganache.
This is a book full of unique ideas whether you are looking for a quick recipe to satisfy chocolate cravings or if you want a starting place for making your own chocolates. Young has made even the more complicated techniques seem less daunting and there are no recipes that seem too complex to try. It's easy to read and use, utterly addictive.