Friday, October 30, 2009

Chocolate: A Love Story (Book Review)

I've seen a lot of chocolate cookbooks, but none quite like Chocolate: A Love Story by Max Brenner. This is the publisher's description of the book:

With gigantic vats of churning chocolate, desserts like their famous chocolate pizza, and 12 varieties of hot chocolate served in custom mugs, Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man has turned their line of hip, colorful themed restaurants into an international sensation. Chocolate: A Love Story is a vibrant new cookbook that includes 65 original recipes narrated in the quirky, captivating voice of Max Brenner, the restaurant's visionary founder and "bald man." Bold original illustrations inspired by Art Deco poster graphics, full-color photographs, easy-to-follow, delicious recipes, and a serving of Max's unique vision for spreading "chocolate culture" around the world make this book a must for every chocolate lover.

This is as much an art book as a cookbook. It's surprisingly big (the cover dimensions are about 9" x 12"), and the heavyweight pages are filled with the Art Deco poster graphics mentioned above. The recipes have unique titles like A philosophical highly concentrated fudge brownie and Spy-thriller chocolate Black Forest cake. Each recipe is accompanied by a paragraph or so with a memory or imagined scene. These are difficult to characterize, so I'll give you an example: "The breeze on the balcony touches his face gently. He is playing a slow tune on the violin. It's such a beautiful night. Through the tears that fill his eyes the flames are breaking into thousands of sparkling colors. Quietly he comforts himself and whispers: 'You are not going to be mine, Rome, but you won't belong to anyone else.'" Some of these paragraphs are somewhat dark, and some contain adult themes. I didn't find it offensive, but I probably wouldn't share it with a child, either.

Most of the recipes are not quick to prepare, but they are clearly written and seem easy to follow. A few are unique but not particularly appealing to me, such as The adult and child chocolate burger joint venture. This is a peppery dark-chocolate ganache "burger" with hazelnut-white chocolate "mustard" and Tabasco-infused strawberry "ketchup," all on a toasted hamburger bun. On the other hand, I can't wait to try Soap opera chocolate cappuccino roulade and the Black Forest cake. The latter recipe is actually for individual cakes: cupcakes are split into layers, then filled and frosted to create mini layer cakes. I doubt that mine will be as gorgeous as the one pictured in the book, but I'll try!

Learn more about Chocolate: A Love Story from the Hachette Book Group product page.

Disclosure: I received this book, at no cost to me, for review purposes.

I'm linking this to Chocolate Friday at Stop and Smell the Chocolates.


  1. What an interesting book! You don't see cookbooks like that around. You will have to link up when you attempt those little cakes - yum!!

  2. Hey!
    That book review makes me want to go and steal some of the Halloween Candy!
    I hope you are doing great...
    Thank you for your friendship! :)
    Have a great weekend!

  3. My kind of book! Though I don't know about the hamburger chocolate recipe.


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