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Celebrate with Chocolate: Totally Over-the-Top Recipes Hardcover – October 22, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Don't let the relatively diminutive size of Marcel Desaulniers's Celebrate with Chocolate fool you. In this age of coffee-table cookbooks, the 45 recipes and 16 pages of color photographs in this book might lull you into thinking that these desserts are simple. But look carefully at the cover and see the important subtitle, Totally Over-the-Top Recipes.

The almost 20 pages of clear, easy-to-follow information on equipment, ingredients, and techniques give the confidence needed to tackle projects like the five-page Dancing Gingerbread Men Peppermint Fudge Cake: super-spicy, mildly chocolaty, moist sponge cake layers are separated by voluminous white chocolate mousse mixed with mini chocolate chips and crushed peppermint candy, and then enveloped with a smooth chocolate glaze and topped with dancing gingerbread men. Not exactly child's play. For those not easily intimidated, Desaulniers has a seriously decadent recipe for Granny's Chocolate-and-Walnut-Covered Coffee-Cocoa Marshmallow Squares. When you finally unstick your kitchen, the dense, richly flavored, chewy marshmallow bites will elicit groans of pleasure.

There are also a few less complicated concoctions such as Bob's Big-Ass Chocolate Brown Sugar and Bourbon Birthday Cake, Double Chocolate Pecan Tart, and the surprisingly easy Cocoa Berry Yogurt Mousse, which comes together in just a few minutes. For the most part, the cakes, cookies, frozen desserts, mousses, candies, and other chocolate treats in Celebrate with Chocolate are not for the faint of heart or the kitchen novice, but if you're seriously into chocolate, and are up for the challenge, let Desaulniers be your guide. --Leora Y. Bloom

From Publishers Weekly

There are two kinds of chocolate obsessives: purists, who like their chocolate unadulterated, more black than brown, more bitter than sweet, and would inject it if they could; and decadents, whose jaded palates can be tempted only by chocolate follies of increasing complexity and sophistication. Desaulniers (Death by Chocolate; Death by Chocolate Cakes; and Desserts to Die For) has emerged from the morbid fascination of his previous books with his obsession intact, taking chocolate machismo to new heights. Many consider his first book to be a certifiable chocolate bible, and may wonder where else Desaulniers can go. Whereas Death by Chocolate overpowers (with Chocolate Devastation), his newest amuses (Chocolate-Banana-Rum-Raisin Ice Cream Cakes with Rum and Almond Twinkle). Desaulniers is famous for his ambitious recipes, but this latest book is really most successful at is simplest. Cocoa Yogurt Mousse cannot take more than five minutes to prepare and tastes like a million bucks; Chocolate Madras Cake thrillingly combines dark chocolate with orange zest and a deep cranberry coulis. And despite Desaulniers's almost militant chocoholism, 40 years in the business have given him a voice more humane and interesting than most of the bad-boy cookbook authors in vogue.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 175 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (October 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688162983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688162986
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,125,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marcel Desaulniers is the executive chef and owner of the Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia. A 1965 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Marcel has received several national awards, including Food and Wine magazine's Honor Roll of American Chefs, Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America, the prestigious Ivy Award from Restaurants and Institutions, the 1993 James Beard Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic States, the highly coveted Silver Plate award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, and in 1999 the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in America.

Marcel's first cookbook, THE TRELLIS COOKBOOK, was published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 1988. The paperback version, including 20 new recipes, was published in January 1992 by Simon & Schuster. DEATH BY CHOCOLATE, Desaulniers' second cookbook, published by Rizzoli, New York in September 1992, has sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide. In 1993, DEATH BY CHOCOLATE won the James Beard Best Baking and Desserts Cookbook Award. Marcel's television cooking series, "Death by Chocolate," based on his book premiered in September 1993 on The Learning Channel.

In 1994, Simon & Schuster released Marcel's third book, THE BURGER MEISTERS. In 1995 THE BURGER MEISTERS won the James Beard Best Single Subject Cookbook Award. His cooking series, "The Burger Meister," premiered on The Learning Channel in September 1994. Marcel's fourth book, DESSERTS TO DIE FOR, was published by Simon & Schuster in November 1995, and in April 1996 the book was awarded the Julia Child Cookbook Award for Bread, Other Baking and Sweets category as well as the Cook's Choice Award. His fifth book, AN ALPHABET OF SWEETS, was published by Rizzoli, New York in October 1996. A sixth book, DEATH BY CHOCOLATE COOKIES, was published by Simon & Schuster in November of 1997. The seventh cookbook, SALAD DAYS, was published by Simon & Schuster in the Spring of 1998. DEATH BY CHOCOLATE CAKES, was published by William Morrow, New York in September 2000, and was a 2001 IACP Cookbook Award Finalist. Marcel's most recent book, CELEBRATE WITH CHOCOLATE, was published by William Morrow, New York in October 2002 and was the winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Best Chocolate Book for 2002. Foreign editions of his books have been published in France, Great Britain, Holland, Australia, Mexico, and Canada. Marcel next cookbook, DREAMING OF A CHOCOLATE CHRISTMAS, will be published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., in October of 2007.

Marcel opened The Trellis Restaurant in 1980, along with partner John Curtis. In July 1988, Marcel was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs, the honor society of the American Culinary Federation. He is past president and chairman of the board of the Virginia Chefs Association, a past member of The Board of Directors of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and is trustee emeritus of The Board of Trustees for the Culinary Institute of America.

In 2009, after 29 years, Marcel and John Curtis sold the Trellis. Marcel then recharged his batteries and in April of 2012 he opened MAD About Chocolate, a chocolate cafe featuring his signature over-the-top chocolate desserts.

Joining him is his wife and business partner Connie. Together their goal is to serve the best chocolate goodies in a festive atmosphere.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By H. Grove (errantdreams) TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm a sucker for Marcel Desaulniers' cookbooks. Around the holidays I was in a bookstore and saw "Celebrate with Chocolate" (and oh dear, I was having a chocolate craving at the time)--I just had to bring it home. We immediately used a recipe out of it for my birthday cake (err, cakes--it produced a bunch of little cakes that look just like dominoes), and it was as superb as every other Marcel recipe I've ever had! Those little cakes were so densely fudgy that we ended up splitting them and topping them with ice cream so as to avoid falling over dead of a chocolate overdose.
Sadly this cookbook lacks the gorgeous photos you'll find throughout Marcel's death by chocolate series. Normally I don't really care one way or the other, but he's so darn artistic with his food that the photos really bring something extra to his cookbooks. At least there is a small section of photos in the middle so you aren't entirely deprived.
These are incredibly rich recipes, as evidenced by this note from the ingredients chapter: "My admiration and love for butter has never wavered." Like Marcel's other recipes, these come in pieces. That is to say, instead of having one continuous recipe, a recipe is put together in stages and then assembled. Take Rolf's Old-World Black Forest Cake, for example. It includes a vanilla sugar cookie base, an old-world cocoa sponge cake, glazed cherries, "just a hint of chocolate" buttercream frosting, whipped cream, and chocolate curls. This makes it very easy to mix-and-match recipe components. As usual Marcel's recipes are long, but again this is because he details every step, ensuring a wonderful result.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just when you thought it was safe, having experienced the Death By Chocolate and Decadent Desserts with Chocolate, the consummate chocoahlic main man, Marcel Desaulniers does it again, with this celebratory effort with chocolate!
It has his accustomed "user friendly" features of helpful primer on ingredients and equipment and techniques and sources, and my favorite: "The Chef's Touch" where he comments on substitutes, background, source help,etc.
But the same expected super-creative, super chocolate recipes are over the top in this one! There's cakes and cookies and frozen concoctions, and more!
What can one say about this variety of tempting over the top desserts such as: Champagne Fritters with Chocolate Grape Surprise and Sparkling Cream; Chocolate-Chunk Pineapple Rummies; White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Blackberry Pixilation; Dancing Gingerbread Men Peppermint Fudge Cake; Chocolate Cookie Crumble Spiked Berry Ice Cream Cake; Chocolate "Just the Two of Us" Birthday Cake; Chocolate Hazelnut Christmas Tree Stump.
With this one joining his other outstanding cookbooks, any home chef is loaded with great ammunition and idea starters for terrific dining! His testing out of the recipes on home equipment and ingredients insures in this reviewers experience that we can duplicate his magnificent creations.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was so excited to see another of Marcel's books come out that I quickly bought it. It's one of those books that you can hardly wait to get into the kitchen and start baking. I just had to try the Pretty in Pink cake, but I discovered that you needed three 6 x 2 cake pans. So I went out and found them at Sur La Table. Then I discovered I needed Wilderberry Schnapps. I finally found that at a large wine store in the area. (It is not at your local grocery.) Everything else I had and was ready to go. Needless to say, even though it took a while for me to gather all these things, it was worth the effort.
I followed the instructions exactly, and I tried a piece after waiting the hour it needs in the fridge. It was okay. The next day, I tried another piece, and WOW! It tasted like a cake you would get in an expensive restaurant from a good pastry chef. Letting the cake sit in the fridge overnight gave the cake just the right texture and the frosting looked beautiful and was delicious. I took some to my co-workers and they thought it was restaurant quality, also.
If you have a special event or just want to make a fabulous cake that will impress everybody, this is the cake for you. I am just a home cook, no special training, with just a GE electric oven, but I was able to do it and get great results. I was so excited to taste such a masterpiece. I couldn't even get around to putting the strawberries on it, because it didn't last that long. Also, Marcel's instructions are like he's in the kitchen with you.
I am looking forward to trying other recipes, but if I don't right away, that's okay, because this recipe alone was worth the price of the book.
Way to go, Marcel. Magnifique!!
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37 of 47 people found the following review helpful By jerry i h on November 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I use the word "whimsical" in the negative sense, as something amusing, unusual, or humorous that most people will not be interested in. So it is with Desaulnier's recent cookbook of "totally over-the-top recipes" (to be fair, though, they are not as outrageous as in some other books). In the end, I suggest that you steer clear of it.
One can criticize this book on several grounds, but the most serious involve the recipe instructions. Almost all of them contain at least a few parts that are either incomplete or downright wrong. This is rather disappointing, as the author has a facility dubbed "Ganache Hill" that is devoted to testing recipes for his cookbooks. For example, his instructions for making an Italian meringue ("Honey, I'm on Cloud Nine" Icing) are too vague for this rather tricky procedure. The eggs for Schnappy Chocolate Cake did not whip properly. The cake layers for his version of Black Forest Cake should be soaked with syrup just before you assemble the cake, not just before you store it the refrigerator (they will get soggy and impossible to handle, I think). The author also states that the flour is "pre-sifted", yet he calls for the flour to be sifted after measurement; he also makes the mistake of not giving weight measurements for flour. One of the cookie recipes ends up as batter rather than a dough, and spread too much on the cookie sheet.
Another objection involves his use of non-standard baking pans: you will need a bewildering array of them, and it is unlikely that you will have any of the; you will have to purchase them specially for a specific recipe.
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