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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "patron saint of chocoholics" has something for every holiday
author of Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family

from the Canadian Jewish News, Hanukkah 2007

While Jews of Eastern European descent celebrate Hanukkah with mountains of latkes, Sephardic Jews fry sufganiyot. But for everyone - and every holiday - there's always...chocolate?

Yes, just about everyone's favorite...
Published on December 30, 2007 by Judy Bart Kancigor

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81 of 92 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quite honestly, it deserves 1 star
If you love Alice (as I do) you'll have probably have a hard forgiving her for this one. Although the title is "Chocolate Holidays : Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season" this book (as mentioned in the Editorial Reviews above) is actually "A Year in Chocolate : Four Seasons of Unforgettable Desserts" in paperback form (the printing info states, "This book first...
Published on September 26, 2005 by Shar


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81 of 92 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quite honestly, it deserves 1 star, September 26, 2005
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This review is from: Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season (Paperback)
If you love Alice (as I do) you'll have probably have a hard forgiving her for this one. Although the title is "Chocolate Holidays : Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season" this book (as mentioned in the Editorial Reviews above) is actually "A Year in Chocolate : Four Seasons of Unforgettable Desserts" in paperback form (the printing info states, "This book first appeared in hardcover as A Year in Chocolate : Four Seasons of Unforgettable Desserts"). If Alice was going to bless her fans with a reprint surely "Cocolat" would be the steller choice (esp. since it's been going for $100+ for very good copies on auction sites and third party reselling) but instead we're given a retitled book that (see reviews) isn't her signature work.

I have both "Chocolate Holidays" and "A Year in Chocolate" and the main difference is that Alice dropped her editor and managing editor from the Acknowledgements :-) The number of pages hasn't changed (a good thing for the editor: the references still work :-) The "new" book claims to have "an extended section on ingredients, equipment, and decorative touches and detailed notes on how to customize the recipes to use the chocolate of your choice"... hmmm, let's see. Hey! "microplane" is now spelled "Microplane"! And the listings for Pastry Tips and Pastry Brushes have been flipped! Pastry Brushes goes first now!!

The only added feature (the aforementioned "detailed notes on how to customize the recipes to use the chocolate of your choice") is the "Chocolate Note" that appears on some (not all) of the recipies. Calling this feature "detailed" is a bit of a stretch, especially since many of these Notes consist primarily of "You can use any domestic bittersweet or semisweet chocolate that does not have a percentage on the label, or any boutique or imported brand marked 50 to 72 percent." Wow. Thanks. *Cough*

I love ya, Alice, but you could have done yourself (and your fans) a greater service by publishing this tome under its true title ("'A Year in Chocolate : Four Seasons of Unforgettable Desserts' Second edition, featuring a few cosmetic tweaks but the same pics") or, even better yet, given yourself full justice and treating us to another edition of "Cocolat: Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts" (a book that could be reissued without revision and still be worth rebuying 8-)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "patron saint of chocoholics" has something for every holiday, December 30, 2007
By 
Judy Bart Kancigor (Fullerton, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season (Paperback)
author of Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family

from the Canadian Jewish News, Hanukkah 2007

While Jews of Eastern European descent celebrate Hanukkah with mountains of latkes, Sephardic Jews fry sufganiyot. But for everyone - and every holiday - there's always...chocolate?

Yes, just about everyone's favorite ingredient never goes out of season, claims award-winning author Alice Medrich, whose book "Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season" (Artisan) offers 50 luscious, decadent recipes to crown every holiday and celebration.

"I wanted to do a season-to-season book," said Medrich by phone from her Berkley, California, home. "Other ingredients we like to cook with change with the seasons. The constant is chocolate."

Jewish cooks know that Hanukkah is all about the oil. The symbolism goes back to ancient times, when Judah Maccabee and his tiny army defeated the Syrian-Greeks and recaptured Jerusalem. In attempting to rededicate the Temple, they found only enough oil to burn for one day. Miraculously it lasted eight days, and we've been celebrating with a frying frenzy ever since! But who says traditional potato latkes are the only fritter fit to fry?

"Chocolate Banana Blintzes are fried, and Hanukkah is a great excuse to serve them," noted Medrich. "They are just so delicious, a fancy party dessert that's easy to do." Restraint, she said, is sometimes the secret ingredient. "A little burst of chocolate sauce in a hot crepe with bananas is more seductive than a chocolate blintz with chocolate filling," she writes.

Another lesser-known Hanukkah tradition involves the story of Judith, a beautiful Jewish widow, who dined with the enemy general Holofernes. She plied him with cheese to make him thirsty for wine, and when he fell into a drunken stupor, she beheaded him with his own sword. Because her bravery is said to have inspired the Maccabees, some communities remember Judith by eating cheese during this holiday.

A delicious way to honor this unsung legendary heroine is with Honey Drizzled Chocolate Cheese Fritters, a recipe Medrich adapted from one by Marcella Hazan. The ricotta cheese batter with finely chopped chocolate and a hint of orange may be prepared up to two days ahead and fried within two hours of serving. Keep them warm in a 200°F. oven, and drizzle them with maple syrup instead of honey, if you prefer.

Hanukkah wouldn't be Hanukkah without latkes, but grandma never dreamed of pancakes like this: Chocolate Latkes, with not a potato in sight. Heaps of chocolate and coconut combine to produce a crunchy, yet chewy cookie with a soft, almost brownie-like interior. Fill an edible chocolate-coated pretzel basket with the latkes for an eye-catching centerpiece. Smaller baskets can even hold chocolate Hanukkah gelt, coins traditionally given to the children on the holiday.

Medrich, whom the San Francisco Chronicle once dubbed the "patron saint of chocoholics," was the founder of Cocolat, the legendary and innovative Bay Area pastry company that revolutionized chocolate making from the mid 1970's to the early `90's.

"Chocolate Holidays," a revised edition of the previously published "A Year in Chocolate," includes an extended section on ingredients, equipment and decorating ideas as well as "chocolate notes," taking the guesswork out of selecting among chocolate varieties.

"All the changes and updating of chocolate make it more interesting to work with," noted Medrich. "There are different blends of beans that now engage us."

Whether she's brewing a simple hot chocolate or spinning sugar for chocolate cream puffs, this master teacher encourages rather than intimidates with clear, precise instructions. The most important tip for a beginner in working with chocolate, she advises, is what the French call mise en place, setting out and preparing all the ingredients in advance.

"Baking is meditative. There's a sequence of things that you do. It's not free-form like cooking. Once you measure and prepare everything in advance, you dance through the steps. There's a sense of discipline about it, the familiarity of doing a favorite recipe. It's a pleasing ritual."

Medrich is passionate about chocolate year-round and claims to eat it every day. "I'm certain there are health properties in chocolate," she noted, "but it shouldn't be an invitation to gobble down a lot of candy or desserts with extra sugar, cream and fat. Enjoy the good stuff, and don't eat too much of it."

No matter the holiday or season, chocolate's seductive powers to comfort and astound are almost universal.

"Of all the special, quote, unquote, gourmet foods, chocolate is one of the only ones we have all loved since childhood," Medrich observed. "It's not an acquired taste. Maybe we liked milk chocolate and have grown to like bittersweet, but it's always been there for us. It's not intimidating. We didn't have to learn to like it, like coffee, wine or caviar."
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good for gourmets, January 9, 2007
By 
Anonymous (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season (Paperback)
This cookbook is a fun, neat cookbook - especially for those looking for recipes to bake for Jewish holidays. However, this book is certainly not for the amateur baker. Even if you are a chocoholic, like me, don't buy this book as your first cookbook.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, glad it's affordable and in print!, December 19, 2005
This review is from: Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season (Paperback)
I love all of Alice's books, but I didn't pick up A YEAR IN CHOCOLATE while it was in hardcover. Now, instead of paying for a second-hand book, I was able to get CHOCOLATE HOLIDAYS, which is truly gorgeous. And, for a chocolate lover, how great to have such fun ideas for each holiday!

This is a great book at a great price, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for holiday ideas or just anyone who loves chocolate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yum, June 27, 2010
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This review is from: Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season (Paperback)
I love chocolate. And now I love Alice Medrich.
As soon as I read that she was the Queen of Chocolate, I had to put her to the test because I love chocolate. I checked this book out from my local library and made every recipe from cover to cover.
Yes, EVERY RECIPE. No, I'm not kidding. Did I mention that I love chocolate?
Alice Medrich is the Queen and this book is her court. Buy it. You will never regret it.
Finally, someone found a way to encourage the eating of chocolate all year long. Let's celebrate with a slice of Chocolate Poundcake.
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5.0 out of 5 stars love it!, December 12, 2009
By 
Lorn (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season (Paperback)
I have yet to make all of the recipes in this book, but the ones I have tried have been excellent. The detailed instructions make it almost impossible to mess up, and you end up with beautiful and delicious desserts. I bake a lot, but the recipe for chocolate cake in this book made the best cake that I've ever made (or eaten). The recipes can be a little time consuming, but they are worth the effort.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Alice Medrich, you know chocolate!, March 27, 2012
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I have only made one cake so far - the Chocolate Peanutbutter one that is on the cover - but oh, it was amazing! I made it for my 2year old's birthday (he has sophisticated tastes) and all party goers loved it. I love Meidrich's recipes because her desserts are rich and decadent but not overly sweet. She's amazing!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate Holidays, January 7, 2008
This review is from: Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season (Paperback)
The cookbook was purchased as a gift for my sister-in-law. The recipes were not as main stream as I had hoped. Hopefully the recipes will be worth the effort.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate Holidays Unforgettable Dessert for every season, January 3, 2007
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This review is from: Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season (Paperback)
It looks like a wonderful book. My wife wanted it for Christmas, and she will be using it. We loved Alice Medrich's desserts when she had a retail store.
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Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season
Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season by Alice Medrich (Paperback - October 1, 2005)
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