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Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor Hardcover – September 1, 2005


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Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor + Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner + Making Artisan Chocolates
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; First Edition edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584794577
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584794578
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 9.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It's Chemistry 101 all over again. But never have science textbooks featured close-to-three-dimensional photographs (courtesy of pro Maren Caruso), such an elegant array of recipes (more than 60), and ideas and flavors that will bowl over every reader. Yet consider that the main author is Michael Recchiuti, a San Franciscan called the Picasso of chocolatiers, and that his cohort, Fran Gage, once owned a locally esteemed patisserie and now writes for national gourmet-type publications. That combination of expertise creates a beyond-the-novice collection of both recipes and information that chocoholic bakers will be hard-pressed to do without. Unusual flavors (for instance, key lime pears and lavender vanilla ganache) and two-page features (Michael shopping for produce at a Bay-area farm, for instance) culminate with cooking directions to produce a book that's so much more than a coffee-table object. Just adopt the chef's philosophy: Respect it and give it time. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Michael Recchiuti started his chocolate business in San Francisco in 1997 after a successful career at some of the top restaurants in Philadelphia. His chocolates were soon recognized for their sophistication and originality, and they have been featured in the New York Times, Food & Wine, and many other publications. He lives in San Francisco.

Fran Gage owned the award-winning Fran Gage Patisserie Française in San Francisco for ten years. She now writes about food for the San Francisco Chronicle, Saveur, and Fine Cooking, among other publications, and has published several books, including Bread and Chocolate and A Sweet Quartet. Gage lives in San Francisco.

Maren Caruso is a San Francisco-based photographer who specializes in food photography. Her work has appeared in Wine and Spirits, Chocolatier, and Taste magazines, and in the STC books Grilling and Barbecuing and Great Grilled Cheese.

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Customer Reviews

These are the only 2 books you'll ever need.
Biscotti
I love the simplicity of this book's recipes, and the room they leave for experimentation.
Cherokee Purple
This is an outstanding book and I highly recommend it.
M. Drew

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on January 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
`Chocolate Obsession' by San Francisco chocolatier, Michael Recchiuti and San Francisco Patisser and writer, Fran Gage is a book of recipes and techniques from the point of view of the very high end chocolate candy maker. It is to chocolate and Thomas Keller's `French Laundry Cookbook' is to the recipes of American `haute cuisine'. If you wish to find an introductory book on chocolate making, get a copy of the excellent book `Bittersweet' by Alice Medrich, whiich the authors cite in their bibliography and which I have reviewed and found an excellent introduction to the subject.

The book centers around the very distinctive chocolate styles of Recchiuti Chocolates, which are distinguished by, among other things, the use of a lot of flavors one does not typically find paired with chocolate such as teas, tarragon, cardamom, and especially caramal.

The one thing which makes this book accessible to the experienced chocolate maker is the fact that it deals primarily with the very simplest forms of chocolate candy such as truffles, dipped and moulded chocolates, `snacks' such as s'mores, chocolate barks, chocolate drinks, and sauces. In all this, caramel is much more than just another ingredient for Recchiuti. It appears over and over in many different forms from caramelized nuts in the `snacks' to flavorings in ice cream.

There are things in this book for the novice who has aspirations to be a skillful chocolatier. While I'm sure I probably have them in at least one of my hundreds of cookbooks, I'm pleased to find recipes for both graham crackers and marshmallow, leading to the ability to create entirely homemade s'mores.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Foodie NYC on October 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most wonderful books on chocolate that I have ever read and cooked with. I had the opportunity to visit Recchiuti Confections when I was in San Francisco this spring and was thrilled when I saw this book -- Michael Recchiuti sharing his secrets to chocolate making and making wonderful chocolate desserts. I have made several of the recipes already and they are all wonderful. The Gingerbread Cupcakes with a White Chocolate Lemon Topping is marvelous and the Rocky Recchiuti Brownies are the best I've ever made. This book will make your holiday baking out of this world and the book makes a terrific gift for any food lover on your shopping list.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Wu on March 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Contents of book: About 25 chocolate candy recipes (1/2 the book), Snacks (brownies, cookies, cupcakes, souflees), chocolate drinks, and ice creams.

The best part of this book is that Recchiuti gives you the recipes of the real chocolates that he sells on his website and stores. Tea, Burnt Caramel, tarragon/grapefruit, cardamonom, malt with honeycomb, fleur de sel, rose caramel, kona, ginger, and so on - they are all there. Given that Recchiuti is known as one of the top chocolatiers in the country, this is really incredible. If you are a serious chocolate candy maker, this book is a must-have.

The difficulty level of this book is hard for chocolates, easy for other parts. Most of the chocolate recipes use invert sugar (not a common ingredient). Some of the spices are specialized (verbena, or rose water). Molding technique is obviously difficult. On the other hand, the other sections are at a much lower level of difficulty.

This book is not heavy on technique pictures or descriptions of techniques. You almost have to know the techniques before you do them.

If you are looking for chocolate techniques, "chocolate confections" by Greweling is a better book, as is "Making Artisan Chocolates" by Shotts.

To me, this is more of a ganache recipe book.

For me, the bottom line is that Recchiuti shares his recipes for his *entire line* of top end chocolates. He's giving away all his trade secrets in this book. You gotta have it for that reason.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Drew on December 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is not the book for you if you're impatient with precision and specifics; if you want good results, you'll do what Michael Recchiuti tells you to do. You'll buy the higher-butterfat butter, you'll use the Scharffen-Berger or Valrhona and chuck the Hershey's, and you'll be so glad you did, because every recipe --and I mean every single one of the seven or eight recipes I have tried from this book thus far-- has been fantastic.

I would not call this a good beginner's cookbook, though the photography is gorgeous enough to qualify this as a coffee table book even for those who don't want to get in the kitchen. Some baking experience is helpful, as is a well-equipped kitchen (stand-mixer, immersion blender, heavy-bottomed pots for sauces etc). This is an outstanding book and I highly recommend it.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Toni VINE VOICE on July 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My initial opinion of this book, prior to purchasing it, was that it would be a book of fancy chocolate confections that would be hard to make, and too extreme too enjoy; treats such as "Earl Grey Tea Ganache" and "Tarragon Ganache with Candied Fruit", as well as other eclectic sweetness. It seemed too sophisticated for my average jo palate.

But the name of Michael Recchiuti was the draw, and after flipping through this wonderful labor of love, I realized that I was a chocolate snob. Shame on me.

First of all, the physical book itself is glorious. It has been beautifully brought together with raised lettering on the cover, and the feel of those satin pages, along with clear, crisp photography that makes you anxious to get started!

Then there is the educational content. Michael is a Master Chocolatier, which is his hard-earned title and is very well-deserved. And despite the gamut of unusual and standard chocolate flavors and concoctions he has created, his way of talking to you is that of a good friend who wants to share his knowledge with you in the most earnest way possible.

He has covered everything and he does so in a encouraging and kindly fashion with one of his best sections being "Organizing Chocolate Work"; it was very much appreciated that he gave a timetable to help determine your level of expertise. You need to learn in steps and he graciously helps you climb that ladder of knowledge. Also, he adds wonderful stories and such to weave his history and love affair with that dark and tempting devil of sweetness.

This is a great teaching tool and chocolate creations book, as well as a coffee-table libre that you can peruse when you want to kick back and relax.
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