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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a great book for chocolate lovers. Highly Recommended
`The Great Book of Chocolate', David Lebovitz' third book, is much, much more than a book of chocolate recipes. It is a great resource, including recipes, lore, history, sources, anecdotes, manufacture, producers, and botany of cacao and chocolate.

Even if you have any other book on chocolate, you will find things in this book which do not appear in any others,...
Published on September 16, 2004 by B. Marold

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a chocolate catalogue at times
Too much shop-reviewing! I don't need to read so many reviews of shops I am unlikely to ever be able to visit. The book was great and had a good amount of information, but the shop reviews went on forever. Nice recipes in the back, but I am unlikely to actually make them.
Published on January 24, 2011 by A. Chow


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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a great book for chocolate lovers. Highly Recommended, September 16, 2004
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This review is from: The Great Book of Chocolate (Paperback)
`The Great Book of Chocolate', David Lebovitz' third book, is much, much more than a book of chocolate recipes. It is a great resource, including recipes, lore, history, sources, anecdotes, manufacture, producers, and botany of cacao and chocolate.

Even if you have any other book on chocolate, you will find things in this book which do not appear in any others, as it has information I have not seen in about a half dozen books on chocolate and about 20 hours of Food Network shows on chocolate done by everyone from Alton Brown to Tyler Florence to Gordon Elliot.

One of the most interesting new facts I found in this book is that like coffee, there are two different naturally occurring varieties of the cacao plant, plus a manmade hybrid. One of the varieties is much more delicate and much less common than the other, accounting for about 5% of the world's chocolate, but it is a much richer product. Very few chocolate processors deal with this criollo variety. Most use the much more common forestero variety or the hybrid trinitario.

Like tea and coffee and olive oil, cacao is a highly complex product, much of whose more desirable and subtle properties are destroyed by too much heat during processing. Heat is also the enemy of chocolate when melting and tempering chocolate to be used for cooking. This brings up one of my very few complaints about this book in that it explains a very primitive method for heating and tempering chocolate. I would have devoted at least one page to explaining how professional chocolate tempering pots work, and in what way one could be improvised. The author gives some very brief suggestions using a heating pad, but a paragraph plus an illustration would have been dandy. Other explanations in the book would have been well served by an illustration or a caption to a picture, but these are small matters in light of the overall quality of the book.

While Lebovitz was already a highly talented and accomplished pastry chef when he started writing this book, he has gone to the extra effort of investigating first hand the workings of premium chocolatiers in San Francisco, Paris and Brussels. He has also recently completed a course in chocolate at Callebaut College in Belgium.

The chapters in this book, after the introduction which covers Lebovitz personal involvement with chocolate includes:

Chocolate Explained gives the history, botany, and processing of the cacao plant, plus some stories of two important American chocolate producers, Hershey and Sharfen Berger.

Sustainability of Cacao discusses the fragile place of cacao in jungle ecosystems and the production of organic chocolate.

A Chocolate Primer discusses the forms of chocolate, from pure chocolate liqueur to cocoa power, plus an explanation of tempering. While he points out that there is no difference between `semisweet' and `bittersweet' chocolate, he does not discuss the availability of chocolates with sweetening graded by percent, as done by Vahlrona. It is also surprising that while so many other chocolate companies are mentioned in the book, this very important French company is not. It is not even listed in the very good list of resources in the back of the book.

Chocolate and Wellness reveals that carefully processed chocolate has a lot more antioxidants in it than even health food stars prunes, raisins, and blueberries. Not only that, it has lots of other good stuff, including some compounds which work as an antidepressant.

Buying Chocolate gives a brief consumers guide to sources for good chocolate, including a detailed chronicle of seven days spend working at the shop of the best chocolatier in Brussels.

Chocolate of Paris continues the buying guide with a focus on sources in Paris that rivals Brussels as one of the leading chocolatier centers in the world.

The 34 recipes certainly do not cover the whole world of chocolate baking and candy making, but they give you a pretty good sampling of both conventional products such as hot chocolate, truffles, fudge, and cakes; to the slightly unusual such as chocolate and cherry scones, mint and chocolate crème anglaise, and bourbon mud pie; to the really unusual such as chocolate sauerkraut cake and chocolate pizza dough.

Lebovitz says many of the recipes are original and, as he is a much, much better baker than I will ever be, even in my dreams, I will accept these recipes for being the crème of the crop. As I said above, this book will not replace your books by Flo Braker, Nick Malgieri, or Alice Medrich or even Lebovitz' earlier books on desserts. It is much more of a supplement to resources for making the best use in recipes by all bakers and chocolatiers.

As the book is much more valuable for its websites, addresses, and information than it is for its recipes, the awkward tall and skinny format does not annoy me as much as it may in other cookbooks. I just wish Ten Speed Press would come out with an explanation for why they are so in love with this tall, skinny format.

Highly recommended enhancement to your enjoying chocolate.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David's Great Book of Chocolate Surpasses Expectations, August 8, 2004
This review is from: The Great Book of Chocolate (Paperback)
David Lebovitz is a master chef and culinary instructor as well as an experienced and skilled author. His talent and expertise shine brightly in this latest cookbook dedicated entirely to chocolate.

David offers readers an historical overview of chocolate, then instructs us on the fine points of working with quality chocolate. He shares his opinions on the various chocolates available in the marketplace and how to choose the best chocolate for the dish you are creating.

David divides his time between San Francisco and Paris, two of the world's finest culinary destinations, and he knows each city well. We are treated to his suggestions for the BEST pastry shops in Paris and their chocolate specialties, and provides some of his favorite bakeries and cafes in the US as well. The book is annecdotal, with a running commentary accompanying his sumptuous recipe selection. It's nearly as good as a personal tour of Paris and beyond combined with a culinary class dedicated to one of the world's favorite flavors.

As a vanilla specialist I know how well chocolate and vanilla pair and also how complex each of these flavors is, so it was with especial pleasure that David teaches us how to understand and appreciate all of the nuances of this incredible tropical treasure. The Great Book of Chocolate is not "just another book on chocolate;" it is a "must have" book for anyone who is passionate about chocolate or who values the opportunity to prepare beautiful desserts.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful- loved it- you gotta get it!!, July 28, 2005
This review is from: The Great Book of Chocolate (Paperback)
I am a hard-core "chocophile" and chocolate book collector and I LOVED this book!! Whats so wonderful about is the format, writer's style, photos, and variety of topics. The author does not just focus on one or two aspects of chocolate, like history or recipes, he adds in many additional elements including modern day chocolatiers, favorites in Paris (he is an expert here) all different types of chocolate, bean-to-bar manufacturing process, how to use it in baking, healthy aspects of it, organic chocolate, amazing recipes....and more! Its like getting a box of assorted chocolates, covering all different tastes. The photos are gorgeous, even the shape of the book is fun. I recommend this book to any connoisseur as well as anyone who loves and wants to learn more about chocolate- of my many many books on the subject, this is quite possibly my favorite!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro to top-quality, tasteful chocolate., January 3, 2007
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Techdaddy (California USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Great Book of Chocolate (Paperback)
Handy international travel/shopping guide and well-focused recipe collection. Very accurate and informative. Compact narrow book format is great for suitcases but a pain for comfortable armchair reading. Elegant, GORGEOUS photos are a big plus, but excessive wasteful "white space" and generous text-spacing (leading) should have been saved instead for a larger coffee-table book. Note that much of the shopping/address info in the 2004 edition reviewed here might need updating, so check if the publisher has done so.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simplicity at its best, August 13, 2006
This review is from: The Great Book of Chocolate (Paperback)
I love David's cookbooks because the thread that runs through all of them is great ingredients simply prepared make wonderful desserts. My preschool daughters and I make truly homemade brownies together and it doesn't get any better than that!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate facts and info as well as recipes, January 29, 2007
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This review is from: The Great Book of Chocolate (Paperback)
Excellent book. One of the very few books on chocolate that I own that actually contains lots of info about chocolate. Previously I've only collected recipe books but I have already read this book cover to cover and was delighted with all the information (valuable insights into chocolate manufacture, tasting, etc). The recipes look fantastic - I have yet to try them but I am very impressed by the information presented on chocolate. I wish I had purchased this book years ago before I started making chocolates and chocolate desserts it would have saved lots of time and mistakes.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yummy!, July 27, 2004
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This review is from: The Great Book of Chocolate (Paperback)
This is a terrific book. I loved the listing of chocolate shops around the world (with delightful write-ups). Also some great recipes, including one adapted by David but originated by Katharine Hepburn (my daughter's namesake). Can't beat that! Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate - mmmm, February 7, 2013
By 
Liz Moodie (Sandringham, Victoria Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Great Book of Chocolate (Paperback)
This is an interesting book. Not quite as many recipes in it as I thought it would have. perhaps that's a good thing - being a chocoholic. The information on chocolate is absolutely worth having - in fact, I have learnt quite a bit about it from reading this book. There is more to great chocolate than I had realised.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Educational, March 11, 2010
This review is from: The Great Book of Chocolate (Paperback)
David Lebovitz is very funny. The stories he tells about his experiences are funny with a gem of chocolate wisdom in each one.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best journey through the world of chocolate, August 2, 2006
This review is from: The Great Book of Chocolate (Paperback)
If you love chocolate, and let's face it, most of us do, this book is definitely a must have! This 164-page book, with its spectacular photos by Christopher Hirsheimer of exquisite dishes that will leave your mouth watering, will take you on a complete chocolate journey.

Starting with a condensed history of chocolate and moving on to the properties of cacao leaves and plants, and bringing the reader into modern day, Mr. Lebovitz teaches the reader everything one could ever want to know about chocolate. In fact, the reader will also learn about the health and antioxidant properties of chocolate. Who knew chocolate was actually good for you?

A nice bonus in this book is the factoids presented as sidebar information that Mr. Lebovitz provides the reader, answering all those interesting little-known questions about chocolate we never even considered asking!

Just when it seems the journey through the world of chocolate couldn't get any better, The Great Book of Chocolate continues by offering the reader over 30 of Mr. Lebovitz's favorite chocolate recipes. Among these, the reader can salivate over such culinary desert delights as Double Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies and Black Bottom Cupcakes.

In summary, The Great Book of Chocolate, written by David Lebovitz, takes the love and appreciation for fine chocolates to a height only before seen by the great wine connoisseurs of the world, only a lot more tasty and fun, and, as Mr. Lebovitz points out, much healthier.

Chocolate Zoom Magazine
[...]
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The Great Book of Chocolate
The Great Book of Chocolate by David Lebovitz (Paperback - April 15, 2004)
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