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The Great Book of Chocolate Paperback – April 15, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

* A compact connoisseur’s guide, with recipes, to today’s cutting-edge array of chocolates and chocolate makers from former Chez Panisse pastry chef David Lebovitz.

* Includes more than 50 location and food photographs.

* The New York Times on Lebovitz’s first ook: "Instructions are clear and simple, and the recipes are so good that it becomes clear what a master baker he is."

About the Author

DAVID LEBOVITZ is a former pastry chef at Chez Panisse. He is also a sought-after cooking instructor, a frequent contributor to food publications, and a popular blogger. He lives in Paris, France, where he leads chocolate tours of the city.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; First Printing edition (April 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580084958
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580084956
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.6 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 16, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
`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.
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Format: 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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Format: 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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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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When I purchased this book I honestly thought it was going to be filled with Chocolate recipes. Gives lots of information about the trees, pods, etc. but there aren't any recipes until page 92. So I was a bit disappointed.
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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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