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The Great Book of Chocolate
If you love chocolate, you’ll be thrilled to take a chocolate tour around the world with David Lebovitz—without having to pay for airfare.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MELODY LAN hasn’t stopped making chocolate desserts since she finished reading this book.


August 2006

Product Reviews / Best Reads / Cooking

The Great Book of Chocolate

By David Lebovitz

 

Whether chocolate is one of your great passions in life or not, once you’ve entered the engaging world that Lebovitz has set up for you in this book, you’ll never want to leave. Why? You’ll have a front-row seat to a chocolate traveler’s adventures from beginning to end. By the last page, you may be able to call yourself a chocolate expert.

David Lebovitz, a critically acclaimed author named one of the “Top Five Pastry Chefs in The Bay Area” by the San Francisco Chronicle, catalogs his life passion for chocolate lovers of all degrees. His journal-like chocolate book captures the essence of chocolate, starting with the basics of chocolate’s origin as a by-product of the fruit of the cacao tree. The sections get broken down as the details of chocolate become more complex. That’s when the journey gets exciting, because you’ll discover everything from the roasting and fermenting process of cacao beans to what it’s like to work at a fancy chocolate shop in Brussels a week before Christmas.

Fun Facts & Chocolate Care

How was chocolate first used? What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa? Why is chocolate ever referred to as gianduja and what makes chocolate organic? Rest assured, you’ll have all these kinds of chocolate questions answered and much much more in just the first three chapters. For example, did you know that black cocoa is a highly alkalized cocoa powder commonly used in baked goods for the intense dark color, rather than for chocolate flavor? If you did, good for you. If not, it’s ok. You’ll be informed, challenged and mesmerized by the details in this book—and they will make your next bite into a piece of chocolate more meaningful. Yes, you will have the urge to sink your teeth into a morsel every few pages, but you’ll be absorbed by the appropriate temperatures to store chocolate confections.

Health Benefits

Not that we need any more persuasion to eat chocolate everyday, but Lebovitz reports on why pure dark chocolate is a reasonable component of a balanced diet. While there Chocolate Barsis much press today about the benefits of chocolate, and some companies market chocolate bars for beauty, health and fitness, chocolate with a high percentage of quality cacao (70% or higher) is considered antioxidant-rich and a helpful digestif. Antioxidants battle free radicals, the “the bad guys” in the body, to help you stay healthy by preventing cell damage. Broken down on a grid in one of the chapters, dark chocolate sits above all the other products that are high in antioxidants, including blueberries or green tea. (In fact, cacao has the most antioxidants, but also has many more calories than blueberries or green tea, the latter of which has zero). At the same time, chocolate also has a high level of magnesium which causes the euphoric effects; and seratonin, which accounts for the tranquility and balancing of moods. These may be obvious bits of information extracted from personal experiences, but the reading only makes you realize that where chocolate is concerned, there is always something new and to learn.

Purchasing Tips

Several chapters into the book you will have the urge to run out to buy chocolate because the alluring images call to you. Don’t yield to temptation until you get through the portion that provides tips for chocolate buyers, as well as descriptions of the world’s renowned chocolatiers. Fortunately, each of Lebovitz’s favorites has a website you can peruse at your leisure and have products delivered to your front door. A special section on artisanal chocolates demonstrates that chocolates can be as expensive as fancy jewelry and displayed like them too. Chocolate connoisseurs know that these are treasures worth every penny.

Baking Recipes

Finished off like a cherry on top, is the recipe section that has been gathered from the author’s favorite bake shops, restaurants and chocolatiers. His compilation expresses his personal love for chocolate and the art of baking, inviting you to indulge yourself with recipes that encompass your own passion for chocolate while exploring the new and exceptional. Who knows—perhaps you’ll also be a fan of the Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake with Chocolate Glaze or the Chili con Chocolate. Or if your daring side is on a break, you won’t be disappointed with the Homemade Rocky Road or the classic Chocolate Soufflé Cake. This is a lovely travel guide to the depths of Chocolate Heaven.

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