Reviewer says
Melt, Louise Nason | 2011 | UK

reviewed by Gfron1

Melt: A Book of Chocolate
by Louise Nason, Chika Watanabe
Publisher: Absolute Press, Country: UK
ISBN: 9781906650384, Year: 2011
Link to publisher’s page or site
This review is the personal opinion of the reviewer.

Review

From Absolute Press, a publisher with an impeccable design team, Melt features the chocolate work of Louise Nason and Chika Watanabe from their eponymous boutique, along with the photography of Jean Cazals. The book was released in time for the 2011 holiday season, and features a short introductory section followed by brief explanations of equipment, melting and tempering chocolate.

Due to their specialized nature, chocolate cookbooks are more about instruction than style, and that lays a heavy responsibility on the author. Because chocolate making requires precision and accuracy in technique, time and temperature, instructions must be clear and keenly focused on the intended readership . Melt, while offering beautiful photography and ample recipes struggles to achieve this level of accuracy.

The range of recipes is categorized into Spices and Herbs, Nuts and Seeds, Fruit and Tropical Twists, Blossoms, Leaves and Roots, “Pure and Simple,” and “Kick!” The latter two feature relatively tame concoctions and more unusual recipes respectively. Recipes range from truffles to cakes to marshmallows – a fair spectrum of sweet chocolate uses. Each recipe is well written, requires commonly found ingredients, and lovingly demonstrates the authors’ passion for their recipes.

So who is this book written for? Advanced chocolatiers will not find anything novel or exciting. Intermediate chocolate makers will find some new recipes and possibly a fresh perspective on flavor pairings (which tend to the conservative but more refined quality side of the spectrum), but the sections on “Identifying quality chocolate,” “What to drink with chocolate,” and “When is the best time to eat chocolate?” will seem silly and useless. Beginners, however, will find the book a good introduction to chocolate work, but may find some of the recipes to be too challenging.

The book is pretty to look at. The authors are a pleasure to read. Some of the recipes got dog-eared immediately in my copy for future use. Just be sure that the authors are speaking to you when you decide to buy Melt.

This is an original review for The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf.
Main rating: 4 stars. Recommended
Visual appeal: Attractive
Suitability as a gift: Quite nice
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