Marcel Desaulniers’ Celebrate With Chocolate

9387A01A-FA40-4ACC-83F0-383E053582CAThis is one of the most sensually exciting cookbooks that I’ve ever had the pleasure of adding to my collection. Aside from being an accomplished chef and restauranteur, Desaulniers is a very fine writer. Celebrate With Chocolate is not just a collection of recipes, it’s a good read.

As a cookbook, this has all of the necessary and relevant sections: a comprehensive and very instructive discussion of equipment, common ingredients, and useful techniques; separate chapters entitled “Cakes”, “Cookies”, “Frozen Desserts”, and “Mousses, Candies, and Other Chocolate Treats”, and even a page of online resources for recipes, ingredients, and kitchenware. The book is laid out logically, cooking instructions within each recipe are incredibly detailed, and the hardcover with good sturdy heavy grade paper is just made for heavy use in the kitchen (though admittedly glossy stock would make wiping off the inevitable spills a bit easier). Full color high gloss pages in the center of the book capture twenty recipes in luscious photographs that will have you salivating in no time at all.

As I said, though, Desaulniers’ writing is a joy to read. “Heavy cream,” he says, “a.k.a. whipping cream, is luscious and luxurious on the palate, somewhat like a butterfly alighting on a stamen.” Oh, my, yes. How about a wedding cake described as “…a magical reprise of lips smeared with buttercream, whispering promises soon to be requited?” Of his Black Mamba cookies, he opines “proffering these profoundly chocolate cookies leads to dangerous liaisons.” The man is an artist with words as well as with pastry. A word of caution, though — while Celebrate With Chocolate is brilliantly designed and written, many of the recipes, such as Caramel Orange-Chocolate Orange Masquerade Ice Cream Terrine or the exotic sounding Champagne Fritters with Chocolate Grape Surprise and Sparkling Cream, are indeed as complicated as their names suggest. This is not a cookbook that I would recommend for a beginner


Maria Nutick grew up in Central Oregon. She began questioning consensual reality at a very young age, and so her Permanent Record notes that she Did Not Apply Herself and Had Trouble Working Up To Her Full Potential. She sometimes Did Not Play Well With Others. In college, of course, she majored in Liberal Arts.

In the interest of Making Ends Meet she has done everything from baking to managing a theater. She lives in Portland, Oregon with the Furry Horde : 3 cats (Thor, Lucifer, and Moonshine), 2 dogs (Karma and Mojo), and 1 husband. She's an artsy craftsy type, and -- oh horrors -- a poet.

Her favorite writers are Holly Black, Emma Bull, Zenna Henderson, Charles De Lint, Parke Godwin, Terri Windling, Sheri S. Tepper, Will Shetterly, and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. She highly recommends, if you happen to be blue or just having a bad day, that you try listening to Silly Wizard's "The Queen of Argyll", Boiled in Lead's "Rasputin", and most importantly Tears for Beers' "Raggle Taggle Gypsy" and "Star of the County Down". It's hard to be sad while dancing with wild abandon. At least, Maria thinks so.

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