Just finished skimming this book (it’s 402 pages!). It is fantastic.
I had originally resisted buying it because I thought it was another of those chocolate fluff books that every halfway decent chocolatier feels compelled to write, with a bunch of recipes but no substance. From Ewald Notter, I should have known better. He is not only an excellent chocolatier, but probably the greatest living expert in sugar decor: he’s won many gold medals in the International Pastry Olympics and in 2001 scored the highest score ever while winning the gold medal in sugar decor. His work is stunning, and I have long wanted to go to Orlando, Florida to take one of his sugarcraft or chocolate classes. In short, I am a total fangirl. (He ain’t bad-looking, either. I took a class of his at a chocolate conference once, and I would have enjoyed his lecture – or at least watching him – even if he’d given it in German.)
At any rate, it’s an amazing book, especially for Amazon’s under-$40 price. Not only does he cover the theory of chocolatemaking, and provide an amazing collection of interesting flavor recipes, but he also gives detailed instructions for a zillion ways to decorate chocolates – many of which I’d never imagined (or seen!) before. Just when I thought I’d seen everything, along comes Ewald Notter to prove me wrong.
In addition to all that, fully half the book is devoted on making chocolate showpieces! This is a subject I have long wanted to study, but there were no decent books available. This book gives detailed instructions for creating eight or nine showpieces, each pretty in itself, but also demonstrating concepts and techniques that can be used for more complex pieces. While the chocolate work isn’t nearly as amazing as his sugar work (chocolate is a much more limited and difficult medium than sugar), damn, it’s spectacular. I am super excited, and dying to try it out. And I probably will, sometime around October or November, just for the fun of it. (Chocolate is so messy that I typically only work with it during chocolate season.)
Wow. Mouthwatering and educational. And under $40. Run, do not walk, to the computer and order this book, if you are serious about chocolate. It’s got a place in my library next to my other two bibles: Peter Greweling’s Chocolate and Confections and Jean-Pierre Wybauw’s Fine Chocolates Great Experience series. I’m amazed, and delighted.
Okay. Enough drooling over chocolate! Back to work on the Celtic Braid Coat.