Death By Chocolate
The Last Word On A Consuming Passion
Rizzoli International Publishers, Inc.
The Introduction begins, "This book is about obsession."
It is not an understatement.
I should mention at this point that I am a chocophile. Chocolate provides endless pleasure in and of itself, and is in many ways a natural component of romance. A giftwrapped box of chocolates is only the beginning, and an unimaginative one at that.
Enter Marcel Desaulniers, master chef and chocophile extraordinaire, with visions of Rabelaisian romps in pools of warm chocolate sauce. Clearly, a man after my own heart.
His large-format, gorgeously illustrated tome is a combination of coffee table book and recipe book. For me, of course, it also qualifies as general reading material, bolstered in that capacity by the many sidebars titled "The Chef's Touch." These little additions range from tips on preparing the indulgences to the history of one recipe or another. The recipes themselves are clearly written and surprisingly workable by someone without formal culinary training. The later chapters are a challenge, certainly, but not insurmountable. Death By Chocolate is a sensuous descent into chocolate delirium, beginning with a chapter called Singular Sensations, a collection of marvelous sauces, and ending in Chocolate Dementia, a set of unearthly concoctions that include the title torte. In my considerable cookbook collection, this volume is the unchallenged king.