I have just spent the last hour languishing in illicit thoughts of all things chocolatey. My mouth is watering, my sweet tooth is tingling and I feel an uncontrolable urge to get into the kitchen and start baking.
What has brought this on, I hear you ask. Well, it is simply one of the best chocolate recipe books I have read in a long time, 'Chocolat' by Eric Lanlard.
Eric, an award-winning patissier shares more than 100 of his favourite recipes in his first book dedicated to a single ingredient. Not just any ingredient mind you, but the ultimate ingredient, Theobromas Cacao.
That's, 'The Food of the Gods' to you and me. This seems entirely appropriate as Eric is generally recognised as a god in the world of patisserie.
We start off with a gentle introduction, a brief history of chocolate and advice on buying the best ingredients as well as information on tempering your chocolate, something every chocolatier should be able to do! Yeah, yeah, I hear you say, just get to the good stuff, the recipes!
They do not disappoint! Eric covers all the key culinary areas where chocolate can be used as a main ingredient:
The Bakery section covers many of the mothwatering sweet treats you would expect to find at a high end french patisserie with, amongst others, his recipes for 'Swiss Walnut and Chocolate Cake' (which he used to make as a child, I was lucky if I could make beans on toast as a child!) as well as his lusciously moist and indulgent 'Dark Chocolate Moelleux' with a glossy ganache glaze and topped with succelent fresh berries.
This is gastronomic hedonism at its best!
Desserts & Puddings feature strongly too, as you might expect in a book dedicated to such a rich and indulgent ingredient as chocolate. There are recipes for 'Chocolate Petits Pots', perfect for serving at the end of a meal and which can be found in most french bistros.
I have happy memories of these eating in what seemed like, the smallest bistro in the world on my first, and hopefully not my only, trip to Paris!
There is even a 'Double Baked Chocolate Brownie' or a 'White Chocolate and Passion fruit Cheesecake'.
This book is a treat in every way and not to be missed whether you are, like me, a fan of chocolate, an admirer of the skills of Eric Lanlard or a keen baker this book has something for all!
I will be talking to Eric and getting him to show me some of his recipes on The Morning Show, tomorrow (Wednesday 15th May). Don't miss it.