The Cookbook Awards have been formally presented by IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) since 1986, when the Tastemaker Awards dissolved its program after 19 years. Under the guidance of cookbook author Bert Greene and the IACP Board of Directors, IACP assumed custody of the awards program that year and has since carried the torch, applauding excellence and setting standards in cookbook publishing now for more than 20 years.
(from IACP Cookbook Award Site, icap.com, accessed January, 2010)
I've got a slideshow of random snapshots that runs as a screensaver on my computer, and every time the picture of pumpkins for sale at Scotts Farm Stand in Essex, Connecticut, comes up, I smile. In the picture, its a sunny day and the pumpkins, scattered higgledy-piggledy across a big field, look like so many roly-poly playthings. Some people might squint and imagine the jack-o-lanterns that many of these pumpkins are destined to become. Me? I see them sitting in the middle of my dining table, their skins burnished from the heat of the oven and their tops mounded with bubbly cheese and cream. Ever since Catherine, a friend of mine in Lyon, France, told me about how she and her family stuff pumpkins with bread and cheese and bacon and garlic and herbs and cream, I cant look at a pumpkin on either side of the Atlantic without thinking, "Dinner!"
Of course, pumpkins are a New World vegetable, but Im seeing them more and more in the Paris markets, which means Im making this dish more and more wherever I am. Its less a recipe than an arts and crafts project; less a formula than a template to play with and make your own.
Basicallyand its really very basic you hollow out a small pumpkin, just as you would for a jack-o-lantern, salt and pepper the inside, and then start filling it up. My standard recipe, the one Catherine sent to me, involves seasoning chunks of stale bread, tossing them with bacon and garlic, cubes of cheese (when Im in France, I use Gruyere or Emmenthal; when Im in the States, I opt for cheddar) and some herbs, packing the pumpkin with this mix and then pouring in enough cream to moisten it all.
But theres nothing to stop you from using leftover cooked rice instead of bread--I did that one night and it was risotto-like and fabulous--or from adding dried fruit and chopped nuts, cooked spinach or Swiss chard, or apples or pears, falls favored fruits. And I was crazy about the dish when I stirred some cooked hot sausage meat into the mix.
The possibilities for improvisation dont end with the filling: Youve got a choice about the way to serve this beauty. I think you should always bring it to the table whole--you wouldnt want to deprive your guests of the chance to ooh and aah--but whether you should slice or scoop is up to you. If you serve it in slices, you get a wedge of pumpkin piled high with the filling, and thats pretty dramatic (if something this rustic can be called 'dramatic'). The wedge serving is best eaten with a knife and fork (or knife and spoon). If you scoop, what you do is reach into the pumpkin with a big spoon, scrape the cooked pumpkin meat from the sides of the pumpkin into the center, and stir everything around. Do this and youll have a kind of mash--not so pretty, but so delicious.
Catherine serves it scooped. I serve it sliced sometimes and scooped others. Either way, I cant imagine this wont become an instant fall favorite chez you. --Dorie Greenspan
Makes 2 very generous servings or 4 more genteel servings
You might consider serving this alongside the Thanksgiving turkey or even instead of it--omit the bacon and youve got a great vegetarian main course.
Ingredients1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter thats just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so youll have to serve it from the pot which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isnt so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, Ive always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, Ive been lucky.
Using a very sturdy knife--and caution--cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween jack-o-lantern). Its easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.
Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper--you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure--and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled--you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little--you dont want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (But its hard to go wrong here.)
Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours--check after 90 minutes--or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully--its heavy, hot, and wobbly--bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that youll bring to the table.
Its really best to eat this as soon as its ready. However, if youve got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.
I remember once trying to teach a French friend of mine the expression, "as American as apple pie." After Id explained what pie was, I thought the rest would be easy..but not exactly.
"I dont understand," she said, "we have apples, too, and we make delicious desserts with them. Why couldnt we say, 'As French as tarte Tatin?'"
I certainly wasnt going to argue with her, especially when she was right about all the delicious desserts the French make with apples.
One of my favorites is one thats not anywhere near as well known as the upside-down tarte Tatin. Actually, I dont think it has a formal name of any kind. I dubbed it Marie-Helenes Apple Cake because it was my Parisian friend, Marie-Helene Brunet-Lhoste, who first made it for me. Marie-Helene spends her weekends in Normandy, the land of cream, butter, Brie, and apples, and the cake she made had apples shed picked from her backyard that afternoon.
I call this dessert a cake, mostly because I dont know what else to call it. The rum-and-vanilla-scented batter is less cakey than custardy. And theres only enough of it to surround the apples. Its a very homey, almost rustic cake and its good no matter what kinds of apples you use. In fact, when I asked Marie-Helene which apples she used, she said she didnt know--she just used whatever she had.
The cake is extremely easy to make (foolproof, really, you just whisk the ingredients together in a bowl), satisfying, fragrant (I love the way the house smells when its in the oven) and appealing in an autumn-in-the-country kind of way.
It may be as French as can be, but its become this Americans favorite. I hope youll like it too. Nows certainly the time for it. --Dorie Greenspan
Makes 8 servings
cup all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons dark rum
teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until theyre foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that its coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that its evenish.
Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before its fully opened, make sure there arent any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream. Marie-Helene served her cake with cinnamon ice cream and it was a terrific combination.
The cake will keep for about 2 days at room temperature and, according to my husband, gets more comforting with each passing day. However long you keep the cake, its best not to cover it its too moist. Leave the cake on its plate and just press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper against the cut surfaces.
In Baking Style, the award-winning author of Baking by Flavor and ChocolateChocolate, presents what has fascinated her during a lifetime of baking. In 100 essays and more than 200 recipes, along with 166 full-color images, Baking Style is infused with discoveries, inspirations, and exacting but simple recipes for capturing the art and craft of baking at home.
Baking Style combines the genre of the culinary essay with recipes, their corresponding methods, and illustrative images, revealing Yockelson's uniquely intimate expression of the baking process.
A Snazzy Bittersweet Chocolate Tea Bread
(Click for recipe)
Bundles of Joy
(Click for essay on the joys of cookies)
Brown Sugar Toffee Cake
(Click for recipe)
The organization is equally enticing. Beginning with "The Art of the Salad," which includes a particularly good version of frisee salad with lardons and poached egg, and "Small Plates," like Wild Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Sandwich, the book then pursues savory tarts, gratins and galettes, such as Fresh Goat Cheese, Roasted Beet and Walnut Tart; starchy dishes including Crabmeat Risotto with Peas and Mint and bistro-style fish like the quick-and-easy Halibut with White Wine, Shallots and Basil. Meat and vegetables are equally well represented--there's a mini-repertoire of roast chicken and duck confit dishes--as are simple but "finished" desserts like Souffleed Lemon Custard and Chocolate Mousse Cake. With a useful section on techniques (moderate-temperature "walk away roasting" ensures juicer results, says the author), good pantry-stocking advice, and color photos that further excite kitchen action. --Arthur Boehm
An eye-opening look at aquaculture that does for seafood what Fast Food Nation did for beef.
Dividing his sensibilities between Epicureanism and ethics, Taras Grescoe set out on a nine-month, worldwide search for a deliciousand humaneplate of seafood. What he discovered shocked him. From North American Red Lobsters to fish farms and research centers in China, Bottomfeeder takes readers on an illuminating tour through the $55-billion-dollar-a-year seafood industry. Grescoe examines how out-of-control pollution, unregulated fishing practices, and climate change affect what ends up on our plate. More than a screed against a multibillion-dollar industry, however, this is also a balanced and practical guide to eating, as Grescoe explains to readers which fish are best for our environment, our seas, and our bodies.
At once entertaining and illuminating, Bottomfeeder is a thoroughly enjoyable look at the world's cuisines and an examination of the fishing and farming practices we too easily take for granted.
Winner, IACP Cookbook Award for Food Photography & Styling (2013)
#1 New York Times Bestseller
Baked goods that are marvels of ingenuity and simplicity from the famed Bouchon Bakery
The tastes of childhood have always been a touchstone for Thomas Keller, and in this dazzling amalgam of American and French baked goods, you'll find recipes for the beloved TKOs and Oh Ohs (Keller's takes on Oreos and Hostess's Ho Hos) and all the French classics he fell in love with as a young chef apprenticing in Paris: the baguettes, the macarons, the mille-feuilles, the tartes aux fruits.
Co-author Sebastien Rouxel, executive pastry chef for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, has spent years refining techniques through trial and error, and every page offers a new lesson: a trick that assures uniformity, a subtlety that makes for a professional finish, a flash of brilliance that heightens flavor and enhances texture. The deft twists, perfectly written recipes, and dazzling photographs make perfection inevitable.
Hailed as a "revelation" when it first appeared in 2004, Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread is a legendary resource praised by baking luminaries from around the world. Explaining complex techniques with simple and helpful illustrations, the book includes recipes for a vast array of breads, including sourdoughs, brioche, authentic rye breads, flat breads, French breads, and much more.
Whether you're an aspiring or practicing professional baker or a dedicated home hobbyist, Bread is the ultimate resource for almost any variety of bread you can imagine.
Winner, IACP Cookbook Award for Culinary Travel (2013)
Naomi Duguids heralded cookbooks have always transcended the category to become something larger and more important (Los Angeles Times). Each in its own way is a breakthrough book . . . a major contribution (The New York Times). And as Burma opens up after a half century of seclusion, who better than Duguidthe esteemed author ofHot Sour Salty Sweetto introduce the country and its food and flavors to the West.
Located at the crossroads between China, India, and the nations of Southeast Asia, Burma has long been a land that absorbed outside influences into its everyday life, from the Buddhist religion to foodstuffs like the potato. In the process, the people of the country now known as Myanmar have developed a rich, complex cuisine that mekes inventive use of easily available ingredients to create exciting flavor combinations.
Salads are one of the best entry points into the glories of this cuisine, with sparkling flavorscrispy fried shallots, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a dash of garlic oil, a pinch of turmeric, some crunchy roast peanutsbalanced with a light hand. The salad tradition is flexible; Burmese cooks transform all kinds of foods into salads, from chicken and roasted eggplant to spinach and tomato.And the enticing Tea-Leaf Salad is a signature dish in central Burma and in the eastern hills that are home to the Shan people.
Mohinga, a delicious blend of rice noodles and fish broth, adds up to comfort food at its best. Wherever you go in Burma, you get a slightly different version because, as Duguid explains, each region layers its own touches into the dish.
Tasty sauces, chutneys, and relishesessential elements of Burmese cuisinewill become mainstays in your kitchen, as will a chicken roasted with potatoes, turmeric, and lemongrass; a seafood noodle stir-fry with shrimp and mussels; Shankhaut swei, an astonishing noodle dish made with pea tendrils and pork; a hearty chicken-rice soup seasoned with ginger and soy sauce; and a breathtakingly simple dessert composed of just sticky rice, coconut, and palm sugar.
Interspersed throughout the 125 recipes are intriguing tales from the authors many trips to this fascinating but little-known land. One such captivating essay shows how Burmese women adorn themselves withthanaka,a white paste used to protect and decorate the skin. Buddhism is a central fact of Burmese life: we meet barefoot monks on their morning quest for alms, as well as nuns with shaved heads; and Duguid takes us on tours of Shwedagon, the amazingly grand temple complex on a hill in Rangoon, the former capital. She takes boats up Burmas huge rivers, highways to places inaccessible by road; spends time in village markets and home kitchens; and takes us to the farthest reaches of the country, along the way introducing us to the fascinating people she encounters on her travels.
The best way to learn about an unfamiliar culture is through its food, and inBurma: Rivers of Flavor,readerswill be transfixed by the splendors of an ancient and wonderful country, untouched by the outside world for generations, whose simple recipes delight and satisfy and whose people are among the most gracious on earth.
Why did you title the book Burma rather than Myanmar?
"Myanma" was historically used only for the small central area where the dominant Bamar population lived. It's a name that excludes the huge outlying areas where the Shan, Kachin, Karen, Chin and other peoples are the majority. In 1989, the government--then a repressive military regime--decreed that the country's official name would change from Burma to Myanmar since "Burma" was seen as a relic of colonial times. Now that political climate has relaxed, you hear people using both terms, but for more than two decades, people were punished for saying "Burma" instead of "Myanmar."
What are the staple ingredients of Burmese cooking?
The flavor staples are shallots, turmeric, limes and freshly squeezed lime juice, roasted chopped peanuts, fresh greens, chiles (though not in punchy, hot quantities usually), fish sauce, shrimp paste, shallot oil, chile oil, fresh herbs, and more. The staple foods are rice and noodles, vegetables, fish, and chicken or meat.
How does Burma's cuisine reflect its culture, its patterns of daily life?
Sharing borders with China, India, Thailand, and Bangladesh, Burma has been an Asian crossroads--and a place of fascinating layers of food culture--for centuries. The main meal of the day, served at noon, centers around rice. It always includes salads and curries served family-style and shared. This way of eating lunch sums up a lot about Burma. People eat together and share food. There's no rigid order of courses or dishes; and you can adjust the flavors of what you are eating by dabbing on a chile sauce or squeezing on a little lime juice. In other words, there's conviviality, generosity, and flexibility. And now that the political situation in Burma is improving, the inherent good-humored joking and intense discussions that people thrive on are once more happening in tea shops and out in the street, rather than behind closed doors.
What is a typical day of eating in Burma?
Breakfast and snack options are wonderfully enticing, most of them available in tea shops or at street stalls. They include a flatbread with savory cooked beans on top; the national noodle dish mohinga, rice noodles in a light fish broth with crispy toppings and a wide range of condiments; other noodle dishes, with rice noodles or egg noodles, and a topping of some meat and herbs; and simple rice, lightly fried with peas and topped with a little meat or vegetables.
Lunch is the main meal. Each person has a plate of plain rice and a small bowl of soup, and then shares in the array of other dishes on the table. There is meat and/or chicken curry, a fish curry or small fried fish, a vegetable curry, a salad or two--Burmese salads are inventive and loaded with flavors and textures--and several spicy pungent condiments, as well as a plate of raw vegetables and another of steamed vegetables, which serve as a kind of non-spicy break from the bigger flavors of the curry. The meal finishes with a little fruit or some palm sugar.
Sweets are eaten as snacks in the afternoon or evening rather than as "desserts" at the end of a meal. In the evening, people eat noodle dishes or a light meal of rice, soup, salad, and chile sauce. At any hour, they can seek out street foods of all kinds, including savory crepes or deep-fried snacks.
The country has many ethnic groups and thus many cuisines; what are the main ones--and are there any common factors?
Salads are one of the glories of the cuisine no matter where you are in Burma. They're flavored with fried shallots, roasted peanuts, lime juice, and more. Noodle dishes, often served with a broth and a wonderful array of condiments, are another common thread. In all the food there's a subtle dance and balance between tart, salty, and sweet, with a touch of chile heat. (More chiles are used on the West coast, but they're generally on the table as an optional condiment rather than as a dominant fiery taste in cooked dishes.)
Central Burmese cuisine, also referred to as Bamar, has a lighter touch than central Thai--less sweet, less chile heat, more fresh vegetables on the table. For the main meal of the day, there are a whole set of small dishes on the table: a vegetable curry, a meat curry, a fish curry, a salad, and several condiments, as well as plain steamed and raw vegetables. Shan cuisine employs salt rather than fish sauce, lots of fresh herbs, vegetables cooked with meat in succulent curries, inventive noodle dishes, and salads flavored with toasted sesame seeds along with lime juice and sliced shallots. Kachin cuisine, from the far north, is light, includes lots of fresh herbs, and subtly balanced flavors in both the meat and the vegetable curries.
What is the dish from Burma that anyone and everyone must rush home and make tonight?
The Lemongrass Sliders (p. 192) are a great and easy introduction to the possibilities in the book, and so are many of the salads. The Ginger Salad (p. 48) is one of my favorites. For those who like chile heat, my favorite condiment, Tart-Sweet-Chile-Garlic Sauce (p. 36), is another good place to start.
You've been traveling in Burma since 1980; what changes have you observed?
In the eighties Burma was a country that had been closed off from the rest of the world. There was an old-world charm to that, but also a lot of suffering and poverty.
Then came the military crackdown of 1988 and more than twenty years of real fear and oppression. That was the vibe when I started work on this book in early 2009. Though people might have a sense of fun and ease in the privacy of their own homes, they were cautious and serious out on the streets and wary of being seen talking to a foreigner.
Now that has changed, in a dramatic and wonderful way, and very quickly. Late in 2011, with reforms and a relaxation of censorship from the top, people lost their fear. They suddenly became confident that Burma was truly emerging from the black hole of oppression. Now there is laughter and open discussion in tea shops and on the streets.
In researching and writing the book, I wanted to celebrate the richness of the food cultures of Burma and the vibrancy of individuals. I decided that there was no room for the army in the kitchen, so I put all the history of bad times at the back of the book.
I've seen the start of a dramatic long-overdue transformation over the last year. But there are still huge issues in Burma: attacks by the army on the people of Kachin State (a place rich in resources that shares a long border with China); unresolved conflicts in many border areas; and real questions about who is going to benefit from the exploitation of the country's natural resources.
The world has realized Burma's geopolitical importance, especially givens its rich oil and gas reserves. No wonder foreign companies and governments now want access. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been calling for a freshly negotiated political agreement among all the ethnic communities, including the majority Bamar people, and she is also asking that investors focus on building capacity in Burma, from education to roads and services. She's right on. Let's hope the world listens.
What do you wish more people knew about Burma?
At the very least, I hope the book encourages people to learn where it is. Its critical keystone location between India and China and Thailand means Burma will be a big player in Asia. And I'm hoping the book helps people learn about the country's different cultures. The Bamar are the majority people, but a quarter of the country is non-Bamar, made of a number of distinctive cultures. I use food as the medium for explaining them, and so, for example, the Shan and Kachin recipes are a delicious introduction to those cultures.
Your book is studded with stories of individuals that shed light on daily life in Burma. How did you meet and cook with people without speaking their language?
The language of food and markets is a language of gesture. Because it was important until the recent reforms to give people time to get used to me, I would go to smaller places and hang around, sipping a tea in tea shops, pedaling around on an old bicycle, taking photos of shallots and fish and anything else that caught my eye in the amazing markets. And gradually, after several days in a place, I would become a familiar sight so that people would start to connect with me, open up a little.
The wonderful thing about a place like Burma, where food is made in the street and kitchens are often open air, is that there are endless opportunities to watch and learn as people cook, and to taste and eat at all hours. There are a remarkable number of older people who speak beautiful English, and many young people are eager to practice their English, once they feel relaxed enough to approach a foreigner. I also found that small guesthouses were places where I could safely ask questions about foods I'd encountered.
Where in Burma would you send people who want to explore its food?
Rangoon/Yangon has lively markets with foods from all the regions of Burma so it's a great place to start sampling the country's rich culinary traditions. But I think that food in smaller centers is that much closer to home cooking. So I'd send you to Bagan to see the ruins and to eat lunch under the tree in Old Bagan. I'd send you to Inle Lake to eat Shan food at the market in Nyaungshwe and to visit the villages and floating markets on the lake and to check out a couple of wineries. And farther afield, there's sleepy, beautiful Mrauk U in the far northwest, a great place to get a taste of village life and to explore the ruins of a bygone age. If you have more time, then Hpa'an and Mawlamyine on the Salween River are fascinating places, with spectacular Buddhist temples in lovely settings.
2011 Winner, International Association of Culinary Professionals Jane Grigson Award2011 Finalist, International Association of Culinary Professionals in the Culinary History categoryThroughout history, people have had a complex and confusing relationship with mushrooms. Are fungi food or medicine, beneficial decomposers or deadly "toadstools" ready to kill anyone foolhardy enough to eat them? In fact, there is truth in all these statements. In Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares, author Greg Marley reveals some of the wonders and mysteries of mushrooms, and our conflicting human reactions to them.
With tales from around the world, Marley, a seasoned mushroom expert, explains that some cultures are mycophilic (mushroom-loving), like those of Russia and Eastern Europe, while others are intensely mycophobic (mushroom-fearing), including, the US. He shares stories from China, Japan, and Korea-where mushrooms are interwoven into the fabric of daily life as food, medicine, fable, and folklore-and from Slavic countries where whole families leave villages and cities during rainy periods of the late summer and fall and traipse into the forests for mushroom-collecting excursions.
From the famous Amanita phalloides (aka "the Death Cap"), reputed killer of Emperor Claudius in the first century AD, to the beloved chanterelle (cantharellus cibarius) known by at least eighty-nine different common names in almost twenty-five languages, Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares explores the ways that mushrooms have shaped societies all over the globe.
This fascinating and fresh look at mushrooms-their natural history, their uses and abuses, their pleasures and dangers-is a splendid introduction to both fungi themselves and to our human fascination with them. From useful descriptions of the most foolproof edible species to revealing stories about hallucinogenic or poisonous, yet often beautiful, fungi, Marley's long and passionate experience will inform and inspire readers with the stories of these dark and mysterious denizens of our forest floor.
The delectable journey into the world of chocolate--by the award-winning author of Olives
Science, over recent years, has confirmed what chocolate lovers have always known: the stuff is actually good for you. It's the Valentine's Day drug of choice, has more antioxidants than red wine, and triggers the same brain responses as falling in love. Nothing, in the end, can stand up to chocolate as a basic fundament to human life.
In this scintillating narrative, acclaimed foodie Mort Rosenblum delves into the complex world of chocolate. From the mole poblano (chile-laced chicken with chocolate) of ancient Mexico to the contemporary French chocolatiers who produce the palets d'or (bite-sized, gold-flecked bricks of dark chocolate) to the vast empires of Hershey, Godiva, and Valrhona, Rosenblum follows the chocolate trail the world over. He visits cacao plantations; meets with growers, buyers, makers, and tasters; and investigates the dark side of the chocolate trade as well as the enduring appeal of its product. Engaging, entertaining, and revealing, Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light is an intriguing foray into this "food of the gods."