Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s Chocolate Bible

Posted by in Features on May 16 2011 | Leave A Comment

Just before Easter I attended Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s “Easter Egg Factory” event in central London. I wasn’t invited, but managed to sneak in to the party disguised as a chocolatier’s wife.

It was a fun event, with live music, canapes, cocktails and chocolate fountains. The food was great, the music was loud and the chocolate fountains actually tasted of chocolate. Most importantly, everyone got to have a go at making their own Easter eggs. Unsurprisingly, mine came out wonky.

This was part charity event and part designed to promote Willie’s new book, and last week Willie was kind enough to send me a copy along with a box packed with chocolate (which I’ll be scoffing reviewing soon).

The book is over 300 pages long with over 150 recipes, mixed with stories about the history of chocolate and Willie’s own journey to becoming one of only two people in the UK making chocolate from the bean.

The first thing to say about it is that it’s absolutely jam packed with information. There are loads of pictures, but it’s much more text-heavy than the Chococo cookbook I wrote about recently.

There’s a huge variety of chocolate-based recipes here, both sweet and savoury. One thing to note is that many of the dishes – particularly the savoury ones – require 100% cacao, which is obviously not quite as easy to come by as your every day 70% bar. But it is, of course, what Willie is best known for making, and you’ll find it for sale on his website, as well as places like Waitrose, so it’s not too difficult to find. Even if you can’t, there’s still plenty of recipes that just require 70% dark chocolate or cocoa powder.

What I liked best about this book though, is that even if you’re not much of a cook (like me), you can still sit down and read it cover to cover. The stories are a great mix of Willie’s personal experiences, the history of chocolate, and how it’s made. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

If you love chocolate, then this is one book you really need to have in your collection.

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