Adventures with Chocolate: 80 sensational recipe is chocolate genius Paul A. Young's first foray into cook-books, and, like his wonderful shops in London, it's playful, inspiring, delicious and surprising.
Young's gifted touch with truffles, brownies and drinking chocolate have made his Islington store a fixture in our orbit around London. My wife's pregnancy was eased with his sea-salt caramels; we celebrated the birth with kalamansi truffles. The baby practically melted when she first tried a crumb of his cherry brownie. I am visited by Paul's chocolate in my dreams. I have been conditioned to start salivating when I reach the end of Camden Passage, and by the time I reach the shop, I need a bib to catch the dribble.
And here are all of Paul's secrets, laid bare in a superbly designed and printed book whose pornographically chocolated pages make you want to surreptitiously taste them (I tasted them. Tasted like clay-coated heavy paper stock). Paul's recipes are easy to follow and are equal parts inspirational (he makes it clear enough that even ham-fisted me believes that I can make them) and aspirational (in reality, it's a lot more likely that I'll just pop in on the Camden Passage shop and buy another box). And his essay on how he became a chocolatier, as well as his essays on buying and preparing chocolate, are sensational.
And truth be told, there are some recipes here I'd like to try for a special occasion: the savory chocolate recipes, if only because Paul doesn't actually sell these in the shop and I want to find out what a honey-cured bacon, Stilton and chocolate sandwich tastes like, or sip some cocoa-bean infused vodka, or try a salted black-olive bar with 600g of Ghanian tempered 68% dark chocolate.
I've just heard that the entire first run of Adventures with Chocolate has already sold out, but the second printing is due in less than a week, and should arrive in time for Christmas.
Sea-salted chocolate and pecan tart
Venezuelan chocolate pancakes with chocolate maple syrup