Book review: Chocolate by Kirsten Tibballs

Chocolate by Kirsten Tibballs
Review by Kylie Thompson

Genre: cooking

There are some cookbooks so staggeringly decadent that you feel like you’ll gain weight just by looking at the pictures. They’re full of indulgent recipes ready to tempt even the most steadfast of healthy eaters, with photography so divine it feels like you could sneak a piece of food from the page.

‘Chocolate’, by Kirsten Tibballs, is such a book.
This book is a chocoholics dream; a treasure-trove of hedonistic delicacies that make you want to start cooking all of it, right now. It has the potential to be one of those books that are both a blessing and a curse when birthdays roll around, because it’s a certainty you’ll be asked to make something from it.

Normally in cook books, it’s typical to find recipes you don’t instantly want to try, and recipes you know you’ll never actually use. For the first time in my cook book reading history, I’ve stumbled upon a book where every recipe is a must try for me, or for those around me. It’s a dangerous premise, at least for the waistline.

This isn’t the book for dieters, clearly, but for those with gluten intolerances, there’s a surprising number of GF recipes to try. Even better, they look so utterly indulgent that even those with an aversion to gluten free foods aren’t likely to notice a lack.

Kirsten Tibballs, Queen of Chocolate, has a knack for crafting decadent, glorious chocolate extravaganzas, but the master chocolatier is also a world-renowned pastry chef more than willing to give readers the secrets to divine sweet pastry dishes. The compilation of recipes she’s brought together in ‘Chocolate’ are glorious in their decadence, but also not overwhelming to those who feel less than confident in the kitchen.

If you’re a fan of simple baking, it’s easy to think that these will be complicated, time consuming bakes. The photographic styling makes it easy to assume that these are the sort of finicky recipes best left to celebrity chefs, or at least those working at the fancier cafés around town. And yet, looking at the processes, these are generally the sort of recipes that only look complicated. Little details in presentation are used to give the impression of a lot more effort than has been exerted- perfect for those moments you need to impress but have precious little time to manage it. It’s rather devious, actually, how professional recipes can look with so little effort.

‘Chocolate’ would make a great gift for the baker in your life, or the chocoholic, though it might be wise to add some good quality ingredients to the parcel, just to be on the safe side. But it would also make a wonderful and inspiring gift for the budding food stylist or blogger in the family.

‘Chocolate’ is published by Murdoch Books, and is available through the publisher’s website, and at leading retailers both online and off.

Rating: 5 stars

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