Book review – Chocolate at home, by Will Torrent

10 October 2014 by
Book review – Chocolate at home, by Will Torrent

Chocolate at Home
By Will Torrent
Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99

Good chocolate should be treated with as much reverence and enjoyment as a glass of fine wine. At least, that's Will Torrent's view on the matter, and as a committed eater of chocolate, it's one I find hard to disagree with.

In the introduction to his second book, Chocolate At Home, he asks why we love chocolate so much, and one of the most interesting facts to emerge is that dark/bittersweet chocolate has 1,500 indentified flavours, compared to the 500 found in red wine. "As grapes are to wine, the cocoa bean is to chocolate and we need to understand it in this way," he says.

And understand it he does. He trained with some great chocolatiers, including William Curley MCA, and even focused his dissertation on chocolate. And while his knowledge is considerable, he aims to demystify the ingredient, explaining why 70% cocoa isn't always best, for example, and to encourage people to have a go at a huge variety of recipes.

Perhaps one of the most useful sections of the book is a detailed, illustrated guide on the processes involved in preparing chocolate for use in recipes, including how to melt it and temper it, such as the "marble technique", the "seeding" technique or tempering in the microwave. There's also a useful section on making ganache.

ut that's before we dive into well over 100 pages of recipes, from classic truffles to a host of more unusual and exciting creations, such as Earl Grey and marmalade truffles, as well as cookies, biscuits and bakes, desserts and puddings, and drinks and ice-creams.

Each recipe looks fantastic and is helped by some excellent photography by Jonathan Gregson. There's no doubt that, as with most cookery books, it is aimed at the home cook and a consumer audience, but this is nonetheless a very impressive, comprehensive work that showcases Torrent's undoubted skill as a chocolatier, as well as his enthusiasm for his subject. Just don't eat all his creations yourself.

By Neil Gerrard

If you like this, you may enjoy these:

  • PÁ¢tisserie at Home by Will Torrent
  • Couture Chocolate by William Curley
  • Chocolate Bible by Le Cordon Bleu
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