On Thursday the 6th of December, Pierre Marcolini launched a new and ambitious book on Belgian Chocolate. These days, books on chocolate you can be found in abundance in every bookshop around the corner. But when the subtitle o this new work states “Bean-to bar Generation”, it has my full attention.
Pierre Marcolini teamed up with gastronomy journalist Michel Verlinden and photographer Alexandre Bibaut to realize his dream of showing the general audience how the artisan Belgian Chocolate sector is reinventing itself at this very moment.
The world wide renowned chocolate creator was one of the very first Belgian artisans to understand that the industry had lost touch with the very basics of the art. Respecting the unique flavors cocoa beans from all over the world offer to the chocolate maker. Chocolate has become a generic tasting product in the eye of the general public. Actually making chocolate himself, Pierre returned to what makes real chocolate so special. Flavor diversity and complexity.
Soon more chocolatiers followed Pierre in his quest for fine flavors. People like Herman Van Dender and Dominique Persoone (The Chocolate Line) have a long experience in high quality chocolates and soon turned to making the fundamental ingredient themselves.
And today, more than ever, new chocolate makers step up to the plate to create the best chocolate bars out there. Some have a background in pastry or praline making, some dove into a chocolate adventure after a life changing career turn. No matter where they come from, they have a common passion, high flavor chocolate.
Publishing a book on chocolate almost seems a safe bet. There are countless editions of chocolate books who bury the reader in all sorts of receipt of chocolate desserts, cakes, pastry, cookies. Yet most of them barely cover the basics of what chocolate is.
It is more than a surprise to discover how different this book is. Rather than offering you a cook book in disguise or talking but about Pierre Marcolini and his creations, the book actually showcases 13 bean-to-bar chocolate makers who help shape the current Belgian Chocolate scene. Both renowned names such as Herman Van Dender, Darcis chocolatier, Dominique Persoone or Pierre Marcolini and new kids on the block such as Cédric De Taeye, Chocolatier M, Chocolatoa, Deremiens, Legast Artisan Chocolatier, Mi Joya, Mike&Becky, Millésime Chocolat and Zuut are featured.
Every chocolate maker has his own chapter which gives you the story behind the chocolate maker, several signature product receipts and a technical sheet on the cocoa used, procedures and equipment. As a chocolate amateur, it is great to see that even bean-to-bar chocolate making procedures are shared. It gives an unprecedented look into the workshop of a true chocolate maker and will give the public an idea of what it takes to make the product we all love so much, yet is taken for granted so easily.
Visually, the book is a treat. The photography is outstanding and creates a lush atmosphere of dark chocolate and chocolate creations. The texts are light an minimalistic in nature, avoiding unnecessary book filling while still offering crucial info to the reader.
While is will not be perceived as a definite standard work on chocolate making, the publication does offer the public and chocolate amateur a chance to catch a glimpse of what it means to be a chocolate creator and why the work they do means such a difference. And perhaps even more important, it should inspire the reader to go out there an try the creations of the people presented in Belgian Chocolate – Bean-to-bar Generation.
The perfect addition to any chocoholic library and gift idea for the upcoming holiday season.
The book is available both in French (Le Chocolat Belge – Génération Bean to bar) and English (Belgian Chocolate – Bean to bar Generation) and is published by Lannoo. ISBN number 978-2-39025-072-2