While you don’t need a special occasion to eat chocolate, having chocolate on hand for a special occasion never hurts. Jacques Torres’ A Year in Chocolate, the newest cookbook from the master chocolatier and pastry chef, divides up a year by holidays, seasons and special occasions and provides chocolate recipes to go with each. There are over 150 recipes for everything occasion, from Christmas o the first day of spring and back.
The recipes vary widely in difficulty and technique required to make them. Most of the dishes have several components, including cakes, candies, cookies and mousses, just to give you a general idea. More experienced bakers will probably get slightly better results right off the bat than novices, but the recipes are thoughtfully explained and not difficult to follow. These are designed almost to be showpiece desserts, the things that you only make when there is a special occasion and you expect to “wow” the crowd, rather than the easy mix-it-and-go everyday types of recipes.
The book has lots of beautiful photographs of the desserts and is quite inspiring. You’ll get the most use out of it if you do a lot of entertaining – or possibly if you have a food blog and want to showcase some of your creations to the world. Otherwise, keep this in mind when you need a Chocolate Easter Bunny or another dessert that captures the spirit and the flavors (plus chocolate, of course) of a given season.