In the new documentary, Kings of Pastry, the most stunning and technically difficult part of the competition is the showpieces. Spun sugar, chocolate, and imagination are mixed to create dizzyingly balanced sculptures and fanciful presentations.
Ewald Notter is an ace at just that kind of presentation.
His new textbook, The Art of the Chocolatier: From Classic Confections to Sensational Showpieces (Wiley 2011) is an essential guide to creating chocolate masterpieces. This is a serious study on fine chocolates – and yet it is a wonderfully beautiful book of art photographs by Joe Brooks and Lucy Schaeffer of his masterpieces.
The first part of the book covers chocolate and other ingredients, essential equipment and basic techniques. It is full of good diagrams and photographs on kitchen tools (p. 28) and troubleshooting tempering chocolates (p. 48).
The second part covers chocolates and other confections. He makes Sandy Hazelnuts (pp. 64-5), Caramelized Almonds, Wet Method (p. 67) and combines them in Knackerli (p. 70). TV cooking show hosts use the word “ganache” quite loosely. The Art of the Chocolatier includes a whole chapter on Ganache that explores cream ganache, butter ganache, and egg ganache.
Once you have mastered all the chocolate methods, then it is time to tackle the third part of the book: creating chocolate showpieces. Ewald goes over creating velvet texture (p. 244), cut-out shapes (such as his guitar on p. 249), and the timely chocolate box (pp. 25-9) in the shape of a heart. There are both two-dimensional and three-dimensional sculptures including many that could be used for Valentine’s Day.
The Art of the Chocolatier is a serious book of contemporary chocolate design. If you are ready to really explore what chocolate can be, this is the book for you.