Guittard Chocolate Cookbook: Decadent Recipes from
San Francisco’s Premium Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Company

by Amy Guittard
(Chronicle Books, 2015)

Review by Kristina Sepetys

If you love chocolate, and it’s the rare person who doesn’t, and you also love to cook, it’s going to be hard to pass up a cookbook with cakes, bars, cookies, ice creams, and other treats celebrating the dark-brown, sultry sweet. And when that cookbook comes from Guittard, the company making a line of deeply flavorful and nuanced chocolate favored by many of the world’s best bakers, confectioners, and ice cream makers, why resist?

Author Amy Guittard oversees all marketing activities at the Guittard Chocolate Company. Her great-great-grandfather Etienne migrated from France during the California Gold Rush to mine for gold, packing chocolate to trade for supplies. As it turned out, his chocolate trade was a more lucrative venture than panning for gold. So he moved to San Francisco and founded Guittard Chocolate, the oldest continuously family-owned and -operated chocolate company in the United States. Guittard produces bean-to-bar chocolate, which means they source their own beans and process them into the bars or chocolate pieces you find in stores.

Not surprisingly, given the author’s personal tie to the chocolate, the Guittard Chocolate Cookbook contains a lot of family history, together with 60 of the Guittards’ favorite recipes using a variety of different chocolate grades and products. Some of the recipes have a distinctly California flavor, like Guittard’s grandmother’s Chocolate Persimmon Cake, a lovely moist cake, which tastes a little like pumpkin. Other enticing combinations include Salted Chocolate Shortbread, Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bundt Cake, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Pistachio Sables, and Sierra Nuggets, the last consisting of satisfying chunks of chocolate, nuts, cornflakes, oats, and coconuts.

The book is filled with appetizing photographs of chocolate confections that look so rich you can practically smell the sweet, warm chocolate. These are easy to follow, reliable, classic recipes you’ll return to again and again.

Saturday September 12, 1–3pm  Stop in at the Pasta Shop to meet Amy Guittard and sample scrumptious treats from the Guittard Chocolate Cookbook.