I found a copy of La Maison du Chocolat: Transcendent Desserts by the Legendary Chocolatier at half-price last weekend. It contains very enticing photographs, some of which are the pastry from the recipes and many of the signature products from La Maison du Chocolat. I have not yet tried any of the recipes but I do plan to experiment with the florentine and the chocolate fruit cake soon. The florentine I bought from this chocolatier is one of the best I've tasted. It's crunchy, doesn't stick to my teeth, fragrant with citrusy scent from the candied orange peel, and the sweetness is kept in check by the dark chocolate.
Like most recipe books, there's a section in the front of the book that contains "words from the author". This is pretty much a wildcard section of any books...some can be exceedingly thoughtful, some can be vain, some are saccharine, some are preachy, some are just down right boring. However it is written, I do enjoy reading this section because it gives me more of a glimpse into the author than the recipes would reveal. After reading La Maison du Chocolat, I was totally floored by its founder's, M. Robert Linxe, passion for his craft. This chapter draws comparison of chocolate-making with jewelry design, composing music, and perfume-making, which makes perfect sense. Furthermore, it is also informative in the sense that it tells us about the care that the artisans at La Maison du Chocolat put in to create a well-balance and delicious bonbon. Everything from the blending of different cocoa beans from different origins to create distinctive layers of flavours to the matching of flavour ganache to the selection of different couverture chocolates that complements the ganache are covered in this book.
However, after reading this book, I am most inspired by the following quote from M. Linxe. I think it captures perfectly his passion for chocolate and his pursuit of excellence.
"You can never achieve perfection," says the founder of La Maison du Chocolat. "It takes stubbornness, perseverance, and a lot, a lot of hard work, to get...somewhere. You must taste, discern, and evaluate. But this 'somewhere', for me, is still out of reach. Even though I have not yet attained it, I am content with what I have done. Creation is a never-ending process, constantly improving upon itself."