The world’s greatest $3 chocolate cookbook

Continuing the theme of “OMG!”, I found a great book called The Ultimate Chocolate Book at the Co-op Bookstore yesterday. Written by Robert Lambert, and obviously published in 1988 (as you’ll see from the photos below), this book is straight-up hilarious. I bought it mostly for the introduction, wherein the author states:

Once asked by a wealthy matron client what cooking school I attended, I hastily replied “L’Ecole aux Frappes Dures”, my high school French for an approximation of “The School of Hard Knocks”, to which she responded, “Oh yes, that’s in Montreal, isn’t it?”

LOL! Okay, so maybe it’s mostly funny to me as a Montrealer, but still, the point is that the guy has no formal training, and yet produces beautiful chocolate desserts for rich San Franciscans. How awesome is that?

I also bought the book because of its great 80s photography, featuring items like this Lightning Bolt Dacquoise:

Truly, truly, truly outrageous, no?

Truly, truly, truly outrageous, no? (photo: Patricia Brabant)

The gold, the colours… it’s just so 80s. I mean, I still want to eat it, but my god, people, what were we—collectively—thinking back then? The design world was simply ridiculous. Had we all just discovered Photoshop or what? Anyway, awesome flashback photos aside, I really bought the book because I wanted to learn how to make this Mexican Chocolate Custard Cake:

One word: YUM! (photo: Patricia Brabant)

One word: YUM! (photo: Patricia Brabant)

I mean, really, how could you say no to a plate of that? The recipe itself is a bit weird, calling for tequila, blanched almonds and ground orange peel (among all the usual suspects), but doesn’t look too complicated. You’re meant to serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraîche and dusted with cinnamon, which I’m thinking of doing for my husband’s birthday next week. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

As a final “OMG!”, I can’t believe there’s a recipe in this book for “Joan Collins’ Broken Heart,” complete with oozing raspberry “blood”!

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3 responses to “The world’s greatest $3 chocolate cookbook

  1. Hi, nice post. I have been pondering this issue,so thanks for writing. I will definitely be subscribing to your site.

  2. Glad you’re having fun with this! The original US title was Fantasy Chocolate Desserts, which made a little more sense. It started a lot of trends, someone’s made an entire business out of the double-dipped strawberries, and of the chocolate dipped spoon. My fave recipe is the chocolate angelfood cake, just don’t grease the pan, an editorial blunder that was never corrected. BTW, no photoshop back then, and I styled and created all the sets. Check my web site to see what I’m doing NOW. Robert Lambert

  3. Fantasy Chocolate Desserts definitely fits better than The Ultimate Chocolate Book, but either way, I’m glad I’ve got a copy. I still haven’t tried out that cake, but perhaps I’ll give the angelfood cake a whirl with your no-greasing tip. 🙂