Whittaker’s Passion for Chocolate
By J. H. Whittaker & Sons Ltd · Reviewed by Andy Heyward
The very instant I picked up this book I wanted to eat it. The book is so sumptuous looking I was tempted to lick the pages. The rich chocolatey brown and sepia tones, coupled with the golden inlay and type, made me feel like Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory carefully peeling back the cover to show a hint of gold below. Holding and reading this book is a treat in itself, let alone actually making the recipes.
Whittaker’s Passion for Chocolate boldly declares in its introduction that it has been over 100 years in the making. It begins with the family history, starting in England in 1890 and moving through the generations of family involvement to the present day – the company having operated in New Zealand since 1896. There is the story of chocolate and handy tips on choosing and melting chocolate, but what I really want to do is get stuck into the recipes.
The book features recipes from some of New Zealand’s finest chefs as well as selected submissions from its extensive Facebook fan base, including a tried and true fudge recipe by our very own Ana Lydiate, also known as Ami Ana.
Choosing what to make is difficult as it all looks so good. The generous and beautifully photographed recipes make it so much harder. If you have any type of chocolate addiction this book will make you salivate uncontrollably and, a bit like a Labrador dog watching you eat a chop, drool will slide out of the side of your mouth as you turn each page.
As it was my mother’s birthday, I decided to invite her to dinner and make a couple of recipes out of the book. I came across a recipe by chef Marc Soper which I decided to make as a main. I had great pleasure in announcing that I was creating lamb rump with rosemary-infused Whittaker’s Dark Ghana sauce, served with carrot and mango julienne, green beans, turnips and olive and grape salsa.
Not having a lamb rump on hand I substituted it for a leg of lamb and set to making this dish – it turned out delicious (and not too difficult) with many compliments from my family, the kids especially smitten with putting chocolate sauce on their meat. For pudding I chose to make an equally tasty chocolate and raspberry brownie by submitter Jo Knowles. Served with whipped cream and fresh coffee, this went down well and earned good-son points for me.
More than just a recipe book that gets put on the shelf, Whittaker’s Passion for Chocolate sits equally well on the coffee table and will lure the wary into a path of chocolate desire, containing enough history and facts to make a casual and informative read and enough recipes – ranging from marbled chocolate meringues and cinnamon cardamom blondies to white chocolate and macadamia cheesecake – to satisfy the hungriest of chocolate lovers.
Watch out chocolate-induced coma – here I come.
Andy Heyward is Director of Possibilities at Fat Spatula. A graphic artist, he also paints as a creative release from his other serious and stressful positions of being President of the Haumoana Lemon Marketing Board and founding member of the Haumoana Men’s Knitting Club.