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Chocolate for Breakfast:
Entertaining Menus to Start the Day with a Celebration from Napa Valley's Oak Knoll Inn

By Barbara Passino, Photographs by Marc Hoberman
ISBN: 1919939555
Publisher: The Gerald and Marc Hoberman Collection
Publication date: Feb. 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
List price: $40 
Type: Single Subject: Breakfast; Entertaining
Sample recipes: Raspberry Soufflé, Chocolate-Chocolate Pancakes, Chocolate Fondue with Orange Zest Pound Cake
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive coffee-table Biblical stature
Competition: outclassed follower in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 ≥300
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: 7-Eleven airfare required online pantry supermarket
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose bare-bones full-figured educational
Time conscious: unconscious outright lies white lies realistic honorable
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant balanced generous
Photos/drawings: none distracting decorative instructive glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine considerate work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging tolerable clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy dubious years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: non-existent hard-to-find spotty sufficient every page
Table of contents: AWOL frustrating passable useful excellent
Index quality: none tragic adequate good a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writer: beginner food writer writing cook personality auteur
Cook: unknown self-taught chef teacher celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short almost there satisfactory exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward best friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: The title and book cover give the wrong impression – this is not a book of chocolate-for-breakfast recipes, it is a book of fancy, elegant breakfast menus (including recipes), where one or more dishes includes some chocolate. There are quite a few chocolate recipes, but certainly fewer than half of the recipes in the book.

The other recipes are not to be sneezed at, however. These are lovely recipes that competent cooks will love to serve to family and guests, as they are at the Oak Knoll Inn.

Menus are organized by holiday, region, or special occasion: France, Morocco, the 4th of July, Italy, Mexico, Valentine's Day, Asia, Spain, the US, spring, etc. Most of the recipes clearly will take time, often in multiple steps, and while a couple are made lighter in calories and fat through the bounty of California produce, if you're looking to fit these recipes into some kind of weight-loss program, you'll be disappointed or fooling yourself.

Finally, in a nod to innkeeping, which the author has been doing for more than 15 years, she offers a small section on how to buy and make the perfect bed. If eating and sleeping are among our few absolute necessities, the author says, we should do them very well!


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