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minas6907

Opinions on JP Wybauw's Fine Chocolates: Gold

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Hello all. I recently picked up JP Wybauw's book, that I didnt know existed until a few weeks ago, Fine Chocolates: Gold. I've looked for his book in the past, only to find them being sold individually for $120ish. His new book, which came out a year ago, but was new to me, is appearently his four Fine Chocolates series combined into one volume. Heres the link if anyone want it.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/9401433429/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Really, I wanted opinions on Wybauws work. He really seems like he knows what he talking about, and I from different threads over the years, I cant really recall anything negative, however there a few things in the book I was sort of puzzeled over. I believe this text was translated into English, so theres some funny wording, not really an issue. One of the first recipes that caught my eye was on p. 188, "Truffles with Anise and Liqueur", I like how they were piped into logs, enrobed, and rolled in coarse sugar. However, there is no mention of alcohol, I thought that was weird, just anise seed. A day later I was flipping through again, and on the previous page, p. 187 there was a recipe "Aniseed Truffles," which DID contain liqueur, but no aniseed. So...I'm pretty certain the recipe names for those bonbons were switched with each other.

 

Another thing that perplex me, was on the section on preserving fresh fruit in alcohol. One of the formulas read:

1000 g ° to 96° alcohol

600 g water

200 g kirsch

200 g 30° Baumé (54° Brix) sugar syrup

 

For the first ingredient, the alcohol, there is no low end of the spectrum given, just a ° symbol with no number preceding it. I'm not really sure what to think of that.

 

Then I was looking through it again this morning, and on p. 402, "Espresso" bonbon, caught me eye, pretty basic flavor. I did think the instructions were interesting, first step was to "Bring the cream, glucose, butter, sorbitol, and coffee to a boil." I thought it was interesting to bring to butter to a boil along with everything else, I liked the idea, but there is no butter listed in the recipe!

 

All in all, what makes me nervous is that I seem to find things like this every time I open the book. I know his books are owned by many on this forum, so am I just being over analytical? He really sounds like he knows what hes talking about, and is obviously a well respected individual. Are there things like this in his other books? I haven't tried any of the formulas yet, I've only had the book a few days, and havent really read anything en depth, just glancing through. I would expect a little different from a $90 text, perhaps I'm being too critical, but I wanted to hear others opinions on his books. Thanks for reading!

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I saw a few recipes where the chocolate is left out of the recipe.  It is included in the instructions and the total weight of the ingredients assumes it, but it is not listed.  I just chalk it up to poor editing.  Overall, the information is the book is useful and the separation of recipes by water activity is certainly interesting and informative.   

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There is no question that Wybauw is recognized as an expert in chocolate. I have never heard anything but high praise for the classes he conducts (there are many references to his teaching on many eGullet threads). He is an acknowledged authority on extending shelf life and provides Aw readings for his recipes. He also offers a large number of recipes for the chocolatier, far more than Greweling or Notter or, in fact, any other book I have seen. I think that many of us are always looking for new ideas for making chocolate centers, and he includes plenty of those, some  "normal" ones, some "out there" (I made his ganache with saffron and hated it).

 

But all that being said, I agree with the criticism of @minas6907. Yes, the book does read as a translated work; usually it's easy to figure out what was meant, but we need an editor here. One of my biggest criticisms is that, at least in Volume 2 (I have 2 and 4), there is no index. A cookbook without an index? That drives me crazy every time I search for a recipe. There is a comprehensive index for all the volumes in the fourth one, but for a long time I had only the second and so was index-less. In addition, the amounts made by the recipes vary widely. If you use a spreadsheet or another program to adjust recipes, you can work around this issue. I very much appreciate that he offers so many flavor possibilities, but some of them simply do not work. I made a rhubarb and kalamansi bonbon, and there was absolutely no rhubarb taste (the rhubarb was mixed in milk and dark chocolate, so how could there be?); the kalamansi gave it an overall sour taste. It prompted me to reach for my usual response to such ideas: what was he thinking? did he actually try this? I always question myself when I am making something that I don't like from a recognized expert in the field: is it something I did wrong? But not in that case, or in the case of the saffron. I think some of the recipes also are not balanced, by which I mean there is too much liquid for the amount of chocolate, a situation that leads to problems with crystallization. I should add that I have found that to be the case with some recipes in Greweling and Notter as well.

 

To end on a positive note:  I use a number of Wybauw's recipes often: banana & passion fruit caramel, pineapple caramel (although it has required some significant adjustment), black currant (which people love), cardamom coffee (another crowd pleaser). plum (I always make it for Christmas, and I have adapted it to use figs instead of prunes on occasion), orange & spiced honey, and pistachio & hazelnut (I should add that those are not Wybauw's titles as I find some of his not helpful for remembering what the recipe is all about--for instance, the banana & passion fruit caramel is titled "Fruity"). During my slower season, I look through the two volumes I have and try more of his ideas, so I am not through yet!

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Taste is obviously subjective to a large degree anyway.

 

Saffron does really depend on quality and source; some is simply unpalatable owing to a number of factors including storage and age. Saffron and chocolate do work well together, so who knows.

 

Regarding the rhubarb recipe, my guess is he should have detailed what variety of rhubarb was expected for use as rhubarb qualities can vary greatly among the various (at least a dozen) varieties . The sweetness and potency of the resulting recipe will be greatly affected. It's not always obvious that the variety in a particular locale may greatly differ to another. But again - rhubarb and chocolate work extremely well together (yes, in both milk and dark chocolate), and do so just fine.

 

I don't know the author, but i imagine he did his best in sharing his knowledge and can't imagine he pulled any of his recipes out of the air or inserted them willy-nilly and without testing. 

 

Neither of the flavour combinations you questioned his thinking on are particularly new or experimental, so perhaps your personal preference is all it falls down to.

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3 minutes ago, Goober said:

Saffron and chocolate do work well together, so who knows.

* * * * *

But again - rhubarb and chocolate work extremely well together (yes, in both milk and dark chocolate), and do so just fine.

 

 

Those very definite statements are, of course, your opinion.

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I've made about 20-30 of these recipes.  First, the book does suffer from editing issues.  And the photos don't always match the recipe they are attached to.  As to the 96 alcohol, that is for 96% alcohol.  Not 96 proof, but 96%.  

 

As for the book itself.  Love it and have learned so much from it.  The section on Aw is very helpful.  But as a novice in working with chocolate, I could not have understood this book and how to figure out the editing errors if I had not already read Grewling's C&C from cover to cover.  Wybauw is writing for the professional, and as such assumes that the basic tenants of working with chocolate are already known.  The only wish I have for the book is that he had given more detail on the finishing and decoration techniques that are illustrated, but not explained.

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

 

Those very definite statements are, of course, your opinion.

 

Which are shared by countless other consumers, chefs and stores that are able to continually sell those flavour combinations. JPW's thought process on the combinations was fine, it's your own self-inflated opinion that you are getting caught up on.

 

I don't like licorice as an added ingredient to anything, it doesn't mean that when i am confronted with a recipe that uses it that i think "what was he thinking? did he actually try this? "...

 

 

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20 hours ago, Goober said:

Taste is obviously subjective to a large degree anyway.

 

Saffron does really depend on quality and source; some is simply unpalatable owing to a number of factors including storage and age. Saffron and chocolate do work well together, so who knows.

 

Regarding the rhubarb recipe, my guess is he should have detailed what variety of rhubarb was expected for use as rhubarb qualities can vary greatly among the various (at least a dozen) varieties . The sweetness and potency of the resulting recipe will be greatly affected. It's not always obvious that the variety in a particular locale may greatly differ to another. But again - rhubarb and chocolate work extremely well together (yes, in both milk and dark chocolate), and do so just fine.

 

I don't know the author, but i imagine he did his best in sharing his knowledge and can't imagine he pulled any of his recipes out of the air or inserted them willy-nilly and without testing. 

 

Neither of the flavour combinations you questioned his thinking on are particularly new or experimental, so perhaps your personal preference is all it falls down to.

I have never yet seen a recipe that specifies a variety of rhubarb. Can you point me to one?

 

I have found that rhubarb flavour is generally overwhelmed by chocolate - when I make a rhubarb center I generally do it as a buttercream to minimize the interference. 

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46 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

I have never yet seen a recipe that specifies a variety of rhubarb. Can you point me to one?

 

I have found that rhubarb flavour is generally overwhelmed by chocolate - when I make a rhubarb center I generally do it as a buttercream to minimize the interference. 


I've never seen a recipe specify a variety of rhubarb and I'm trying hard to remember if I've ever seen rhubarb for sale with the variety being given. I'm sure it's done but I don't think it's widespread enough to be part of a recipe in a book that's aimed at a large audience. 

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2 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

I have never yet seen a recipe that specifies a variety of rhubarb. Can you point me to one?

 

I have found that rhubarb flavour is generally overwhelmed by chocolate - when I make a rhubarb center I generally do it as a buttercream to minimize the interference. 

 

I imagine you would be hard pressed to find one too as it isn't common for a locality to produce more than one. The varieties are still rhubarb, though some more potent, sweet, tart etc; and this is not just based on maturation of the plant. 

 

I have tried cooking rhubarb in other countries and speak from personal experience. In the past I have been lucky enough to have a few varieties available to me here locally in Australia when i lived closer to a farming region.

 

The same can be said for tomatoes within a recipe. The varieties and quality of tomatoes available can be vastly different in all manners of flavour, texture, acidity, sweetness, moisture etc (verrrry apparent here in Australia) and when used in a recipe can make the end product inconsistent. As socities, we tend to consume more tomatoes than rhubarb though, so i don't think the market is really there to offer many varities at any given time.

 

So yes, there is a possibility that JPW's rhubarb was stronger in flavour at the time he developed his recipe, but again perhaps not - perhaps he just likes it exactly the way Jim D perpared it.

 

But there's a difference between a recipe not working (fundamentally flawed) and preference, which a lot of people tend to misunderstand.

 

I hesitatingly mention that I have only recently stepped into the tightly fitting shoes of selling confectionery as a business owner (I am a chef (apprenticed, culinary schooled (with additional training specialising in confectionery) and qualified > 10yrs)), and am constantly surprised about the level of snobbery some confectioners and their afficianados espouse.

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41 minutes ago, Goober said:

 

I hesitatingly mention that I have only recently stepped into the tightly fitting shoes of selling confectionery as a business owner (I am a chef (apprenticed, culinary schooled (with additional training specialising in confectionery) and qualified > 10yrs)), and am constantly surprised about the level of snobbery some confectioners and their afficianados espouse.

Are you a confectioner yourself or are you selling confectionary made by others? I'm trying to interpret 'selling confectionery as a business owner' in that light. Where are you noticing snobbery?

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1 hour ago, Kerry Beal said:

Are you a confectioner yourself or are you selling confectionary made by others? I'm trying to interpret 'selling confectionery as a business owner' in that light. Where are you noticing snobbery?

 

I produce confectionery and am new to selling confectionery as a business owner as opposed to selling from the position of an employee.

 

I notice snobbery everywhere within the food scene, it just appears with less reverance within confectionery circles. Critiques are often displayed disrespectful to their sources, while lauding their opinions with superiority. I've seen stores on social media take a public beating from a few very vocal and opinionated consumers who claimed to have worked in a kitchen before (not directed toward me). But you also see snobbery when authors like Greweling or Notter take a beating. These chefs are sharing their recipes and expertise to make confectionery production as approachable as possible to small confectioners and hobbyist.

 

Authors of industry textbooks like "Bernard W. Minifie ", "Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa", "Geoff Talbot", "R. Lees", " W. P. Edwards" are not subjected to the same issues. Nor are the scientists that publish their papers. Why is that? It's because there is not much room for opinion as the material is not subjective - they are simply delivered as techniques and basic recipes.

 

As business owners, we want to sell products that will not only sell, but also be appreciated by our consumers. It is my experience that customers often like subtle flavours and perhaps that is what happened with the rhubarb recipe.

 

I am not a chocolate doctor though, so i may not be qualified to comment on anything in the end. I will see myself out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by Goober typo (log)

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7 hours ago, Goober said:

 

I am not a chocolate doctor though, so i may not be qualified to comment on anything in the end. I will see myself out.

 


Nobody is suggesting you're not qualified to comment. I think the problem began because it felt like you were suggesting others weren't qualified to have opinions unless that opinion was to kneel at the alter of those you respect. Wybauw thinks his rhubarb chocolate worked great (presumably), Jim did not. Why is it inappropriate for him to express that? I've been cooking in restaurants for a lot of years and I respect what a lot of the big names in the industry do but if they put out a recipe and I think it's a dud, I'll say so. Their status doesn't make them immune to critique. Insulting Kerry is another thing altogether. She has probably done more to help people with their chocolate questions and problems on these forums than the rest of us combined. That doesn't mean you have to kiss her feet but if you're going to need to be outright rude to her, I'll gladly hold the door for you so it doesn't hit you in the behind as you exit.

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9 hours ago, Goober said:

 

I produce confectionery and am new to selling confectionery as a business owner as opposed to selling from the position of an employee.

 

I notice snobbery everywhere within the food scene, it just appears with less reverance within confectionery circles. Critiques are often displayed disrespectful to their sources, while lauding their opinions with superiority. I've seen stores on social media take a public beating from a few very vocal and opinionated consumers who claimed to have worked in a kitchen before (not directed toward me). But you also see snobbery when authors like Greweling or Notter take a beating. These chefs are sharing their recipes and expertise to make confectionery production as approachable as possible to small confectioners and hobbyist.

 

Authors of industry textbooks like "Bernard W. Minifie ", "Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa", "Geoff Talbot", "R. Lees", " W. P. Edwards" are not subjected to the same issues. Nor are the scientists that publish their papers. Why is that? It's because there is not much room for opinion as the material is not subjective - they are simply delivered as techniques and basic recipes.

 

As business owners, we want to sell products that will not only sell, but also be appreciated by our consumers. It is my experience that customers often like subtle flavours and perhaps that is what happened with the rhubarb recipe.

 

I am not a chocolate doctor though, so i may not be qualified to comment on anything in the end. I will see myself out.

 

I've found that confectionary types (at least in North America) seem less snobby than other areas of the food scene. Perhaps it is different in Oz? There is certainly the snobbery around those who feel that only one manufacturer's chocolate is worthwhile - but I suspect that that snobbery is often rewarded by the chocolate company that supports them as an ambassador or providing free product. But I've also met ambassadors of one chocolate company who are thrilled to taste an interesting chocolate from another company and you can watch the wheels turning as they imagine how best they could use it.

 

I don't think anyone here is attempting to 'give a beating' to Greweling or Wybauw. I, for one, am a huge fan of both - they are both absolutely delightful individuals - warm and fuzzy and endlessly helpful. I recommend Greweling's book on average once a week. I am more likely to recommend Wybauw's books to students who are further along and looking for more shelf life information. Objections to his book seem to be that folks don't want to add a lot of 'ol's' to their bonbons (sorbitol, glycerol). They want the shelf life - but they want to be perceived as having a clean label. 

 

The textbooks of Lees, Minifie, Richmond - which came out in the 80's and 90's - were highly industry supported and in a lot of cases were documentation of recipes that had been in use for decades. Some updates to add things like brand name invert sugars and fats clearly when I look at the early editions vs the newer editions. They were written for industry - not for artisan confectioners - a term that I suspect didn't exist back then (at least not the way it is used today). But if you think they were never criticized or that the scientists that present their papers are never criticized, you have clearly never been to one of the annual scientific events. They support their students to the ends of the earth - but they can be quite hard on each other. But they sure know their stuff!

 

I think social media can be a godsend to some and very hard on others, as you note a few vocal critics can do serious damage to a reputation. And it is interesting that you note that it is often the people who announce themselves as having worked in a kitchen before. As if spending a bit of time in a kitchen means we know it all. I, for one, feel that I am always learning, and if I ever find myself not learning - it's time to give it up. 

 

You are certainly welcome here on eG - the chocolate and confectionary types on this forum tend to be very supportive of each other - and love to help trouble shoot and teach each other. We aren't big on being told we don't know anything or that we are snobs so you might want to dial that back a bit. We'd love to see pictures of your work - successes for sure - but don't be afraid to show us your failures (there's a dedicated thread for that here). If you want help, don't hesitate to ask. If you want to help, eG thrives on that. We try to be tactful when we offer help. Some of us are better at that than others.

 

Perhaps we should try to get this thread back on track. The OP was identifying as a problem poor editing and translation of the compilation of Wybauw's books. Maybe we can identify the missing ingredients and poor translations and check in the original volumes to see if the information is there so that @minas6907 and others can make corrections in their books. 

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Definitely agree that some things are lost in translation with Wybauw. Such technical books shouldn’t be a guessing game, imho. Even if the recipes were 100% perfect translations, we are all still using slightly different chocolate formulations and have different tastes, I see nothing wrong with having favorites or making adjustments. 

 

As for rhubarb ... I was confirming a flourless chocolate torte order for this weekend when the chef told me he was making a strawberry rhubarb compote to go with it to embrace spring. While that’s fine and means I don’t have to make a sauce, it does make me think I’ll add some white chocolate  and vanilla layers instead of going all dark chocolate. I wish I could taste their compote, I’ve definitely had to adjust fruit sauces to pair with chocolate - sometimes it tastes good on its own but veers sour when paired with tannic cacao.

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Hey thanks for all the replies on the subject. It is definitely a bummer when it comes to the editing, but along the same lines, theres some inconsistancies in parts of Chocolates and Confections, but my favortite text regardless. And when I started to get into cooking as a teen, my first pastry book was both volumes of Fribergs Professional Pastry Chef, which really suffered from so many issues, so I suppose its not unheard of. But it is good to note that many of his formulas are trusted. Anyone make any of his nougat formulas? Also, I was looking at the section on caramels. I never considered making a caramel with a milk powder, I'd actually like to try that. On the topic of caramels, many of his recipes call for caramelizing the sugar and glucose together. I dont think I have done that. I'm familiar with caramelizing the sugar dry, with a few drop of lemon rubbed into the sugar, but would the process be the same for the sugar and glucose? Would you use any acid, or just slowly heat both sugars together? And any specific favorites of JPW I should try first? I know @Jim D. mentioned a few, but I'm open to others. Thanks for the replies everyone.

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Just toss the sugar and glucose in the pan and cook it to the color or temp you shoot for. No acid required. I prefer doing wet caramel because it allows for multitasking. I can go do other things until late in the process. Sometimes I add a little water with the sugar and glucose. Takes longer to reach color/temp but requires zero babysitting until close to the end. You can hear when most of the water is cooked off and it's time to start watching things more closely.

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1 hour ago, Tri2Cook said:

Just toss the sugar and glucose in the pan and cook it to the color or temp you shoot for. No acid required. 

Ok thanks for that, I'm looking forward to trying his caramel recipes. For caramels, I really haven't strayed too far from Grewelings recipes, they are reliable, that's what I typically use, so normally I do the wet process. With Wybauws process, I think I was more concerned with having all the sugar dissolve in the glucose. Anyways, I suppose it's just a different way of combining ingredients. Thanks again!

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2 hours ago, minas6907 said:

Ok thanks for that, I'm looking forward to trying his caramel recipes. For caramels, I really haven't strayed too far from Grewelings recipes, they are reliable, that's what I typically use, so normally I do the wet process. With Wybauws process, I think I was more concerned with having all the sugar dissolve in the glucose. Anyways, I suppose it's just a different way of combining ingredients. Thanks again!


You can heat the glucose until it's bubbly and then add the sugar in a few additions, letting it melt before adding the next addition. I have had little lumps of sugar form when heating glucose and all of the sugar together at once but they've always dissolved out before I get the caramel where I want it. Melting it in additions gets you around that potential worry though, as does adding a little water. The recipe not calling for water doesn't matter, it'll just take longer to get the sugar where you want it if you add it. 

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I have the book in original Dutch, so hopefully this will be helpful.

 

Page 187 recipe for Truffels with Anise and Liquer is in the Dutch book titled,  Truffels with Anise liquer. The ingredient is Anise liquer with a suggestion to use Raki or Ouzo. These are piped into round balls.

The page 188 recipe is titled Anise truffels and therefore contains only dried anise seeds. These are piped into logs.

 

Preserving fruit in alcohol.

Can you give a page number? I didn't find it easily, but I can probably find what detail is missing. (edited to write: this was addressed in an earlier post)

 

Espresso recipe, there is indeed no butter listed in the ingredients while butter is included in the instructions.

 

He needs a better editor, me thinks, in English and in Dutch. 

 

I use it as an ultimate technique resource, more than anything.

 

 

 

On 3/27/2018 at 6:59 PM, minas6907 said:

Hello all. I recently picked up JP Wybauw's book, that I didnt know existed until a few weeks ago, Fine Chocolates: Gold. I've looked for his book in the past, only to find them being sold individually for $120ish. His new book, which came out a year ago, but was new to me, is appearently his four Fine Chocolates series combined into one volume. Heres the link if anyone want it.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/9401433429/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Really, I wanted opinions on Wybauws work. He really seems like he knows what he talking about, and I from different threads over the years, I cant really recall anything negative, however there a few things in the book I was sort of puzzeled over. I believe this text was translated into English, so theres some funny wording, not really an issue. One of the first recipes that caught my eye was on p. 188, "Truffles with Anise and Liqueur", I like how they were piped into logs, enrobed, and rolled in coarse sugar. However, there is no mention of alcohol, I thought that was weird, just anise seed. A day later I was flipping through again, and on the previous page, p. 187 there was a recipe "Aniseed Truffles," which DID contain liqueur, but no aniseed. So...I'm pretty certain the recipe names for those bonbons were switched with each other.

 

 

Another thing that perplex me, was on the section on preserving fresh fruit in alcohol. One of the formulas read:

1000 g ° to 96° alcohol

600 g water

200 g kirsch

200 g 30° Baumé (54° Brix) sugar syrup

 

For the first ingredient, the alcohol, there is no low end of the spectrum given, just a ° symbol with no number preceding it. I'm not really sure what to think of that.

 

Then I was looking through it again this morning, and on p. 402, "Espresso" bonbon, caught me eye, pretty basic flavor. I did think the instructions were interesting, first step was to "Bring the cream, glucose, butter, sorbitol, and coffee to a boil." I thought it was interesting to bring to butter to a boil along with everything else, I liked the idea, but there is no butter listed in the recipe!

 

All in all, what makes me nervous is that I seem to find things like this every time I open the book. I know his books are owned by many on this forum, so am I just being over analytical? He really sounds like he knows what hes talking about, and is obviously a well respected individual. Are there things like this in his other books? I haven't tried any of the formulas yet, I've only had the book a few days, and havent really read anything en depth, just glancing through. I would expect a little different from a $90 text, perhaps I'm being too critical, but I wanted to hear others opinions on his books. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by julie99nl (log)

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Posted (edited)
On 3/31/2018 at 3:41 PM, julie99nl said:

The ingredient is Anise liquer with a suggestion to use Raki or Ouzo.

 

Piping in a little late, but finding the thread useful none-the-less. Anyway, having studied in Greece, I'd suggest anyone interested in this recipe go for the Ouzo over the Raki. I'm not really a licorice fan either, but Ouzo at least tastes like licorice, Raki on the other hand... tastes sort of yeasty in my experience. It may be that I didn't have the good stuff, but from what I did have, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone :)

 

Also, since it's a licorice flavor the recipe calls for you might be able to substitute pastis or sambuca. 


Edited by cslas (log)

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