Review Couture Chocolate – A Masterclass in Chocolate by William Curley (Giveaway now Closed)

Anyone who has a chocolate addiction, as I have, will appreciate a good chocolate book and William Curley’s Couture Chocolate – A Masterclass in Chocolate provides the perfect hit. William Curley is Britain’s top Chocolatier (how I love that word), having won the title of the Academy of Chocolate’s Best British Chocolatier for the last four years running. William has worked in several Michelin-starred establishments, under Pierre Koffmann, Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White, before moving to the London Savoy as Chef Patissier where he met his Japanese wife, Suzue. William now owns two chocolate boutiques with Suzue, whom he credits as his inspiration.  He’s a hard man to beat and Couture Chocolate gives us a little glimpse as to why.

This is not a book for the chocolate-shy. This is a book to embrace boldly with both hands as William unveils all the techniques and secrets to creating some of the most stunning chocolate creations. It is very comprehensive. If you were thinking about becomming a Chocolatier, this book would definitely set you on the right track. Think of it as distance learning by chocolate. Having said that, for those of us with nothing more than a mere interest in lovely chocolate, this book is a feast for the eyes and there any many recipes in here which will easily tempt you into tempering and charm you into chocolate-making at home.

Beginning with the essentials, Couture Chocolate explains the Discovery and Origins of Cocoa (wild cacao was originally consumed as long ago as 1500 BC by the Olmecs) with South American countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Mexico, as well as the Caribbean growing some of the best cocoa in the world.

There are three types of cocoa tree: the Criollo, the Forastero and the Trinitario and cocoa grows best in high humidity. There is a simple description of the Bean to Bar process, beginning with cocoa pods and ending in Couverture chocolate (cocoa butter is added to the cocoa mass and then processed with sugar and vanilla.) We are also given a breakdown of the main varieties of chocolate (dark, milk, white, powder, nibs) as well as correct storage and the all-important method of tempering. 

There are also step-by-step instructions and photographs for making a basic Ganache (chocolate, cream, sugar and butter)  – the backbone for many of the chocolate recipes throughout the book and then we begin…

The opening chapter of the book covers Truffles (balls of ganache that can also be used to fill chocolate and patisserie) and includes William’s recipes for his House Dark Truffle and House Milk Truffle as well as some more unusual flavours, such as Matcha and Pistachio Truffle and Cassis & Hibiscus.

Onto Couture Chocolates, essentially, the high-end, custom-made chocolates that you can find at William’s boutiques in Richmond and Belgravia. William takes you through the stages, such as making an infused or flavoured ganache chocolate, setting it into a tray, making layers (such as Feuillantine, Pistachio or Marzipan) followed by dipping and decorating. Imagine creating fillings such as Apricot & Wasabi, Sea Salt Caramel, Rosemary & Olive Oil (shown below) or Yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit) at home!

There is also a delightful chapter on Bars & Bites that would suit those wanting to make their own stunning chocolate gifts to giveaway. For example, there are step-by-step photos and instructions for Fruit & Nut Decorated Bars, Infused Bars as well as Chocolate Thins and Chocolate Lollipops.

A chapter on Bouchées (small delights) includes chocolate-coated Cinder Toffee (a childhood favourite of mine), Chocolate Macaroons, beautiful Hazlenut & Feuillantine Cakes (shown below) as well as a posh twist on a marshmallow teacakes, with blackcurrant purée or orange marmalade. I was also particularly taken by the Millionaire’s Shortbread and will be sharing the recipe for that tomorrow, so stay tuned! 

Next, my favourite chapter, Cakes & Biscuits, with recipes for Chocolate Madeleines, adventurous-sounding Chestnut & Sesame Brownies, Chocolate Fig Cakes as well as cookies and sablés.

For those with a real interest in creating stunning desserts, flick straight through to the chapter on Patisserie, where you’ll find all the secrets to decorating with chocolate (how to make hoops, curls, waves and curls) before moving onto a classic Chocolate Mousse, stunning Chocolate Tarts (shown below) a Chocolate Mille-Feuille, or William’s Black Forest sponge with white chocolate and kirsch mousse. You’ll also find a recipe for Chocolate Tiramisu Caskets, shown on the cover of the book.


In case you haven’t had your fair share of chocolate by now, the final chapter reveals Ice-Cream, Sauces and Drinks. The Chocolate and Peanut ice-cream is firmly bookmarked for the summer along with William’s Chocolate Sauce and of course, I’ve spotted the Chocolate and Praline Spread (homemade Nutella!) as well as a very seductive White Chocolate Martini.

At the very back you’ll find a Directory of Stockists for all your chocolate needs, as well as an A-Z of Ingreditents and Equipment. 

All in all, a veritable feast in chocolate. Is there anything missing? I haven’t spotted a recipe for William’s Signature Hot Chocolate so I’ll have to force myself to visit William’s shop in Richmond for that!

William Curley’s Couture Chocolate is Published by Jacqui Small LLP (An imprint of Aurum Press) with an RRP of £30.00 – currently £19.07 on Amazon.

Photography Credit: Jose Lasheras


Closing date: Wednesday 15th February 2012 The winner will be announced the next day.

Giveaway winner: Vicky Haddock.

Thank you to Jacqui Small Publishing for my review copy and for the giveaway prize.

Good Luck!


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  1. vicky haddock says:

    Thanks, looking forward to receiving it

  2. Katherine L says:

    I’m following @RenBehan on Twitter and “Liked” Fabulicious Food on Facebook x

  3. Katherine L says:

    I’ve tweeted about the giveaway 🙂 @KookyKaty xx

  4. Katherine L says:

    I’ve “Liked” the William Curley Facebook page and followed William Curley on Twitter xx

  5. Katherine L says:

    I’d enjoy the Patisserie chapter the most 🙂 Yumm!

  6. helen carson says:

    i would love the Bars & Bites chapter – this book looks great 🙂

  7. Deborah woodings says:

    Looks lovely.

  8. Lesley Bain says:

    ‘liked’ William Curley on facebook x

  9. Lesley Bain says:

    My goodness even the cover pic looks good enough to eat! I think I would skip right to the Couture Chocolate section, I would love to (attempt to) make my own unusual and extra special chocolate treats for my family x

  10. I follow on Networked Blogs

  11. Already like you on FB and follow you on Twitter (@nickiem)

  12. Liked William Curley on FB

  13. Rob Clayton says:

    liked facebook and followed on twitter

  14. Rob Clayton says:

    Couture Chocolates

  15. Becky Downey says:

    following on nb

  16. Becky Downey says:

    @RenBehan on Twitter done

  17. Becky Downey says:

    tweeted @beckydowney

  18. Becky Downey says:

    follow William Curley on Twitter done

  19. Becky Downey says:

    Patisserie or Ice-Creams

  20. adelle gow says:

    cakes and biscuits 🙂

    del gow fb

    adelleg3 twitter

  21. Steven Hunter says:

    I like the sound of the Ice-Cream, Sauces and Drinks chapter.

  22. I would enjoy the Bars&Bites chapter the most because I would definitely bake from this chapter.

  23. I would have to say my favourite would be cakes & biscuits!! I love cooking with my children.

    Have FB liked all pages, followed all on Twitter & tweeted @cluckyhen0 xxx

  24. Vicky Everson says:

    Liked Fabulicious Food on Facebook 8D xx

  25. Vicky Everson says:

    @The_Eekey is following @RenBehan on Twitter x

  26. Vicky Everson says:

    The_Eekey has tweeted! x

  27. Vicky Everson says:

    The_Eekey is following William Curley on Twitter x

  28. Vicky Everson says:

    Liked William Curley on Facebook x

  29. Vicky Everson says:

    Definitely Ice-Creams, Sauces and Drinks!

  30. lorraine polley says:

    cakes and biscuits

  31. Adrian Clarke says:

    Bars & Bites !

  32. Laura Pritchard says:

    Following you on Twitter @Isis1981uk

  33. Laura Pritchard says:

    Tweeted the message @Isis1981uk

  34. Laura Pritchard says:

    Liked William Curley on Facebook.

  35. Laura Pritchard says:

    I love the sound of the Couture Chocolates chapter – I need to raise the standards of my chocolate!

  36. Angela Green says:

    The bouchee chapter….or cakes and biscuits…. Or sauces and drinks…..
    So much to chose from I can’t pick just one lol

  37. Erin Satterly already liked Fabulicious Food on Facebook

  38. @erinyslondon follows @RenBehan on Twiitter

  39. @erinyslondon follows @William_Curley on Twitter

  40. Erin Satterly likes William Curley on Facebook

  41. I would best love the bouchee chapter.
    Indeed Millionaire’s shortbread is my downfall 😉

  42. Angie Hoggett says:

    I’ve also tweeted @angiehoggett

  43. Angie Hoggett says:

    already liked and followed you @angiehoggett

  44. Angie Hoggett says:

    liked and followed William Curley @angiehoggett

  45. Angie Hoggett says:

    Patisserie for me!

  46. Already follow RB, like FF.

  47. Tweeted as requested.

  48. Liked WC on FB, following on Twitter (@KateBissell).

  49. Hard to choose, but I guess the Couture Chocolates section is the most intriguing.

  50. Looks AMAZING!!! Have liked on FB! 🙂

  51. Truffles- I’d love to learn how to make my own.

  52. An I’m following William Curley on Twitter @sheridarby

  53. Kerri Brennan says:

    Oooh it would be Cakes & Biscuits for me. The book looks fab.

  54. mmm has to be ice cream

  55. I would enjoy the Cakes & Biscuits chapter the most – the Chestnut & Sesame Brownies sound good.

  56. I already follow you on twitter, @digbythedog

  57. I have followed william curley on twitter, @digbythedog

  58. I have tweeted, @digbythedog

  59. I think I’s like the Truffles chapter best.

  60. Gillian Holmes says:

    I am following you on Networked Blogs as Annabel Lee

  61. Gillian Holmes says:

    Follow you @RenBehan on Twitter as @00annabellee00 and “Like” Fabulicious Food on Facebook as Annabel Lee

  62. Gillian Holmes says:

    William Curley

    I’m following you on Twitter as @00annabellee00

    I like your Facebook page as Annabel Lee

  63. Gillian Holmes says:

    Sauces & Drinks

  64. helen rosbotham says:

    Following you on twitter (@freyamae1) and facebook

  65. helen rosbotham says:

    Tweeted also as @freyamae1

  66. helen rosbotham says:

    Liking the facebook page also

  67. helen rosbotham says:

    B:ouchées for me although until Id read it on her I didnt know what it mean’t

  68. The whole book sounds fab but I think Bars and bites would appeal to me more.

  69. Laura Carroll says:

    Already follow you on Networked Blogs 🙂 as Laura Carrol.

  70. Laura Carroll says:

    I already follow you on twitter @Laura_Cookies and on facebook as Laura Carrol.

  71. Laura Carroll says:

    I’ve followed William Curley on twitter

  72. Laura Carroll says:

    It would definitely be truffles, I adore them! <3

  73. Ellie Bevan says:

    followed and tweeted @williancurley -@elzmumof3

  74. Ellie Bevan says:

    liked the william curley facebook page – Ellie Bevan

  75. Ellie Bevan says:

    I would love the cakes and buiscuits sextion 🙂

  76. Elizabeth says:

    Hard to choose but I’m very fond of macaroons so the Bouchées chapter would be the first section I’d turn to.

  77. Christina Turnbull says:

    I think it would have to be Bars & Bites. I’ve always loved the idea of making something special and giving them as presents. If I win the book it might just be my inspiration!

  78. OLIVER EVANS says:

    followed on FB! 🙂

  79. david cavender says:

    Following Fabulicious Food! on Networked Blogs

  80. david cavender says:

    Followed you @RenBehan on Twitter @theorecle
    and “Like” Fabulicious Food on Facebook-david cavender

  81. david cavender says:

    Have tweeted “I would love to win William Curley’s Couture Chocolate Book via #Fabulicious Food!” @theorecle

  82. david cavender says:

    “Liked” the William Curley Facebook page -david cavender
    and followed William Curley on Twitter @theorecle

  83. david cavender says:

    I would enjoy the chapter on Ice-Creams-can’t get enough!

  84. carole carr says:

    Couture chocolate

  85. Emma Johnson says:

    I am following @RenBehan on Twitter as @manicmuriel

  86. Emma Johnson says:

    I have tweeted about the giveaway as @manicmuriel

  87. Emma Johnson says:

    I am following William Curley on Twitter as @manicmuriel

  88. Eleanor Jones says:

    I love truffles so my favourite section would be the truffle one 🙂

  89. Emma Johnson says:

    Bars and Bites would be best for me! I love making things to give to people.

  90. vicky haddock says:

    Cakes & Biscuits

  91. Every chapter sounds spectacular, but definitely the truffles is where I’d spend my time…

  92. emma kinsey says:

    cakes and biscuits

  93. William Gould says:

    Follow Fabulicious Food! on Networked Blogs

  94. William Gould says:

    Follow @RenBehan on Twitter (@gouldie7) and “Like” Fabulicious Food on Facebook

  95. William Gould says:

    Tweeted message – @gouldie7

  96. William Gould says:

    “Like” the William Curley Facebook page and follow William Curley on Twitter – @gouldie7

  97. William Gould says:

    Cakes & Biscuits

  98. Sarah Cooper says:

    Followed you on Networked blogs. Thanks x

  99. Sarah Cooper says:

    Followed and liked on Twitter and Facebook as per Step 4

  100. Sarah Cooper says:

    Tweeted about the giveaway

  101. Sarah Cooper says:

    Followed on Facebook and liked on Twitter

  102. Sarah Cooper says:

    Couture Chocolates

  103. helena haddock says:

    Cakes & Biscuits

  104. c tindale says:

    I would prefer cakes and biscuits!

  105. I would probably enjoy most Cakes & Biscuits chapter as I love cakes and I love chocolate so the combination of both is just perfect for me.

  106. I’d love the sauces, drinks, biscuits……….

  107. Christine Johnson says:

    Couture Chocolates, already making my mouth water

  108. Les Warriner says:

    Cakes and Biscuits looks good to me

  109. Melissa Hall says:

    Couture Chocolates

  110. Fran Light says:

    I’m following Fabulicious Food on Twitter as @LoveWinning

  111. Fran Light says:

    I’m following Fabulicious Food on Facebook as ‘Francesca Light-Wilson’

  112. Fran Light says:

    I’ve tweeted about the competition as @LoveWinning

  113. Fran Light says:

    I’m following William Curley on Twitter as @LoveWinning 🙂

  114. Fran Light says:

    I’ve liked William Curley on Facebook as ‘Francesca Light-Wilson’

  115. Fran Light says:

    The ‘cakes and biscuits’ section particularly appeals to me – I love baking, it’s so therapeutic!

  116. Liked the William Curley FB page and following william_curley on twitter from @bakingaddict

  117. I LOVE chocolate and would love to win this book. I think my favourite section would have to be cakes and biscuits as I can attempt some of them myself!

  118. olivia kirby says:

    i follow on networked blogs x x

  119. olivia kirby says:

    already following you on twitter as @olivia280177

  120. olivia kirby says:

    i have tweeted as @olivia280177

  121. olivia kirby says:

    i have liked the William Curley FB page as olivia kirby

  122. olivia kirby says:

    I would use the bars and bites bit the most x xx

  123. Emma Howard says:

    The whole book looks delicious but as I love baking I would turn to the cakes and biscuits chapter first

  124. claire woods says:

    5.Follow Fabulicious Food! on Networked Blogs – done

  125. claire woods says:

    4.Follow me @RenBehan on Twitter and/or “Like” Fabulicious Food on Facebook – leave a comment here to tell me that you have done so – done @clairew137 /

  126. claire woods says:

    Tweeted – @clairew137

  127. claire woods says:

    2.Pop over to Facebook and “Like” the William Curley Facebook page and/or follow William Curley on Twitter – done @clairew137 /

  128. i follow on twitter as @ashlallan

  129. i have tweeted as @ashlallan

  130. definately truffles!

  131. have followed @renbehan @elainesavage400

  132. Elaine Savage says:

    Have followed William Curley @elainesavage400

  133. Elaine Savage says:

    Have followed William Curley

  134. Elaine Savage says:

    Have liked and followed

  135. Elaine Savage says:

    Ice-Creams, Sauces & Drinks

  136. I have followed William Curley on Facebook and Twitter.
    (Helen Ritchie & @nellyscupcakes)

  137. I think the chapter on cakes would appeal most to me, but to be honest it all looks amazing! I would love to learn more about chocolate.

  138. What a fabulous book, I had better not enter, as I would want to try everything, and then I wouldn’t be able get through the door of the Richmond shop!

  139. Katie Morgan says:

    This looks like a terrific book. I would be most interested in the cakes and biscuits chapter as I love to bake and am always looking for new and exciting recipes.

  140. leah gorman says:

    looks a fab book x

  141. This book sounds absolutely incredible. William Curley’s shop in Richmond is an absolute treasure trove of treats and would absolutely love to be able to recreate some of them at home.

    If I won this book I’d hardly know where to start, but it would probably be a close run thing between the Patisserie and Ice Creams, Sauces & Drinks sections.

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