Take a peek inside
Babka, Boulou & Blintzes
Compiled by Michael Leventhal
Price: £25 / $34.95
“The best book about chocolate I have ever read – terrific recipes, gorgeous photography and a unique cultural perspective. As with all the best Jewish cookbooks, you want to dive in and eat till you feel sick. Then eat some more.” – Giles Coren
‘Beautifully presented and the recipes look marvellous. I can’t wait to try them!’ – Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
I urge you to grab a copy, for the chocolate, for the charity. Go Go Go.’ – Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Honey & Co
- An unprecedented collection of weird and wonderful Jewish chocolate recipes, from babka to chocolate soup and chocolate aubergine caponata
- An exploration of the history of Jewish food and culture through cocoa
- Recipes with influences from Russia, Mexico, England, Israel, North America, Turkey, Egypt, Portugal, the Netherlands and more
- All sales of this book will support Chai Cancer Care
- Recipes from 50 of the world’s best-known Jewish cooks and writers
Discover the history of chocolate in Jewish food and culture with this unique recipe book, bringing together individual recipes from more than fifty noted Jewish bakers. This is the perfect book for chocoholics, anyone keen to grow their repertoire of chocolate-based recipes, or those with an interest in the diverse ways that chocolate is used around the world.
Highlights include Claudia Roden’s Spanish hot chocolate, the Gefilteria’s dark chocolate and roasted beetroot ice-cream, Honey & Co’s marble cake and Joan Nathan’s chocolate almond cake. As well as recipes for sweet-toothed readers, savoury dishes include Alan Rosenthal’s chocolate chilli and Denise Phillips’ Sicilian caponata. There are also delicious naturally gluten-free and vegan recipes to cater to a variety of dietary requirements.
Each recipe helps provide an insight into the important role chocolate has played in Jewish communities across the centuries, from Jewish immigrants and refugees taking chocolate from Spain to France in the 1600s, to contemporary Jewish bakers crossing continents to discover, adapt and share new chocolate recipes for today’s generation. Babka, Boulou & Blintzes is a unique collection published in conjunction with the British Jewish charity Chai Cancer Care.
Michael Leventhal is the publisher of Greenhill Books and Green Bean Books. The Chocolate King is his first book for children and won a PJ Library Author Incentive Award.
Previously he founded Gefiltefest, a Jewish food charity which organised Europe’s biggest Jewish food festival. He is co-author of Jews in Britain and edited The Hand of History (illustrated by Chris Riddell). He eats a lot of chocolate. You can see more of his work at www.michaelleventhal.co.uk
Before you take your next bite of some delicious chocolate, you may want to check out a new book by British autor Michael Leventhal, that explores the history of chocolate in Jewish food and culture. In his book, the author of “The Chocolate King,” which won a PJ Library Author Incentive Award, creates a unique recipe book, bringing together individual recipes from more than fifty noted Jewish bakers…. If you’re a chocoholic, or know one, this book of chocolate-based recipes, or those with an interest in the diverse ways that chocolate is used around the world, this book is for you.’ – Jordan Palmer, STL Jewish Light
This is definitely one of the best books for chocoholics everywhere. Anyone who is lucky enough to own it will use it often. The mouthwatering photographs will tempt even the most dedicated dieter.’ NetGalley
What a terrible book to read if you’re on a diet or crave chocolate! It begins with the earliest involvement in the development of edible chocolate, moves on to Jewish involvement in chocolate usage/chocolate trade, and then begins a beautiful but dangerous (to me, a chocolate addict) illustrated book of recipes. The photography is excellent and the recipes astounding. Best of all, the proceeds are being donated to Chai Cancer Care.’ – NetGalley
‘Michael Leventhal tells the story of Jews’ involvement with chocolate and he sweetens the tale with 53 recipes, new and old. Esteemed food writer Joan Nathan contributed a 400-year-old recipe for chocolate almond cake that was passed down orally in a Jewish family from Bayonne, France, where Spanish Jews settled in the 16th century. The recipes span sweet dishes like chocolate and Nutella blintzes, as well as savory foods as well like noodles with cocoa. It’s truly a Jewish chocolate lover’s dream.’ Rachel Ringler, The Nosher
‘Rich, fragrant, enticing, heavenly chocolate — it’s almost too good to be true! Michael Leventhal presents a recipe book filled with spectacular gourmet offerings, lush photographs in color, and fascinating bits of Jewish history that tell the story of chocolate as it relates to Jewish culture and history all around the world. It’s almost too good to be true, but it is temptingly, sensuously, satisfyingly real.
The book’s colorfully illustrated introduction delves into the history of chocolate and chocolate-making, with a particular emphasis on Jewish communities and their many, many connections to chocolate lore. For example, the Spanish conquistadors learned about chocolate from the Aztecs and, when they carried the knowledge home, Jewish traders in Spain, barred by antisemitism from many other trades, developed an enthusiastic market for the spectacular new treat. The French learned chocolate craft from the Jews and then banned them from producing it. In Belgium, a Jewish immigrant was granted the first license to manufacture chocolate. The Caribbean was a Jewish chocolate-making center as early as the 1600s. Chocolate Chanukah gelt, which seems so traditional, was developed in the United States in the 1920s. Chocolate’s delicious history flows onward into modern times.
The sweet center of the book follows this engrossing history: the recipes themselves. Each contains a brief introduction, often including the country in which the recipe originated. The recipes are clear, concise, easy to follow, and are accompanied by scrumptious photographs of the finished products. Classic chocolate rugelach, three different better-than-basic recipes for brownies, unusual offerings such as Chocolate Beetroot Cake, exotic recipes such as Tunisian Chocolate Tart with Mahlab, vegan chocolate chip cookies, Israeli White Chocolate Cheesecake, and so many more. There seems to be no end to the fabulous creativity.
Personal favorites include Tahini Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, truly magical Magic Squares, and the ever-popular babka without which this cookbook would feel incomplete. There’s a section called “Savoury Dishes and Drinks” which includes such unusual international delights as Chocolate Chili and Sicilian Caponata. Who ever imagined that reading a cookbook could be so fascinating?
The only thing that could possibly make this book any better is knowing that all the proceeds are being donated to a charitable organization, in this case, Chai Cancer Care of London. Delicious chocolate, fascinating history, and tzedakah, too? Who could ask for more?
The book is published in the UK, so a glossary of UK-US terms is included to avoid confusion and to be sure that as many people as possible are welcomed into this world of chocolate delight. A short biography of each recipe’s contributor is included as well.
For the Epicureans among us, those for whom chocolate is practically a religion, this book is for you. It’s a valuable addition to the cookbook shelf for everyone else, too.’ – Michal Hoschander Malen, Jewish Book Council
This collection of chocolate recipes gathered from Jewish cooks around the world begins with a pithy, eye-opening survey of the long involvement of Jews in the chocolate tradebefore plunging into the heart of the matter: chocolate recipes.
Michael Leventhal, the publisher of a line of Jewish children’s books, draws on the talents of famous cooks and bakers such as Joan Nathan, Claudia Roden, David Lebovitz, Michael Solomonov, and Adeena Sussman for sweet and savory recipes.
Some are firmly rooted in local traditions, such as the titular boulou, a Jewish-Tunisian treat served to break the Yom Kippur fast. Panlevi, crisp sponge cookies, are traditional among Curaçao Sephardim.
Others are imaginatively modern: an Israeli white chocolate cheesecake; dark chocolate and roasted beet ice cream; cream cheese and Nutella blintzes.
Attractively presented and studded with bits of history and culture.
‘I cannot encourage people enough to go out and buy this book.’ – The Jerusalem Post