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Babka, Boulou & Blintzes (Hardback)

Jewish Chocolate Recipes from around The World

Children's Books

By Michael Leventhal
Imprint: Green Bean Books
Pages: 144
ISBN: 9781784386993
Published: 15th September 2021

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Discover the history of chocolate in Jewish food and culture with this unique recipe book, bringing together individual recipes from fifty Jewish bakers. The perfect book for chocoholics, anyone keen to grow their repertoire of chocolate-based recipes, or those with an interest in the diverse uses of chocolate in Jewish cooking.

This collection is rooted in Jewish tradition, family and place, such as Paulo Gavin’s chocolate hazelnut cake, often served during Passover; Claudia Prieto Piastro’s ‘Chocolate al agua’ the most popular breakfast drink in Oaxaca, Mexico; and Aviva Elias’ Chocolate Cardamom Truffles, a recipe he adapted to include flavours he enjoyed.

With a variety of recipes from your morning hot chocolate, to your afternoon cake, through savoury dinner’s and on to chocolate-rich deserts, this book includes a chocolate recipe for any time of day. There are also delicious, naturally gluten-free and vegan recipes to cater a variety of dietary requirements.

Each recipe provides an insight into the important role chocolate has played in the Jewish community across the centuries, from Jewish immigrants and refugees taking chocolate from Spain to France in the 1600’s, to contemporary Jewish bakers crossing continents to discover, adapt and share new chocolate recipes for today’s generation.

I am so excited to try allll of the recipes in this baking cookbook! Growing up one of my favorite weekend breakfast meals that my mother would make for me and my siblings were frozen blintzes from the freezer. And to stumble across this gem with a focal point on blintzes feels like a completed circle!

NetGalley, Ess Aytch

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Anyone who loves chocolate will be absolutely blown away by Babka, Boulou, & Blintzes: Jewish Chocolate Recipes from around the World, a compilation of Jewish chocolate recipes gathered from famous cooks around the world by Michael Leventhal. This book is a cut above, and includes fantastic, mouthwatering recipes along with beautiful photographs. The recipes are, of course, kosher, but will be enjoyed by everyone, whether Jewish or not. Leventhal has included a good variety of Cookies, Bars, & Brownies, Cakes, Loaves, & Tarts, Hot & Cold Desserts, Bonbons, Bites & After-Dinner Delights, and even Savory Dishes & Drinks.

Not only are the recipes fabulous, they are written in a traditional form and are easy to follow. Anyone, whether a beginning or advanced cook, will be able to easily follow these recipes and turn out picture perfect dishes. The main difficulty will be for readers to find the perfect recipe to make at any given time. There are dozens of unique, traditional, and classic recipes, and, frankly there isn’t even one that doesn’t sound good. There is something for everyone here, and before preparing even one recipe, most will have a growing queue which will keep them cooking and baking for months.

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, Karen Hancock

"But did you know that Jewish traders have played a key role in the chocolate industry for more than 500 years"

I'm so excited to have been granted my wish for this book!! Vegan Jewish chocolate recipes are literally my family's forte. The best bit? It's soooo much more than a recipe book. The intro covers the history of Jewish chocolate making internationally. So much of history is forgotten and this book makes efforts to address a long forgotten past of chocolate.

Equally, I really enjoyed the reflection about "what makes a Jewish recipe?", a question I have also often wondered. Much like myself, the book offers ideas but no concrete answers, which is fitting for such an unknown area of discussion. Last but not least - there are some extremely delicious recipes included!!! I definitely recommend.

NetGalley, Francesca Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A delightful collection of sweet and savory recipes utilizing chocolate.

Michael Leventhal starts the book off with a brief history of the relationship between chocolate and Jewish people and how they are integrally intertwined. We get an interesting picture of how chocolate facilitated relocation when necessary to flee, but also led to Jews getting pushed out of certain communities when they had success.

The remainder of the book follows the traditional cookbook format, with a variety of recipes using many different kinds of chocolate. The majority of the foods come from cultures of the Jewish diaspora, as well as recipes from Jewish chefs inspired by their local foods. There is something for everyone in this book! Many of the recipes are also pareve or even kosher for Passover, so you aren't limited to enjoying these foods at only certain times of the year.

I am so excited to try out many of these recipes. They all seem to be simple and easy to follow and definitely bring a taste of childhood while also being translated to a modern palate. For the most part, they also use ingredients that can be found at most supermarkets, or there are substitution suggestions for if you can't find something. I also will likely be adding this book to my list of gift ideas for some family and friends.

NetGalley, Liz Shay

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I mean … how can you go wrong with a book that focuses on chocolate, and whose proceeds benefit charity?! I could stop there and call it good…but I’ll keep going. :)

The pictures alone would make the book worth publishing. They’re droolworthy and truly make me want to bake every recipe .. even the one using beetroot! And on that note, I love the innovative use of ingredients; these aren’t your everyday recipes, though the ingredient lists seem straightforward enough. They simply combine ingredients in ways I never would have thought to do! Like, rye starter–really! Fascinating. I’m more than willing to try that (where are my taste testers at?!).

Babka, Boulou, & Blintzes is more than a cookbook, too; it’s a history lesson just waiting to teach the next generation. Leventhal and co. do a fantastic job at researching and preserving Jewish chocolate history in this collection, linking it to global history and world events.

A quality resource that would fit right in on anyone’s culinary bookshelf. 5/5.

NetGalley, Meagan Davenport

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a history of food and a beautiful cookbook packaged into one. It is not only rich in the history but in the stories and recipes shared by all of the chefs. Everything is presented beautifully with plenty of tips to help the baker at any level.

NetGalley, Tala Hobballah

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Jewish, chocolate, recipes, historical-places-events, historical-research, history-and-culture, international-competition, international-commerce, illustrated*****

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, so buy this book even if it makes you groan!

NetGalley, Jan Tangen

I learnt a lot from reading this book - my family love the homemade nutella and it is so much healthier. I haven't tried every recipe but have a few favourites. I liked the way the author added background to the recipes.

NetGalley, Caroline Wright

Choc-a-bloc with moreish creations

Jewish Chronicle 20/08/21

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book reminded me of so many recipes that my great grand mother used to make, and I was so happy to find them. The recipes are easy to follow and allowed me to make delicious food.

NetGalley, Oliwier Boyer

Great history introduction of chocolate in Jewish food, wonderful recipes, and great intros before recipes. Lovely pictures, and great gluten free options. Looking forward to trying some Vegan Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies, Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting, just to name two.

NetGalley, Ilona Davis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a lovely cookbook, and just in time for the High Holidays! Can’t wait to gift this to all my favorite baking friends and family. I enjoyed the history section, and the effort to cast a wide net for relevant recipes from around the world. Recipes read very clearly so I am feeling confident in executing them.

NetGalley, Lindsay Loyd

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Babka, Boulou, & Blintzes is a compilation of traditional Jewish recipes using chocolate. Desserts both small and large, drinks, and savories are included.

What is fascinating is the first few pages of history that outlines how the Jewish people have been integral in the trade and production of chocolate for centuries. More and more history is revealed about how the Jews persecuted in the time of the Inquisition were able to sustain themselves in their new countries.

These recipes are from The Who's who of modern Jewish cookery and we can see how the influence of the nations these Jews settled in reflects in the food.

All proceeds from this book will be given to the UK organization Chai Cancer Care.

NetGalley, Beth Shulam

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Great book with a variety of chocolate recipes contributed by cooks, chefs, and writers from around the world. Many of the recipes do have Jewish ties or ingredients. The book starts with an intro on the history of chocolate and why it matters to the Jewish community. Recipe chapters are Cookies/Brownies/Bars, Cakes/Loaves/Tarts, Savoury Dishes & Drinks, Hot & Cold Desserts, and Bonbons/Bites/After-Dinner Delights. Because the book is first published in the UK, there is a helpful Glossary of US/UK Terms. I also liked that there was a section with info on the contributors. Almost all of the recipes had a full color photo.
I found this to be a unique take on a chocolate book, with lots of great sounding and varied recipes.

NetGalley, Amanda Donovan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful cookbook that will help support the Chai Cancer Center through book sales. The author, Michael Leventhal, starts his cookbook with a brief chocolate history followed up with numerous delish chocolate recipes. The cookbook author is British but his cookbook does include recipes using American cooking measurements.

Some of the recipes you'll find include:

'Triple Threat'" Chocolate Brownies
Divine Chocolate Raspberry Caramel Slices
Tahnini Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
'No Bake' Chocolate, Tahina and Nut Truffles

Recommend.

NetGalley, Mary Ash

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a fascinating book! I enjoyed not only the recipes, but the fascinating stories behind them and the story of chocolate in the Jewish culture including the true story behind the Sachertorte.

There are many recipes I am looking forward to trying. Some include unexpected ingredients such as tahini; many are gluten free. In addition to the sweet chocolate recipes, there are also savoury ones too!

The book was created to support Chai Cancer Care. The recipes are gathered from many different chefs around the world. Their love of cooking and fondness for their recipes really shine through. It's far more than a compilation of recipes.

This is definitely a book I'll return to many times.

NetGalley, Danielle Ellis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I grew up in an area with lots of Jewish delis and bakeries and have so many delicious memories. Sadly, where I live now, we just don’t have that flavor here and while I can make a mean pastrami and a crusty loaf of rye, I haven’t tried to make a babka or rugelach…but that’s about to change!

The author shares not only recipes with chocolate from around the world, but also shares some stories and cultural background with each one. I love cooking and eating, but I also love the background. This book is more than I was expecting and I am quite thrilled to have come across it. From truffles to cakes to hot cocoa to babka, rugelach, and more, this book has something to make for every occasion! I can’t to get my bake on and try my hand at some old memories!

NetGalley, Cindi Austin

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I’m not crying, you are! Actually, yes, I am. . There were tears of joy, and longing, and nostalgia pouring down my face as I perused this gorgeous cookbook. At first glance, I thought, “this is Bubbie’s recipe box transferred to paper!” Then I reminisced, “Mommy’s Sisterhood group used to do a fundraiser each year where the members would each submit a recipe and then they’d copy all the submissions, put a cover on it, staple it together and sell it in the Judaica shop at the temple!” Then, I flashed to moments with my niece, when she was little, and we would sit at the kitchen table making Mandelbrot or rugelach, or hamentaschen - depending on the holiday or occasion.
Not only does this cookbook capture magnificent moments of my life, but also a shared heritage which is not often celebrated and promoted.
I appreciated the history in the introduction at the beginning, but felt it could have been edited a bit - for me, it’s too long in a cookbook and could be a stand alone supplement or storybook.
The recipes run from simple to intricate, and most have a special twist that save the book from just being everyone’s mother’s recipe collection. The photos are fantastic and really make me want to try out each recipe in its turn. Ingredients are mostly things available anywhere (I live in Asia and often have trouble finding items needed in cookbooks I love, but I was able to easily source just about everything here). I LOVE the fact that the book endeavors to be super inclusive by including metric and imperial measurements as well as temperature guidelines for varying types of ovens.
The fact that all proceeds will go to Chai Cancer Care gives extra incentive to buy a copy for each person in my life. Early Chanukah shopping - done!

NetGalley, Amy London

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Babka, Boulou & Blintzes is a well written guide (with recipes) on the confluence of chocolate and the Jewish diaspora and how they've interacted throughout history. Due out 30th Aug 2021 from Pen & Sword on their Green Bean Books imprint, it's 144 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that profits from the sale of the book will benefit Chai Cancer Care (delicious chocolate, interesting history, and tasty recipes for a good cause, win-win).

In his explanation of the recipe curation process, and what makes a recipe Jewish, the author had several criteria: some of them, such as babka and rugelach are quintessentially tied to Jewish culture, some utilise ingredients such as tahini and mahlab which lend a Middle Eastern/Jewish(ish) flavour, and some of the recipes were collected from Jewish cooks and chefs.The result is a well rounded and appealing range of recipes from simple to decadent.

The author's introduction includes some interesting history from the Mayans and Aztecs through the Spanish exploration of the New World, down history through the ascendance of chocolate as an ingredient in European cooking, and to the modern era. The intro is full of interesting photos and commentary as well as being informative. I hadn't really thought about Cadbury and Sacher in context before, and seeing actual photos of them (and others) was enlightening.

The recipes are arranged thematically: cookies bars & and brownies, cakes loaves & tarts, savoury dishes & drinks, hot & cold desserts, and bonbons bites & after-dinner delights. Each recipe is credited with the contributor's name and a short introduction. Recipe ingredients are listed bullet-style in a sidebar list. Measurements are given in standard (metric) measures along with American measurements. Cooking temps and oven settings are given in C/F/gas mark (yay!). The step by step instructions are numbered sequentially, clearly written, and are easy to understand. Nutritional information is not included.

The photography throughout is superb and the serving suggestions are attractive and appropriate and there is so. much. chocolate! Nearly all of the recipes are accompanied by one or more color photos. The book also includes a handy glossary of UK/US terms which is useful enough to be printed out and taped to the inside of handy cabinet door.

This is a decadent collection and would be a good choice for public or school library acquisition, cookbook collectors, and chocolate lovers. The early review copy I received did not list an index, but the table of contents is comprehensive enough that the lack of an index might not present a problem for most readers. The appeal of a shared cultural heritage adds a lot of value to this book along with benefiting a wonderful charity.

Five stars.

NetGalley, Annie Buchanan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book! I tried the rugelach and the Babka and both were fantastic! So many of my family members even asked for the recipes! I am so ready to try some more. I liked that they had a bit of history about Judaism and chocolate which I never really knew about! I'd definitely recommend this cookbook and will definitely be coming back to try more recipes!

NetGalley, Lauren Paletz

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Most of the books I am reading fail to move my husband. This beautiful cook book was an exception.

Stunning pictures of mouth-watering recipes, most of them vegan, gluten- and sugar-free, with a bit of introduction to the history and the role of chocolate in the Jewish cuisine. Being a Hungarian myself (though not Jewish), I was surprised to learn that it includes a Hungarian recipe I had not heard of before!

And if this all is not enough reason for you to grab a copy of this book, all sales goes to Chai Cancer Care.

NetGalley, Anita Salát

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A beautiful set of recipes celebrating Jewish culture and the connection of Jews throughout history being involved in the spread of chocolate through the world. Gives both important historical information and delightful treats!

NetGalley, Markey Olson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love this book. It has all my favourite cook's recipes in it. Every recipe is mouth watering and know that I will work through the whole book - loving each and every morsel.

NetGalley, Renee Glass

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

There is a huge variety of recipes in here that will appeal to any and all, whether you are Jewish or not. I ordered a coup for myself as I copied so many recipes down, it was insane. (And yes, savoury works....I add cocoa powder to chilli, jambalaya, etc., etc. --- lots of goodness in there along with a LOT of fibre!)

I will recommend this book to friends, family, patrons, book clubs, and people reading books in the park as we do … I have had some of my best conversations about books and food down by the Thames!

Take this book to the beach (or your back yard, porch or balcony) and enjoy it and enjoy the dog days of summer while dreaming about chocolate.

NetGalley, Janet PoCo

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Chocolate (‘nuff said)

I enjoyed this book. I do not bake, so why did I request a recipe book? Two reasons: 1) Jewish history and food from around the world and 2) chocolate. I love chocolate. The recipes sound delicious and the photos are amazing. I saw a lot of options in the recipe collection: vegan, gluten-free, kosher for Passover, parve (neither dairy nor meat). I have a background in laboratory work and I think that lab work and baking have a certain amount of overlap. Because of this, I feel that the taster’s tips and cook’s tips in the book would be very useful, as I would have appreciated something like this in the lab... I think that this book would make a great gift.

NetGalley, Stephen Goldberg

About Michael Leventhal

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. 

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