Food

Other Perez’s Culinary Chronicles

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Food and wine and cocktails and dessert and sweet and savory–these are the things that take up most of my mental space on a daily basis. I can’t complain–I get to work on how to market our cookbook and beverage books to the captive audience of people that like utilizing them, and hopefully to some folks that may be intimidated but want to learn how to bake a rustic fruit tart or muddle the perfect mojito.

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Studious in the Chronicle Books archive room…

By blogging on our site I’m hoping to share some ‘inside’ information with you on our amazingly delectable, highly visual, and really beautiful cookbooks. I also plan on giving plenty of ‘coming soon’ scoop on what’s ahead and exciting on our future publishing lists, along with details of my constant culinary exploits throughout San Francisco and from my travels. I hope you are compelled to ask me questions, and that you share your impressions about our food and beverage books. Most importantly, if you know of a new chocolate maker in your ‘hood that I need to scope out I insist you let me know–I am a living and breathing chocolate-obsessed man on a mission to explore all the best chocos (dark only please) out there!

Peter Perez
Sr Marketing Manager | Food & Wine

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My chocolate wrapper wall at work

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10 Comments

  • zoe May 29, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Hi Peter,

    Can you steer me towards your favorite local chocolates? What do you think of Scharffen Berger?

    Thanks,

    Zoe

    Reply

  • lizelle May 29, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    how do i get a job like yours? i really like charles chocolates (emeryville/sf) and michael mischler(oakland).

    Reply

  • Jamie May 29, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Nice job there… What are the book trends for food these days? I’d like to see more about responsible or sustainable food, by great chefs…

    Reply

  • Peter Perez May 30, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Hi Zoe,

    My favorite San Francisco based chocolatiers are not terribly surprising:

    Guittard (their single varietal chocolates are excellent, especially the Madagascar Ambanja 65% cacao)

    Michael Mischer (the spicy mango, as well as the slivered almond bars are so good–and his shop is very cool over in Oakland)

    Michael Recchiuti (he is a confectionary master–in my opinion on par with La Maison du Chocolat in Paris!–he can do no wrong, and does no wrong with interesting flavor combinations)

    Scharffen Berger makes wonderful chocolate for baking (which I like to do) more than eating ‘straight up’ in my opinion, though their Kumasi Sambirano bar (which was supposed to be a limited edition bar–it came out last year and it’s still around) has an incredible flavor. I haven’t seen any major transformation in their product’s integrity post- Hershey’s purchasing them. One small change–I was very very sad to see the limited production Sharffen Berger confections go away–they were quite good. If you’ve been to the San Francisco Ferry Plaza in recent times you’ll see that they have been replaced with Joseph Schmidt truffle ‘bombs’ (since Schmidt is owned by Artisan Confections, i.e. Hershey’s, as well), which is not a happy thing…

    Reply

  • Peter Perez May 30, 2007 at 10:43 am

    Hi Lizelle,

    I’ve been involved in the worlds of corporate specialty retailing, and specifically book purchasing and publishing, for over fifteen years–that’s how!
    ;)

    Charles Chocolates are great–I’m excited about the cafe they’re opening in front of their factory in Emeryville (which is a block from where I live–how lucky am I?!).

    Reply

  • Peter Perez May 30, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Hi Jamie,

    Thanks…

    The biggest cookbook trends of the moment are not surprising–you’ll see them when you walk into your local bookseller: quick and easy food preparation, cooking with lots of shortcuts for weekday meals, ones that deal with the latest and greatest ‘new’ dietary regimen, ones that tie into a tv network celebrity’s cooking show, and of course ones that Chronicle is very well known for–books that deal with a single subject (ingredient or technique, like our recent titles ‘Coffee Cakes’ and the forthcoming ‘The New Whole Grains Cookbook’).

    Issues of sustainability, food quality/nutrition value, and corporate responsibility (i.e. non-chemically treated) when farming on a mass scale are of course the most important subjects being addressed right now in the world of food–in the news daily, and specifically in the many bestselling books by authors such as Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle. General cookbook publishing, THANKFULLY, is finally catching up to this trend. Chronicle has been ahead of the curve with these books published over recent years–’The Pleasures of Slow Food’ by Corby Kummer, ‘The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market Cookbook’ by Peggy Knickerbocker and Christopher Hersheimer, ‘Fields of Plenty’ by Michael Abelman, and ‘Fresh from the Farmers’ Market by Janet Fletcher; in 2008 we’ll have a newly revised reissue of a book by Jesse Ziff Cool about cooking organic so stay tuned for more about that in the coming months!

    Reply

  • Jim June 1, 2007 at 8:43 am

    Peter –

    Your “chocolate wrapper wall” is very impressive! I only spotted one wrapper from Zotter, however (their Coffee bar, if I’m not mistaken). I’ve only found Zotter bars in Boston; where did you find yours? If you’re interested in “sweet/savory” combinations, you should try their Celery/Port/Truffle bar, or Cranberry-Thyme. (www.zotter.at)

    I’ve increasingly noticed intriguing sweet/savory combinations on restaurant dessert menus and in the food press. Does Chronicle have anything in the pipeline for those of us interested in producing these kinds of desserts? Thanks.

    Reply

  • Peter Perez June 6, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Jim,

    I’ve had a bunch of Zotter bars actually…yup, the Kaffee is the one I’ve got on my wall–you can find their fascinating chocolates at a bunch of places here in San Francisco (including the amazing Fog City News: http://www.fogcitynews.com/chocolate.html). I am a huge huge fan of sweet/salty/spicy combinations with chocolate–tho a few Zotter ones have been a bit ‘outr√©’ for even me (not really into cheese in my chocolate!).

    We have discussed proposals about ‘sweet savory’ baking a number of times, but none have come our way yet that knocked our sweet tooths out…

    Reply

  • Laurie Troyer July 13, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    My favorite Zotter bar is the one with pork cracklings, which I got at Fog City News a while back. I’ve been told – though it sounds like a strange myth – that in German Christmas markets you can get chocolate dipped slabs of crispy pork.

    Ditto on the Guittard Madagascar bar, it’s really wonderful. I was never a fan of Scharffenberger bars either until I tasted their 2 oz. semi-sweet bar, which is really tasty.

    Reply

  • Peter Perez July 17, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Laurie,

    Speaking of pork and chocolate, I tried the just-being-released brand new bar from Vosges at the Fancy Food Show in New York last week–it is PHENOMENAL!:
    http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/product/bacon_exotic_candy_bar/exotic_candy_bars

    Reply

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