This 900 page tome is an eductional and scientific tour-de-force. It is also of absolutely no use to the home cook, professional pastry chef, or even confectioner. So, this book gets the lowest rating possible.
This book has achieved something of a legendary reputation; virtually every chocolate cookbook lists this book in a bibliography. After reading this book, this hard to understand. It is a college level textbook covering food science, food technology, and industrial manufacturing. If you are a prospective food technologist, this book is a must have. For the rest of us, forget it.
The book is written with the British chocolate and confectionery industries in mind; this is not a problem except when it comes to the anecdotal stories of manufacturing and retail companies, and such things as ?brown rat? instead of Norway rat. Some of the chapters (cocoa butter, sugar, confectionery fats, pseudo-chocolate) are very interesting, but, sadly, of little practical value. The book would be a more useful reference if the sub-headings in each chapter were listed; as is, the table of contents lists only the chapter title, which is a problem since some of the chapters are over 100 pages long. Each chapter is a more or less independent monograph on a particular subject. The main strength of this book is in having so many such monographs all in one place. Some of the more editorial portions of the book tend to be slightly na?ve, such as the chapter on nutrition. Few companies are large enough to have a staff food chemist, a staff entomologist, and a staff psychologist on the regular payroll. There are some old, interesting, rare, and valuable out-of-print confectionery books listed in the bibliography in the appendices that are worth hunting for.
I did pick a few interesting tidbits, however. Cream centers that are dipped in chocolate while still warm causes small cracks in the chocolate, and the filling leaks out. The sugar in Lyle's Golden Syrup is partially inverted, which means that, from a confectionery point of view, it is similar to corn syrup and honey. The procedure for dissolving egg albumen is soaking for 24 hours in a cool place, and sieving; most procedures call for just soaking for one hour before use.
Part 1 is 200 pages, and covers the industrial processing of cocoa beans into cocoa and chocolate. Part 2 is 300 pages, and has nothing to do with chocolate. It covers food stuffs other than chocolate that are commonly used in confectionery processes. The material in this section is easily available from standard texts on food science. Part 3 is 200 pages and covers pest control, packaging, QC, nutrition, and R&D. The last 100 pages cover bibliography, index, and some laboratory tests that are peculiar to chocolate.
Of particular interest in Part 3 is Chapter 20 which focuses on the physical properties of chocolate. In a short (15 page) but fascinating section, it lists the causes of fat bloom: poor tempering, cooling too fast and covering cold centers, butter and milk fats in the centers of chocolate coated candy, warm storage temperatures, fats not compatible with cocoa butter mixed into the chocolate, and finger prints. This section then goes on to review several articles on bloom, and concludes that the causes are subject to debate and disagreement. It also has a rare and brief (2 page) section on sugar bloom, which I have never seen. The rest of this chapter covers material with no particular practical relevance.