Yesterday, two books came: Theo Chocolate: Recipes & Sweet Secrets from Seattle’s Favorite Chocolate Maker and Blaine Wetzel and Joe Ray’s Sea and Smoke: Flavors from the Untamed Pacific Northwest. I looked at the cover of these two advance copies and thought, “Boy! Could they be any more different!?” … Then, as I considered this, I realized these two books have more in common than I first thought.
ONE // They’re both from well-known Pacific Northwest locations, one a Seattle-based chocolatier the other a Lummi Island destination restaurant, The Willows Inn. This makes any given page feel very familiar and inviting to a PNW gal like me. I recognize names, areas, ingredients … I love seeing the PNW as inspiration for these amazing looking cookbooks.
TWO // Speaking of amazing to look at, both of these cookbooks also share a creative voice … they’re both shot by Seattle-based photographer Charity Burggraaf.
THREE // Both make a point, if not a mantra, to use ingredients in their purest form. Theo focuses on organic fair-trade cocoa that it produces from bean to bar, sourcing their beans themselves, and keeping their bars free of soy lecithin, a common ingredient used by chocolatiers. Sea and Smoke uses what is at hand, in season, possibly forged, and all from the Pacific Northwest, if not their restaurant’s own back yard.
FOUR // Both are very hands on throughout the entire creation process, and It shows. Not just in the end result, but also through the passionate voice behind each cookbook.
FIVE // Both promise to represent a very specific voice. These are not only cookbooks, but a documentation of journey, of process and passion. I’m sure that as I dig in, I’ll find both carry recipes that are challenging in their own ways — all inventive and all delicious.
Looking forward to reading and cooking from both of these! Theo Chocolate is available for pre-order from Amazon.com and is set to release September 22. Sea and Smoke is also available for pre-order on Amazon.com, but will release a little later this fall on October 27.
Need a local fix right now?
For baking delicious treats try: Leslie Mackie’s Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook: Favorite Breads, Pastries, Sweets & Savories
For locally inspired cuisine that also focuses on the quality ingredient carefully sourced, check out: Lark — Cooking Against the Grain