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Fab five: Sample this book buffet

This year’s crop of cookbooks cover the gamut from local and regionalto vegan and choco-centric. Here are some of my favourites.

This year’s crop of cookbooks cover the gamut from local and regional to vegan and choco-centric. Here are some of my favourites.

Araxi: Seasonal Recipes from the Celebrated Whistler Restaurant
By James Walt

Gordon Ramsey may have just discovered Araxi this past year, but this restaurant has been quietly, and successfully, celebrating all things seasonal and local for over 28 years. An intense focus — not to mention exhaustive information — on Pemberton Valley ingredients is matched with numerous wine paring options for each dish. Dessert recipes come from pastry chef Aaron Heath, a prodigious talent when it comes to the likes of chocolate caramel pots de crème and petit fours.

C Food
By Robert Clark and Harry Kambolis

C Restaurant’s mantra of sustainable seafood and local ingredients is apparent on every page of this large coffee-table-format compendium.

Recipes like steamed Alaskan King Crab legs with candied orange butter and Bayne Sound scallop with coriander grapefruit jelly come with detailed instructions and plating recommendations, to help you create a visual, as well as gustatory, dining experience.

Chocolate for Breakfast
By Barbara Passino

Passino is the owner of the celebrated Oak Knoll Inn in Napa Valley, and a chocolate fiend from her earliest moments. As the title states, this cookbook focuses on the sweet side of life. Not all the recipes use chocolate however — some use caramel. Recipes are divided into cultural regions (Italian chocolate pasta, Moroccan mint-chocolate tea, Pacific Rim two-melon summer soup) and savoury and sweet live side-by-side with simple wine pairings.

Clean Food
By Terry Walters

Prepare yourself for healthy recipes that actually — gasp — taste good. Walters takes a holistic approach in this book, explaining food choices from an environmental, social and health aspect. Innovative alternatives to everyday staples like wheat (think teff, an ancient grain originating in Ethiopia) make treats like chocolate peanut-butter cookies a gluten-free and vegan-friendly option.

Vancouver Cooks 2
Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia

Who says the sequel is never as good as the original? I would argue it can be even better than the original. What else can you expect when you mix 70 of the province’s top chefs (everybody from Vikram Vij and John Bishop to Rob Feenie and Melissa Craig), an internationally-respected wine authority (Sid Cross), and a forward written by Vicky Gabereau? A damn fine sequel, that’s what. Edited by Joan Cross, Jamie Maw and Andrew Morrison, this collection of 100+ recipes highlights the core of what has made Vancouver an international dining destination.

 
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