Monday, January 12, 2009

Chocolate for Breakfast Cookbook

Chocolate is many things to many people: Chocolate confections wrapped in bright paper are often given as a token of love and appreciation; hot chocolate is the ultimate cold weather comfort; mousse au chocolate signals decadence; and chocolate-covered grasshoppers are an exotic treat. As one of the world’s favorite flavors, chocolate is hardly a secret indulgence but eating it for breakfast often is. Chocolate connoisseur and chef extraordinaire, Barbara Passino, renowned for her sinfully decadent breakfasts served daily at the luxurious Oak Knoll Inn situated in the heart of Napa Valley, California, has brought chocolate to the breakfast table in her new book, Chocolate for Breakfast (The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection; February 2009; hardcover/$40.00; ISBN: 978-1-919939-55-1).

“There is something deliciously naughty about eating dessert first,” says Passino. “When I first came to the Oak Knoll Inn I took a look at breakfast through a winking eye and did what any warm-blooded American does with tradition … tampered with it. Taking Latin, Mediterranean, and Asian influences, combined with the fresh local ingredients found in Northern California, I created menus that start the morning by alerting your sensual arsenal that this will be no ordinary day.”

Chocolate for Breakfast is a sumptuous collection of Barbara’s passion-filled creations, techniques, philosophies and anecdotes, all presented in over 100 easy-to-follow recipes. The 250 food photographs were taken by internationally-renowned photographer, Marc Hoberman, who used only natural light to showcase the cornucopia of ingredients found in each recipe . Menus with a chocolate twist showcase culinary influences from around the world, creating unique meals for that special someone on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, or to make any day special.

Barbara has organized recipes into chapters such as North of Southwest, Asian Persuasion, The French Connection, Morrocan Excursion, Valentine’s Day Decadence, Recipe for a Perfect Night’s Sleep, and All-American, making it simple to find a recipe or menu to fit any mood or occasion. Recipes include:

· Chocolate Tacos with Chile Unrellenos with Jicama Slaw and Black Velvet Beans
· Chocolate Pasta with Sautéed Strawberries
· Chocolate Flan Torta
· Chocolate-filled Gazelle Horns served with Tajine of Eggs Baked with Summer Vegetables
· Chocolate Omelet with Blueberries in a Pinot Noir Sauce
· Poached Apples in Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Cups
· Blood Orange Soup with Chocolate Madeleine Spoons

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, Chocolate for Breakfast has menus guaranteed to make for a sweet day:

· Roses and Chocolate-Chocolate
o Rose Petal Sorbet Served in a Rose
o Chocolate-Chocolate Pancakes

· I Give You My Heart
o Chocolate-Banana Ice Cream Heart with Raspberry Sorbet

· Table for Two
o Chocolate Fondue
o Orange Zest Pound Cake

· Finale: The Proposal
o A Chocolate Box

Barbara has also provided a list of Resources so even those who live in produce-deprived areas can find all of the items needed to create her recipes. So jump on in, the chocolate is warm!


Barbara Passino is the proprietor/chef of Oak Knoll Inn, a luxurious, intimate inn nestled amidst rows of grapevines in Napa Valley, California’s Wine Country. Her decadent breakfasts have become California legend and attract visitors from all over the world. In the midst of her 15 years in the world of finance, Barbara took time to study with master chef Marcella Hazan in Venice. Eager to learn about other cultures through the role of food in daily life, Barbara combined travel with the study of cooking and was inspired to turn her passion into a full-time dream-come-true: Barbara and her husband John bought the Oak Knoll Inn in 1992. All of this culminates in the greatest breakfasts imaginable.


Surrounded by 600 acres of vineyards, slowly drifting hot-air balloons and magnificent sunrises, Oak Knoll Inn is the perfect setting for a slow-paced, life-changing feast that Barbara likes to call breakfast. Guests from around the world return year-after-year to dine on Barbara’s latest culinary creations. Critics have delighted in the Oak Knoll experience, frequently describing it as Napa’s most romantic and luxurious bed and breakfast. Mornings at Oak Knoll start with breakfast that can be enjoyed in front of a crackling fire or out on the sunny deck. Every evening, Oak Knoll hosts a wine and cheese party, often with a visiting winemaker. A refreshing splash in the swimming pool in the morning and a soothing dip in the Jacuzzi at night are the perfect way to start and end the day. And, the secluded setting of Oak Knoll Inn belies the wonderful fact that some of Napa's best known wineries and renowned restaurants are just minutes away.

More information on Barbara Passino and Oak Knoll Inn is available at


Anonymous said...

Fantastic..thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Excellent! I love the concept. I'm ordering a book RIGHT NOW! Thanks for brining this to us...

Anonymous said...

Move over Cocoa Krispies, make room for some white chocolate flan!