Picks and Pans Review: Cocolat

updated 12/10/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/10/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Alice Medrich

The glossy pages and lip-smacking photos in this sophisticated collection of "designer desserts" all but eclipse the book's genuine value: This is a four-star guide to the fundamentals of baking with chocolate. Medrich. who owns Cocolat, a string of West Coast confectioneries understands just what the beginner needs to know to turn out European-inspired delectables. Before tackling, say, the fancy Genoise of Grand Marnier, take time to read the end chapters, which are packed with instructions. The illustrations are explicit and the directions often complex, but Medrich's you-can-do-it gusto will buoy you right up to the moment you serve that eye-popping Buche de Noel. (Warner, $35)

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