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Cookbooks of the year 2016 - the NutriCulinary best list

This time everything is a little different with my traditional cookbook best list at the end of the year, for the first time there is no top ten, but “only” eight cookbook awards. Were there so few outstanding cookbooks in 2016? Not at all. Fortunately, the quality standards of many publishers have continued to grow, in the cookbook area you understand that you can only remain unrivaled and successful if you make beautiful, appealing and special books. For me it was precisely the sheer number of good cookbooks that gave me the idea this year to design the annual review differently and to present those cookbooks that were of particular relevance for me this year, took up a new topic, deepened, Giving and giving impulses. Books that inspire in a special way, books with which publishers bravely took a risk here and there, books that were particularly beautifully decorated and carefully prepared.

What was noticeable here (and I only noticed it when I had taken all the books off the shelf): Switzerland is clearly represented, with two Swiss publishers, the AT Verlag alone is represented with an incredible four books in the 2016 best list! Also appear: a very special cook and landlady from Zurich and a Swiss master chef from New York. What does that tell us about the cookbook landscape in Switzerland, about our neighbors? It is up to you to answer that.

There are many good cookbook portals and cookbook blogs that diligently present the best cookbooks all year round. I myself choose a “cookbook of the month” on Nordwestradio / Radio Bremen every first Friday of the month. And that is exactly why this year there is no top ten but rather an essence of good and important books that further develop culinary art, that are suitable for becoming timeless classics - the greatest compliment for a cookbook.

Cookbook of the year: Leafe to Root - Eating vegetables from leaf to root AT Verlag

Photographer Sylvan Müller and the Swiss team of authors Esther Kern (text) and Pascal Haag (recipes) show and explain in “Leafe to Root - Eating Vegetables from Leaf to Root” the seasonal peculiarities and changes in plants and the associated added value in the Cuisine, from the root tip to the leaves, from the seeds to the fruit. The authors were in lively exchange with numerous experts, farmers and cooks, and this book should contain many new ideas and insights. It's about outdated nutritional taboos, about a new appreciation of special vegetable parts, about the passing on of craft techniques and culinary-cultural knowledge. A splendid volume with a comprehensive compendium in which all edible parts of 50 fruits and vegetables as well as their possible uses are presented and described. The purchase is worthwhile for this alone. This book belongs in every sophisticated cookbook library and should be in frequent use there. Pascal Haag developed 70 creative, appetizing recipes with new and unusual vegetable uses and creations. The delicate photography is as elegantly reduced as it is lovingly designed (styling: Natascha Sanwald), photographer Sylvan Müller also approaches the subject and its protagonists in large-format portraits and documentary images. A masterful and future-oriented hard work, thought out and worked out down to the smallest detail - for me the opulent volume from AT Verlag is the cookbook of the year 2016.

Wood Food - Cooking with wood, fire, smoke, tar and coal AT Verlag

When I saw the pictures from the Ekstedt restaurant in Stockholm on the program “Kitchen Impossible”, I was electrified, to put it mildly: Niklas Ekstedt cooks exclusively on fire, works with different climate zones, works with smoke and embers - this creates completely new flavors and consistencies . At the same time, the original form of cooking, the "digestion" of food through fire, has been rethought as an innovative, future-oriented cooking technique. An approach that leaves behind the masculine garden grill and gives back its dignity to cooking on fire, also thinks grilling itself further. The Swiss Valentin Diem is now presenting one of the first cookery and knowledge books on the subject, outstandingly designed by Zelia Zadra and radically reduced, beautifully photographed by Lukas Lienhard. It is about cooking with wood, about spices, lighting, controlling fire and embers, direct and indirect heat. It's about smoking techniques, hot smoking and cold smoking, about original spices, pickling, drying, about edible woods. Everything is explained in detail and in detail. From a culinary point of view, everything is of the highest quality, there is lentils with liquorice and charred lemon, Swiss stone pine sausage, pikeperch on the board, lamb hearts with carrot syrup and fennel blossoms, oysters from the embers, coal butter, hot smoked char with beeswax Beurre Blanc - and last but not least the cocktails by Natalie Leinweber and Daniel Hürst, Betula Fumi made from birch and tequila, or Douglas made from rum, coconut milk and charred pine needles. New worlds. I hope and suspect that this book will occupy and inspire me for a long time to come.

Simple variety AT Verlag

Mindfulness is such a widely used word these days, as is sustainability and simplicity. Behind this is a longing that results from confusing times and that has its justification. Maurice Maggi, photographer Juliette Chrétien and illustrator Mira Gisler have turned it into a cookbook based on ten basic products: potatoes, eggs, onions, pork, milk, apples, cabbage, lemon, fish and nuts. Many basic recipes with a twist can be found in the book, feasible everyday cooking with dangling. In addition, recipes for canning, preservation, for further use, from the Swiss author and recipe developer. The essence of this cookbook, beyond the recipes and stories, is its already palpable beauty, with grippy paper and linen cover, plus the grandiose mixture of very different photography styles and the delicate yet powerful illustrations. One of the most beautiful cookbooks of the year.

Fermenting is easy, homemade Umschau Verlag

I still avoid fermenting a little, this big trend topic that is so much more than a trend that has always been preservation and culture technology, and the rediscovery of which opens the kitchen door to new worlds of taste. My colleague Cathrin Brandes aptly calls it “a great culinary adventure” and, as a cabbage bride, has been dealing with fermentation technology for years, giving workshops and giving lectures. Fortunately, she has now published her collected knowledge between two book covers and has worked through the complex topic in an easily accessible and successful manner. Enjoyment instead of biochemical lessons, but everything is explained, but above all: Fermented! It starts with cabbage, cabbage & various kimchi, step by step and in variation. We learn how delicious preserves can taste and how easy it is too! There are great sauces, from homemade sriracha to chimichurri and homemade mustard, the production of vinegars, shrubs (vinegar-based fruit syrup), kombucha, cheese and yogurt is explained. And of course there is also baking, pickling and curing - a culinary handicraft book, the finest kitchen DIY with many guests: Jörg Fostera and Hendrik Haase from Kumpel & Keule were in the kitchen with Cathrin (for sausage and curing), baker Alfredo Sironi from the market hall Neun and Lauren Lee, Miss Kimchi and Olaf Schnelle from Schnelles Grünzeug collaborated on the book, which Florian Bolk photographed as inviting as it is fresh and clear. An indispensable reference work for curious culinary enthusiasts.

Bitter - the forgotten taste AT Verlag

The same applies to Manuela Rüther's cookbook “Bitter-der vergierter Taste”, I am personally very happy about the rediscovery of bitter, an important culinary aspect in a world in which we are increasingly threatened to be infantilized by sweetness. Manuela Rüther, cook, author and photographer in person, has written, developed and photographed a creative, highly inspiring cookbook on the subject - with an exciting part of knowledge and a whole world of recipes, regionally thought and beautifully photographed. Chapeau and thanks! I also talked about the book on Nordwestradio / Radio Bremen and reveal my favorite recipes:

USA Vegetarian Christian Brandstätter Verlag

Oliver Trific and I, we are friends, more than that, also related by choice (godfather / best man) and we have known and valued each other for 20 years, at that time we met in the editorial office of eat Drink for the first time, we shared an office and the curiosity about everything culinary. Today Oliver is a successful restaurateur and chef in his own restaurant Trific, which he has been running for many years with his wife Tanja Trific. Oliver is, I may now say, an exceptional chef, stylish in his creation, he turns the simple into something special, very calm, always in perfection and solely for the benefit of his guests. Now he has written and developed his first cookbook and it would be easy to assume that I have a certain partiality. Even worse. USA Vegetarian was Oliver's idea, which in turn I brought to Christian Brandstätter Verlag and the editor of the successful Vegetarian Country Kitchen series, Katharina Seiser