the appetizer:

Chocolate for Breakfast: Entertaining Menus to Start the Day with a Celebration From Napa Valley's Oak Knoll Inn by Barbara Passino, includes recipes like Chocolate Omelet with Blueberries in a Pinot Noir Sauce; Tajine of Kefta and Eggs; and Chocolate Banana Strudel.

Cookbook Profile

Chocolate for Breakfast
Entertaining Menus to Start the Day
with a Celebration From Napa Valley's Oak Knoll Inn

by Barbara Passino


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.

"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:

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.

About the Author

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.

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. 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. The secluded setting of Oak Knoll Inn belies the wonderful fact that some of Napa's best known wineries and renowned restaurants are nearby.


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This page created April 2009