You won't find a food stylist in the credits for this cookbook. But there is eye candy, of a different kind.
In Lovely Daze Special Edition Book: ROSE, pastry chef Angela Garcia explores the ingredient rose in dessert recipes paired with drawings and paintings by artist Cristina Rodriguez.
The beautiful collection will be unveiled internationally this weekend at the Tokyo Art Book Fair and will be available for $15 online here in about two weeks. Both Angela and Cristina are of Colombian decent and currently based in Miami.
The confections are whimsical, the stuff of fairy tales and myths, likely to be gobbled up by ethereal forest nymphs and to tempt the mortal sweet tooth. From dark chocolate fondant with rose oil to rose crème brûlée and raspberry, lychee and rose marmalade, one could certainly envision Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette indulging her court - or hairdo! - with these decadent nibbles. Or perhaps Alice in Wonderland may have encountered such singular delicacies at the Mad Hatter's tea party? Left to the imagination, manifestations of the desserts and their appeal are equally enhanced.
Publisher Charwei Tsai, a Taiwanese artist based in New York, completes the picture; her biannual art publication, Lovely Daze, is the inspiration for Angela's local business, the Lovely Daze Dessert Bar. Charwei's sixth issue will release this fall and is themed after Gertrude
Stein's famous verse: "Rose is a rose is a rose is rose."
"Cristina and I were
inspired by this quote to start the project," Angela says of the beginnings of this, her first book. "The rose macaron is my signature dessert. I naturally had an inclination
towards the project, and it was easy to extend this recipe
into other rose-inspired confections."
The friends are a globetrotting bunch. Angela first met Cristina through a mutual acquaintance in Lyon, France - the country's capital of gastronomy where the budding pastry chef was training at "l'Ecole Supérieure des Arts Culinaires de Paul Bocuse." The two reconnected in Rome a year later and spent time traveling
together, but it wasn't until 2005 that they found themselves living in New York and connected with Charwei.
"I was working at Alain
Ducasse's restaurant at the time," Angela recalls. "I would always bring Charwei
desserts. She lucked out, having always romanticized the idea of a dessert chef as a close
Charwei was releasing her first issue of Lovely Daze.
"I think what distinguishes our book from other cookbooks is how Cristina's
drawings create an ambiance of the desserts that is different from an
actual photograph of what the desserts are suppose to look like," she explains. "This
leaves room for the readers to interpret the recipes their own way and
to add their own personality into the making of the pastries. Also, the
close friendships between Angela, Cristina, and I help to give an
intimate and spontaneous feel to the book that would not otherwise be
the same if we were merely working as professional colleagues."
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Cristina, a regular contributor to Lovely Daze,
drew inspiration for the illustrations from different aspects of Angela's recipes, including the
tastes, shapes and textures - even the names at times.
If you can't wait until the book comes out to get your fill of sugar-laced daydreams, Angela's macarons - scrumptious bites of almond cookie and silky buttercream like those you find in the patisseries of Paris - are currently for sale for a buck and change each at Joanna's Marketplace (91 Harbor Dr., Key Biscayne; 305-361-1300,) Le Boudoir Restaurant (169 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-442-0801 and 186 SE 12 Terrace, Brickell; 305-372-2333,) Perricone's Marketplace and Cafe,15 SE 10th St., Brickell; 305-374-9449,) La Boulangerie (328 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne,) and Key Biscayne Farmers Market (91 Harbor Dr., Key Biscayne.) To order directly or inquire about catering and other confections from Lovely Daze Dessert Bar, call 305-484-7105 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.