by Michel Roth

Flammarion, $60.00, 255 pages

For foodies, food history buffs, or Francophiles, Ritz Paris: Haute Cuisine takes the cake. This over-sized padded-cover book is a celebration of the grand culinary tradition of the Ritz Paris. It recounts in great detail the fascinating histories of Cesar Ritz, Auguste Escoffier and Michel Roth. Ritz was one of history’s greatest hoteliers and created the world-renowned restaurant L’Espadon with the help of famed chef Escoffier. Roth is now at the helm of this Michelin two-star restaurant. Sixty of Roth’s recipes are included under the chapter headings of Appetizers, Shellfish, Meat and Poultry, Game, Desserts and the Classics.

For adventurist sorts who are fearless when faced with making mousseline, nettle coulis, or lemon-thyme foam, and have access to ingredients such as tetragonia (New Zealand spinach) and cazette flowers, then this is also a cookbook. Its beautifully photographed food presentations are awe-inspiring and at times beguiling: Is that really macaroni stuffed with black truffles, sliced into disks, molded inside of an egg, steamed, then gently prodded out to sit upright like some polka-dotted sea creature? This is not a cookbook for your average home cook, but it is a feast for the eyes and fodder for dreams.

Diane Prokop