The Italian Confectioner; or, Complete Economy of Desserts: Containing the Elements of the Art, According to the Most Modern and Approved Practice. Third Edition, Corrected and Enlarged.

London: William H. Ainsworth, 1827.

Octavo, 276 pages, with two folding plates and a frontispiece portrait of the author. Third edition, corrected and enlarged. The author's full name was William Alexis Jarrin [Guglielmo Alexis]. In early editions, including this one, the name is abbreviated "G.A." Later he anglicized his name, abbreviated as "W.A." "In 1820 Jarrin published this work, The Italian Confectioner, through which he is best known. The book sits within an English tradition of publishing recipes for food and confectionery, but it reveals more about the techniques involved and about the character of the author, than was usual in the genre. Written when confectionery production was on the point of being industrialized through the activities of such contemporaries as Joseph Terry of York, it represented the high point of artisan skills in the craft, which Jarrin believed could not be improved upon. He devoted several chapters to his specialty of making ornaments for the dessert table using various edible and non-edible materials. Other chapters covered more standard ground including recipes for small confections, preserving fruit, and making ices, but with details which throw light on both his own skills and continental practice. He provided instructions on modeling and wood carving (one wooden confectionery mould signed by him has come to light), and evidently possessed artistic talents, for he signed the two engraved plates illustrating confectionery equipment. Proud of his ingenuity as an inventor, Jarrin described inventions and improvements he had devised for making confectionery. The Italian Confectioner was reprinted at least ten times (the last in 1861, after his death), and was updated with new material on several occasions. Earlier editions incorporated small but often telling additions: for example, observations on managing ice-wells and the introduction of new instruments such as the saccharometer. For the 1844 edition he undertook a major reorganization of the material and added many new recipes" (ODNB). Some light foxing to a few pages, otherwise very good, handsomely rebound by Fitterer Bookbinders in brown half-calf, with gilt decoration to the spine.

Price: $1,250.00