Culture

Three hedonistic books to transform your coffee table

Wine, women and world class deserts. These are a feast for the eyes

Every smart-living man needs a serious coffee table book, or two. From Giacobetti’s provocative nudes to Salvador Dali’s surrealist guide to wine, these hedonistic titles are just the thing for a page-turning interior-design lift.

Giacobetti by Jérôme Neutres

Between the 1960s and the 1980s, photographer Francis Giacobetti reinvented the nude as an art form. In this new book by Assouline, Jérôme Neutres, curator and director of the Musée de Luxembourg, explores how Giacobetti fundamentally changed nude photography care of his experiments with light and shade, technique and form.

The principal photographer for infamous French magazine Lui, Giacobetti brought newfound drama, a sense of fantasy and creativity to nude photography. Interestingly, he barred any retouching of his photos, meaning the light, colour and silhouettes in his work are completely original, as he shot them. With over 200 pictures, this is certainly a feast for the eyes.

$80, shop now

The Wines of Gala by Salvador Dalí

According to Dalí, ‘a real connoisseur does not drink wine but tastes of its secrets.’ Forty years on from when it was first published in 1978, Taschen has reissued Dalí’s comprehensive – and eccentric – guide to wine. Filled with 140 artworks created by Dalí, including texts, photos, paintings and illustrations, the book is a surrealist work of art that celebrates wine as a decadent art form.

As the name suggests, it was chiefly inspired by Dalí’s wife and collaborator, Gala, and acts as a follow-up to Les Dîners de Gala, the artist’s cookbook counterpart. In it, Dalí sets out to categorise wines ‘according to the sensations they create in our very depths.’ Through metrics like weight, colour and production technique, wines are grouped into tantalising categories like ‘Wines of Frivolity, ‘Wines of Joy’ and ‘Wines of Sensuality’. There’s also a detailed survey of the most significant vineyards of France and the wider world, as well as ‘Advice to the Wine-Loving Gourmet’. Whether or not it helps you to choose your next bottle, Dalí’s delight in the subject is hard to resist.

£50, shop now 

Room For Dessert by Will Goldfarb

Recipe books are ten a penny these days. What makes Will Goldfarb’s contribution out is his sheer, unadulterated love for the most decadent desserts imaginable, created with no shortcuts or dilution of his dexterous technique. An unashamedly passionate pastry chef, Room for Dessert tells his story.

The first section of the book describes his training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, three Michelin-starred restaurant elBulli in Spain and with a host of acclaimed chefs all over the world. It then showcases a collection of 40 recipes from his destination dessert restaurant Room4Desert in Bali, each with intricate photos that illustrate Goldfarb’s fantastic creations. The final part, ‘The Lab of Ideas’ explores how and why certain flavours and textures work together, and the importance of creating balance between salty, sour, sweet and bitter, even when it comes to pud. Although the book might not make it to your kitchen – some recipes call for ingredients that require infusing for several days– we guarantee that it’ll make the most stylish addition to your living room.

£39.95, shop now