Looking for a truly gourmet cookbook for special occasions.
I own about 200 cb's but I don't consider any of them truly gourmet. I hope to find a cb that features recipes such as you would find in the finest European and American restaurants. From classic style places to the chic, modern places. The kinds of restaurants that the prices make your nose bleed and you find yourself remembering the meal 20 years later.
Sunday Suppers at Lucques would be my suggestion. It was COTM so you could check out the threads - lots of rave reviews for many of the recipes.
Most obvious, Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire, the ur-source for classical cuisine. Or his Ma Cuisine, a little more practical for home use.
The French Laundary Cookbook? I would guess that would suffice. Just received my copies of Ad Hoc at Home and Andy Ricker's Pok Pok cookbook yesterday.
"Recipes from Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons" - by Michelin 2* chef Raymond Blanc. A suitable coming-together of Blanc's French background and his cooking in Britain throughout his career.
We had lunch at the Manoir last year - difficult to know if we were eating French or British dishes but that's very much Blanc's style. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/863275
Just saw a copy of Charlie Trotter's cookbook in a thriftshop, didn't buy it for just the reason you state you're looking for a cookbook! Recipes too complex and ingredients slightly too exotic for this home cook. But the photographs were gorgeous.
Then there is Modernist Cuisine and Alinea, both on the molecular gastronomy side - not sure if I'd call that truly gourmet/elegant, but it certainly qualifies if the cost and quality of ingredients and equipment are a factor in your search. I second another's recommendation of The French Laundry cookbook.