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Peter Mayle
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Mayle continues to milk (maybe not quite le mot juste considering the litres of wine consumed in the name of research) his Francophile love affair in this gastronomic tour de France. Using the numerous food and wine fairs and f tes which take place throughout the year across France as his pegs, Mayle attends a church service to give thanks for the "breathtakingly expensive" black truffle, savours frogs legs to become a member of the Confrerie des Tastes Cuisses de Grenouilles de Vittel, is inducted in the mysteries of preparing and eating snails at a Foire aux Escargots where he consumes several dozen despite learning that a snail's natural diet consists of a toxic salad of deadly nightshade, poisonous mushroom and hemlock, and celebrates the elite Bresse chickens at Les Glorieuses in Bourg-en-Bresse. And even when he is reluctantly persuaded to check into a health spa, he is fed a diet of "duck, lamb, guinea fowl, pate, cheese, butter, eggs, a little foie gras, potato soup and huge croissants for breakfast". All healthily cooked, of course, the Cuisine Minceur method. As with his Provence books, encounters and conversations with the locals provide fertile copy, and there is much here for the foodie, wine buff and Francophile. But perhaps it doesn't have quite the same broad-ranging appeal of A Year in Provence to emulate that book's million-selling status.'I suppose I must have possessed taste buds in my youth,' says Peter Mayle, 'but they were left undisturbed.' This is part of his prelude to a delightful account of a lifetime's culinary journey including some of the most unusual and esoteric eating places in France. It wasn't until he was obliged to accompany his boss to Paris, aged only 19, that he was introduced to food as it should be, rather than that found in the 'gastronomic wilderness' of post-war England. Here he describes that eye-opening trip and many others he has made since. His gastronomic experiences are varied and beautifully told. On one occasion he visits Richerenches and attends a truffle mass, a sacred event where thanks are given for the black truffle. Every churchgoer is expected to bring a truffle, to be auctioned and the proceeds given to charity. Another ceremonial, if not sacred, event is the Foire au Boudin at Mortagne au Perche near the lace town of Alencon, held in honour of boudin noir, a blood sausage made with pork and served on a bed of sliced cooked apples. Mayle decides to attend a more modest fair, in Monthureux, north of Dijon, where the attraction is a man who was said to be able to eat a metre and a half of boudin in 15 minutes. But he doesn't get there, driving to the wrong Monthureux by mistake - apparently there are at least three. Instead, he goes to Vittel in the Vosges area to sample the frogs. After the frogs he travels to Martigny-les-Bains for the snail fair, the Foire aux Escargots. Then, just south of St Tropez, there is Club 55 - a restaurant which has grown from a hut selling grilled sardines to one patronized by the rich and famous. There follows a visit to a cheese fair at Livarot in Normandy, a marathon course with a marquee offering, among other things, 15,000 oysters, 400 kg of entrecote steak and 160 kg of cheese, a wine auction in Burgundy, a tour of restaurants listed in the Michelin guide and a spa restaurant in Eugenie les Bains. Mayle's Provence trilogy has sold millions of copies worldwide. This witty, superbly observed account of French cuisine in all its manifestations deserves to do just as well.
Editora Sphere
ISBN-13 075153269X
ISBN 9780751532692
Edição 1 / 2008
Idioma Inglês
Páginas 184
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