Peter Mayle, author of the bestselling A Year in Provence
has done it again--but differently. Travelling this time beyond his adopted Provence throughout France, the food and travel writer has produced Bon Appetit!
, a celebration of many of the country's gastronomic joys. Whether pursuing La Foire de Fromages, the annual cheese fair at Livarot; a Burgundian marathon offering runners Médoc refreshment; or a village truffle mass that concludes with a heady dégustation of the newly blessed tuber, Mayle takes his readers in hand and shows all. Wide-eyed yet knowing, ever affable but with a touch of mischief, he's an ideal companion, the best possible narrator of his lively food adventures.
Mayle's gastronomic baptism occurs when, as a 19-year-old, he dines for the first time in France. "At the first mouthful of French bread and French butter," he writes, "my taste buds, dormant until then, went into spasm." The paroxysm leads to serious food-and-wine perambulations--and, finally, to chapters including "The Thigh-Taster of Vitel" (a frog-eating fete), "Slow Food" (snail love in Martigny les Bains) and "The Guided Stomach" (an investigation of the Michelin Guide restaurant inspection) among others. Readers are also present for a debate on the secret of the perfect omelette, a search for the best possible chicken in Bourg-en-Bresse and a visit to a St Tropez restaurant notable for its scantily clad habitués. Those familiar with Mayle's work, and those yet to discover it, are in for a treat. --Arthur Boehm
Peter Mayle's idyllic portrait makes you almost taste the wonderful food and wine, feel the sun and balmy breezes (SUNDAY EXPRESS
Delightfully readable. The style is high comedy and Mayle is bitingly funny about local rural mores. But the jokeyness only partly obscures Mayle's warm enthusiasm for local life and landscape. (SUNDAY TIMES
A gastronomic delight. (SUNDAY TRIBUNE