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Memories of Gascony [Hardcover]

Pierre Koffmann
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2012
As featured in The Times Top 40 Cookbooks of the Year

"Almost every decent chef I can think of learned most of what he knows from Pierre." - Giles Coren, The Times.

"Pierre is one of the world's great, instinctive chefs." - Heston Blumenthal

Pierre Koffmann's Memories of Gascony is the story of how one of the most influential chefs of our time first learned to love food. With recipes and reminiscences from his grandparents' home in rural Gascony, this is an intimate account of school holidays spent on the farm helping his grandfather to harvest and hunt, and learning to treasure seasonality, simplicity and the best ingredients at his grandmother's side.

The finest of Gascony produce is here, with a focus on simplicity. The recipes stand the test of time and speak to the food tastes and trends of today. While you read the charming stories of everyday life on the farm, you'll devour the cuisine as you go along - dandelion salad with bacon and poached egg, grilled chicken with shallots and vinaigrette, and greengages in armagnac in Spring; chicken liver pate with capers, Bayonne ham tart with garlic, oeufs a la neige in Summer; roast hare with mustard and beetroot, salt cod cassoulet and quince jelly in Autumn; and fried eggs with foie gras, potato and bacon pie and tarte aux pruneaux in Winter.

This is a book to learn, love and live from.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mitchell Beazley (1 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845337093
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845337094
  • Product Dimensions: 25.3 x 19.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'Pierre is one of the world's great, instinctive chefs, with a rare ability to combine gutsiness and refinement in his cooking.' - Heston Blumenthal

'Pierre Koffmann is a legend.' - Daniel Boulud

'Pierre Koffmann is a giant of the kitchen, and his shadow looms larger than anyone else's. Almost every decent chef I can think of learned most of what he knows from Pierre.' - Giles Coren, The Times

'Pierre Koffmann has a unique talent and I have always admired how he cooks from the heart.' - Tom Kitchin

'A great chef who has never forgotten his roots.' - Bill Knott, Financial Times

'Pierre the Bear, as he is known to me, and to the many other chefs who have been lucky enough to work in a kitchen under his tutelage, is an extraordinarily talented man.' - Gordon Ramsay

'If you do not own a copy of Pierre Koffmann s glorious Memories of Gascony your cookbook collection is not complete. Brilliant to read; even better to cook from.' - Jay Rayner, Observer

'Pierre Koffmann is one of the great teachers of cuisine. His work is a real lesson in dedication and care for all aspiring young chefs like myself.' - René Redzepi

'Such an inspiration.' - Rosemary Shrager

'Food doesn t have to be reinvented, to be done differently all the time; it just has to be done right. And no one does it more right than Pierre.' - Tony Turnbull, The Times

'One of the purest of purest chefs.' - Albert Roux

'Pierre is a genius, an authentic and pure Gascon.' - Michel Roux Sr

'No words can describe how delicious his food is. He is the Chef s Chef.' - Michel Roux Jr

--About Pierre Koffmann

About the Author

Pierre Koffmann has been at the heart of fine cuisine in Britain for over 40 years. He first achieved recognition working for the Roux Brothers. Between 1977 and 2004 his restaurant La Tante Claire set new standards for cooking while serving as an academy for many of today's culinary superstars and winning 3 Michelin stars. Between them his various proteges, from Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay to Tom Kitchin and Marcus Wareing, now boast over 20 Michelin stars of their own. He retired in 2003, but following a sell-out of his critically hailed pop-up at Selfridges in 2009, he's returned to the kitchen once more. His acclaimed new restaurant, Koffmann's at The Berkeley, serves classic provincial French cooking - the food that first inspired him to become a chef.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Walk Down Memory Lane 2 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is much more than your average cook book, as Pierre Koffman takes you with him on a journey through his early life to meet his family in Gascony. The family pictures are charming even down to a picture of Pierre, himself, as a baby.

The author takes you through the seasons and the changing Gascony countryside. His memories come out as little gems and the narrative is so well written that you can almost feel that you are there. This is a rare talent in a chef and a cookery writer.

The recipes follow the seasons and the ingredients as they become available at different times of the year. Hence the book is divided into Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. There is an English translation for all the recipes with French names which is very helpful - although I am not sure I would confess to my guests that I was serving them Rats Tail Fritters!

The ingredients are well set out, the methodology is quite clear and there is an indication of how many people the dish would be expected to serve. There are some pictures of finished dishes, but by no means all of them and overall the book is not as lavishly illustrated as many of the genre.

This is a lovely book and really so much more interesting than your average cook book. It is more like a walk down memory lane on a path that led to the author becoming a master chef. This would make a lovely present for anyone who knows and loves the Gascony region.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a cook book 31 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Pierre Koffman is described by Michel Roux as `the Chef's Chef' and also
as a `genius, an authentic and pure Gascon.'

The book is attractively presented with a map of the region on the inside cover
The type of paper is quite thick and the torn edges which give it a unique
earthy feel.

The narrative is focused on the seasons in this part of France and
laced with fabulous black and white photographs from the chef's
childhood, so it is both a story and a recipe book.

The interplay between the seasonal narrative and corresponding collection
of recipes is inspiring in its own right. You do sense without a doubt that
this is cooking on another plane.

Be warned though we are talking very gutsy French cooking, and the
recipes include a generous amount of fats be it duck fat, goose fat,
butter or cream but the food is remarkable, no question about its
appeal and the traditional French desserts miraculous.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In purely practical terms this a fairly short memoir interspersed with recipes, beautiful photography of the food and a few old, tiny, French-captioned, family snaps of "Mes grandes-parents maternals" and "Service militaire a Toulon." Divided into the four seasons, with each season begins with a few, beautifully written and engrossing, pages detailing something of Koffmann's childhood memories, things his grandparents did and reminisces about the region, village or even the double chiming church clock. This is world made beautiful by varied imperfections, made special by ordinariness and magical by nature. I have never been what you might call a Francophile but reading this has made me want to visit Gascony and see a little of what Koffmann saw, it sounds too good to miss

Recipe names are given first (and largest) in French then in English underneath, the bilingual titles help maintain the feel of the book without making it overly confusing to read. There are a lot of recipes in here from pickles, pates and omelettes to stews, aperitifs and tarts, but their being arranged by season can make it hard to find just what you're looking for, though the excellent (and only half in French so you can find things regardless of which language you know the name in) index allows the book to be useable. While varied ingredients and methods employed appear entirely traditional with a lot of game, wine, onions, pork and other things you might expect a Gascony farm house to have access too so don't be expecting pasta, chili or avocado and don't be surprised to discover new uses for cabbage and offal. Be aware that some recipes require ingredients or kit, such as the blood of four freshly killed chickens, that you might struggle to obtain on the high street.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appealing 1 Jan 2013
By Benjamin TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Renowned chef Pierre Koffmann presents a very personal cookbook. Centered around his childhood in France where he grew up on a farm with parents and grandparents, Koffmann recalls this period and intersperses it with noteworthy food he enjoyed from this time. The result is a collection of good honest recipes based on the available produce from the farm; duck and chicken seem to predominate along with robust vegetables, with duck or goose fat frequently included in the list of ingredients.

This is a well produced book, printed on heavy stock and with the rough page edges lending a hand-made paper feel to it. Many, but far from all, of the recipes are illustrated in full-page full-colour photographs, not always on the same page as the recipes itself.

A very appealing cookbook, this is very much food for home cooking and enjoyment and not fancy restaurant recipes adapted for the domestic kitchen.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good book to learn classics
The book shows different seasonal ideas and gascony classic recipes. Pierre Koffmann shares some stories with you, as it turns from season to season.
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book
I bought this for my son's birthday as he is a keen cook and loves to stretch his ability. However he is a student and could not afford a lot of the ingredients in the recipes and... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Alison Young
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't travel well.
Some cuisines are best remaining in their region of origin and that is always the way that I have felt about French cookery. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Prof TBun
3.0 out of 5 stars Evocative of life in Gascony, no doubt, but not that useful outside...
Having lived for the best part of six years in France (a year in Alsace and almost 5 in Haute Garonne) I can attest to the culinary joy of gathering ingredients not readily found... Read more
Published 11 months ago by bomble
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Wonderful
It is not that often that a cookbook makes me drool, but Pierre Koffmann's sumptuous Memories of Gascony has just that effect on me. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Nick Flynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Inspirational a "perfect" cookbook
When I ordered this I had no idea who Koffman was, but as I turned the first pages of this very beautifully produced book, I was drawn into a new world of recipes and thinking... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Doug
5.0 out of 5 stars A great memoir with recipes
As a child and young man Pierre Koffmann would spend his holidays at his grandparents' farm in the village of Saint Puy in Gascony. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Eleanor
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book to have
This is far more than a cookbook - it is a loving tribute to a happy childhood spent in a part of the world where food was - and is - a very important part of life. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Buzby
5.0 out of 5 stars Much desired re-print
This is a lovely book, very deservedly in The Times Top 40 Cookbooks of the year. Evokes a lovely sense of Gascony. Not simply recipes, but full of memories. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Pompom
3.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional recipes but unexciting book
I got this assuming it was a recipe book, and I was mistaken. While there are recipes in here, it is mostly the author's thoughts on their life in Gascony. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Dinah93
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