Bon Appetit! Travels through France with Knife, Fork and Corkscrew Hardcover – 23 Aug 2001
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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)
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Top Customer Reviews
Bon Appetit does not pretend to be an exhaustive guide to all things French and food-oriented but it does present us with a candid snapshot of a nation enjoying its culinary riches; in every chapter there seem to be colourful locals who are prepared to humour this naive Englishman and explain in painstaking detail why it is not recommended to eat wild snails or how to be a champion cheese eater. Mayle, like Paul Theroux, seems to attach himself magnetically to these characters and, at times, it becomes a little tiresome, cliched almost when another friendly local clears his throat in an attempt to educate our author. That said, Bon Appetit is a slickly written and informative introduction to the pros and cons of French cuisine. It will make you laugh, it will make you salivate and it will make you look twice at those little shelled molluscs that seem intent on devouring your entire garden every night. Good eating!
While British chefs are probably known better for the swearing than their food, their French counterparts are widely viewed as artists. Having spent his early years in post-war England, Peter had come to view food solely as fuel - and certainly not as something you could seriously enjoy. It was a business trip to France, guarding the managerial briefcase, that opened his eyes - a trip that is recalled in the book's opening chapter. His boss, Mr Jenkins, proves to be the stereotypical Englishman - he doesn't have a good word to say about the French, makes no attempt to speak "their lingo" and advises young Peter that, should any further explanations be required, shouting is the best course of action. While there are some who relate very well to Mr Jenkins, Peter isn't one of them : he credits that trip with the loss of his gastronomic virginity, and - if this book in anything to go by - it became the launchpad to a love affair with French cooking.
Peter travels the length and breadth of the country, but doesn't restrict himself to the cafes and restaurants. By the looks of it, there must be any number of food-related festivals. There's a trip to Richerenches for the `Messe des Truffes' - which goes to show you, I guess, just how religious some people are about what they eat. Interestingly, Richerenches started life as a fort built by the Knights Templar.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
always love reading peter mayles stories, they never disappointPublished 12 months ago by mrs c weedon
This book was given to me and came highly recommended. I have bought several as I keep passing it on to friends. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Christine R.