Illuminating Peter Mayle's South of France with a touch of Laura
Esquivel's magic realism, Chocolat is a timeless novel of a
straitlaced village's awakening to joy and sensuality. In tiny Lansquenet,
where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer
Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin
to play havoc with Lenten vows. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a
free gift: Vianne's uncanny perception of its buyer's private discontents
and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch? Soon the parish no
longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a
dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a
Chocolat's every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere. It's a must for anyone who craves an escapist read, and is a bewitching gift for any holiday.
We came on the wind of the carnival. A warm wind for February, laden with the hot greasy scents of frying pancakes and sausages and powdery-sweet waffles cooked on the hot plate right there by the roadside, with the confetti sleeting down collars and cuffs and rolling in the gutters like an idiot antidote to winter. There is a febrile excitement in the crowds that line the narrow main street, necks craning to catch sight of the crêpe-covered char with its trailing ribbons and paper rosettes. Anouk watches, eyes wide, a yellow balloon in one hand and a toy trumpet in the other, from between a shopping basket and a sad brown dog. We have seen carnivals before, she and I; a procession of two hundred and fifty of the decorated chars in Paris last Mardi Gras, a hundred and eighty in New York, two dozen marching bands in Vienna, clowns on stilts, the Grosses Têtes with their lolling papier-mâché heads, drum majorettes ...
If you liked Chocolat, try these:
Written in a lush, lyrical style, infused with the flavors and scents of Middle Eastern food, and spiced with history and fable, Crescent is a sensuous love story and a gripping tale of risk and commitment. The reading guide includes a number of recipes to share with friends and family!
Exuberant and touching, La Cucina is a magical evocation of life's mysterious seasons and the treasures found in each one. It celebrates family, food, passion, and the eternal rapture of romance.
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