“Let the food speak where words cannot.”
For renowned French chef Auguste Escoffier, food is life. He changed the face of the dining experience with his famous restaurants at The Savoy and The Ritz. A passionate man, Escoffier was torn between two important women in his life; the beautiful and reckless flame-haired actress Sarah Bernhardt, and his wife, the poet Delphine Daffis.
As he travels around, cooking and inventing dishes for the world’s rich and famous, his wife is dismayed that he has never created a signature dish for her. In this imagining of the world of Escoffier, ideals of love and food collide.
I found this tale magical from the start. The tantalising imagery of food will have you salivating, and the story as a whole is delightfully descriptive.
The setting of post World War One and the appearance of political figures of the time, ground the story in a darker realism, which makes you feel more for the main characters, and the importance of the food and interactions the characters share.
The story does jump back and forth in time quite a lot, as we meet Escoffier and Delphine in old age and explore their marriage past and present through their memories of Escoffier’s career, his other dalliances and of course, food.
Food is a universal, and food preferences are individual and in some ways meaningful to some. Escoffier’s relationship with food is certainly unique. His character is flawed in many ways, but his remarkable prowess in the kitchen and his enthusiasm for his craft is endearing. This is of course a work of fiction, as there are many accounts of the life and times of Auguste Escoffier. Kelby’s representation has quite a dreamy, enchanting quality to it that I hope isn't too far from the truth of the real Escoffier.
This book is a feast of drama and romance, with a handful of engaging characters and sprinkling of stylish locations with a big helping of elegance. Sad in parts but joyous too, I found the whole story enchanting. White Truffles in Winter is a stylish, escapist read; a real treat for foodie fans.