Published Feb 1, 2012
Trade paperback, 304 pages
This was the perfect book to bring with me on vacation. I read most of it as we drove from Montreal to the Atlantic provinces—and it got me excited about trying new sweets and foods just like Amy Thomas writes about in her memoir about living in Paris.
For a chocolate lover like me this book had me drooling through all the detailed descriptions of the mouthwatering treats at the patisseries and boulangeries the author discovered as she toured the shops and cafés in Paris. Thomas, a freelance writer in New York was offered to work in Paris to write ad copy for Louis Vuitton. She jumped at the chance to live in one of her favorite cities in the world. I loved following her on her delicious journey as she alternated between Paris and New York, sometimes comparing, but mostly sharing the best and beloved sweets in the world.
You cannot read this book without getting hungry. I looked for chocolate shops with new interest as we toured new places and towns on our travels, but although I found some good chocolate, nothing compared to the unique chocolate experiences Thomas wrote about. I have been craving the “strawberry balsamic truffle made with strawberry purée, eight-year-old La Vecchia Dispensa Italian balsamic vinegar, and 66 percent dark chocolate, which was dusted with freeze-dried strawberry powder”. I mean, c'mon, doesn't that sound amazing? One bite would bring me to heaven!
Interspersed between such heavenly descriptions are Thomas' reflections on her singlehood and what she wanted to do with her life. She speaks openly about being an expat, about loving both cities (NY and Paris) and how at times she felt she wasn't completely part of either. She writes about her struggles and frustrations with the French culture and how finally she comes to terms with all of this. I could relate to Thomas even though my situation is very different from hers.
Thomas writes about the chefs, (Pierre Hermé, Jean-Paul Hévin, Eric Kayser, to name a few...) and gives a brief history of their place in the chocolate or baking world, some of the baking secrets that make their treats so renowned, and where you can find their delightful creations. So in a way, this memoir is also a reference book, and therefore, a keeper on my bookshelf. It's one of the books you'll want to carry with you if you are heading off to Paris or New York and are interested in touring bakeries and chocolateries. This book has given me a newfound appreciation for chocolate bonbons, cakes, viennoiseries, and everything else to do with one of my favorite foods—chocolate.
Note: This book is rated P = Profanity for 5 f-words and a few mild religious expletives.
Reviewed by Laura
Disclosure: Thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
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