From My Château Kitchen
revolves around three subjects: the author's life in the 17th-century Burgundian château she and her husband own; the work of the farmers, vintners, restaurateurs, and others who live in the area and define its spirit; and Burgundian food, the glorious regional plats
that represent a time-honored yet ever-evolving cuisine. Anne Willan, founder and president of La Varenne cooking school (now headquartered at the château), skillfully weaves these strands into a romantic but down-to-earth memoir. With more than 300 color photos and 160 adroitly selected recipes, the book offers both armchair excitement and practical kitchen direction. Those drawn to French regional cooking and the life that anchors it will embrace the book.
In chapters such as "The Adventure Begins," "On Burgundian Tables," and "The Wider Scene," Willan comes, sees, and is conquered--repeatedly. Best of all are her shrewdly drawn human portraits. We meet, among others, the château gardener who picks vegetables only at maximum size, a blacksmith who guards his homemade ratafia in a cathedral cellar, and a father-son pair who operate a traveling cider press. Willan's recipes--all meticulously written--accompany the discussions. Traditional Beef Bourguignon (a definitive formula), Warm Wild Mushroom Mousse, Madame Milbert's Rabbit Terrine, and Apple Gâteau Le Fey are just some of the dishes that illustrate a time, place, or person. Closing with a chapter that presents the château wedding of Willan's daughter (and includes the wedding cake recipe), the book comes full circle; it returns readers to a beginning and reminds them that food, which is the life of the Burgundian land, is without break, beginning or end. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Owner of La Varenne cooking school and author of La Varenne Pratique, Willan chronicles her culinary adventures at Ch?teau du Fey, a 17th-century Burgundy ch?teau that she and her husband bought in 1982. There are many f?tes at which Willan hobnobs among neighboring ch?telains (dubbed the "ch?teau mafia") with privileged lineages, but her memoir is also punctuated by a colorful cast of local characters--such as caretakers Monsieur and Madame Milbert, cheese expert Hugues Parret, bread baker Robert Haumont? and artisan charcutier Georges Clopin. Her regional dishes include Pork Chops with Mustard and Bacon, Venison Stew with Black Mushrooms and Ratafia (a grape juice liqueur) and Snails with Anise en Cro?te, along with fresh takes on such classics as Truffled Brie, White Cheese Ice Cream, and Cabbage and Goat Cheese Quiche. Willan also showcases select signature dishes (e.g., Roasted Scallops with Sesame and Parsley Salad) of local Michelin-starred Burgundian chefs, family, friends and La Varenne students. Willan's prose is vivacious, her erudite pedagogy underscored with tart, droll humor. While she occasionally basks in the grandiose moments afforded an eminent ch?teau owner, she respectfully recognizes the community of local artisans who have contributed to the success of her beloved Le Fey. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.