FRENCH COOKBOOKS & COCKTAIL GUIDES
“Table & Vin,” by Colette Guillemard for Belin
“Le Livre de Cuisine” et “Le Livre des Alcools,” by Aulette Lauterbach et Alain Raybaud for Gallimard
“Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One,” by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle et Simone Beck for Alfred A. Knopf
Our take: What’s the next best thing to enjoying the expertise of French cooks and sommeliers during a trip to France? For us, it’s learning at least a few basics from French cookbook authors, mixologists, and acclaimed chefs. Our copy of Julia Child’s bible of French cooking remains a well-worn “must-have” in our collection. The French language publications, gifts from a thoughtful friend and supporter here in the States, afford us a chance to practice reading and speaking French from the confines of our own kitchens. Vive la cuisine française!
MEMORABLE FRENCH LANGUAGE FILMS
“Au Revoir les Enfants,” written and directed by Louis Malle
“Les Choristes,” directed by Christophe Barratier, music by Bruno Coulais
Our take: Louis Malle’s “Au Revoir les Enfants,” the 1987 autobiographical film which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, tells the true story of a Nazi raid on an all-boys Catholic boarding school near Fountainbleau, France, during World War II. Beautifully rendered both visually and through the spoken word, this poignant tale of courage, love, and loyalty under crushing circumstances stands the test of time. Truly unforgettable.
“Les Choristes,” in English “The Choristers” or “The Choirboys,” centers around a successful French conductor living in the US, who travels back to France, and receives a chance visit from an old friend who shares a long-forgotten diary of their former music teacher. The film takes the viewer back to the French school for troubled boys the conductor attended as a student, where a once-failed musician lands as their music teacher. Weaving a tale of redemption, newfound purpose, and the power of music to heal, this captivating story lifts our spirits. Just what we need right now!
CLASSIC FRENCH COFFEE TABLE VOLUMES
“Veuve Clicquot, The Color of Excellence,” by Sixtine Dubly et Mireille Guiliano for Assouline
Our take: It’s instantly recognizable by champagne lovers worldwide, the golden orange label with the starred ship’s anchor crest of Maison Veuve Clicquot. Now the iconic images of this standard-bearer for the “méthode champenoise” is available in the form of a gorgeously photographed and annotated volume for your home library. We were fortunate enough to receive it as a gift this Christmas. Fair warning: Veuve-based cocktail recipes are included, with a strong power of suggestion! Enjoy!