The best books set in modern day France that contain mouth-watering descriptions of food and wine

Who am I?

I went to Paris the first time when I was nineteen. I was sitting in a cheap restaurant when a man entered carrying a burlap sack filled with escargots, and put some on my plate (all very unsanitary) for me to taste. Delicious! I was in France in the 1970s when Robert Parker was discovering French wine. (We didn’t meet then, but did after my series was published many years later.)  Subsequent stays in Paris and other areas of France (Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy) afforded me a food and wine sensibility that over decades has permeated my lifestyle, my friendships—and my writing.


I wrote...

Champagne

By Janet Hubbard,

Book cover of Champagne

What is my book about?

NYPD detective Max Maguire flies to France to attend her friend Chloé Marceau’s wedding at a grand estate in Champagne. The fairy-tale evening dissolves into mayhem when Chloé’s aunt Léa is found murdered hours after the event. Max tries to insinuate herself into the investigation, but is thwarted by the handsome aristocratic examining magistrate, who had also been a guest at the wedding. But Max has her ways, and soon the family’s long-held secrets begin to spill out like marbles from an overturned dish, leading to one clue after another. Olivier finds himself fascinated by the lively American, and over the next days they join forces, and through the process find themselves bonding over food and wine, and friends and family.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Bruno, Chief of Police

Janet Hubbard Why did I love this book?

I bought the paperback in 2010, and as I return to it, see where I underlined phrases and lines, especially about food and wine. I was enamored of the bachelor Bruno, and the small village he was a part of. That title was followed by The Dark Vineyard the following year, and that was when I declared myself a fan of Martin’s entertaining series. Martin interlaces serious issues with humor, just enough romance, and marvelous descriptions of food and wine. He was kind enough to endorse my series, and also sent me a recipe for lamb shanks that I cook once a year. (Midway through the series Martin and his wife wrote a cookbook that won awards in Germany, but alas, has still not been translated into English.)

By Martin Walker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bruno, Chief of Police as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first Dordogne Mystery starring Bruno, Chief of Police, France's favourite cop. EU inspectors are causing havoc in the little town of St Denis and local tempers are running high, but is it really cause for murder?

Market day in the ancient town of St Denis in south-west France. EU hygiene inspectors have been swooping on France's markets, while the locals hide contraband cheese in their houses and call the Brussels bureaucrats 'Gestapo'. Local police chief Bruno supports their resistance. Although, here in what was once Vichy France, words like 'Gestapo' and 'resistance' still carry a profound resonance.

When an…


Book cover of My Place At The Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris

Janet Hubbard Why did I love this book?

This was a gift from a friend, and I absolutely love it. From the jacket copy: “It is the riveting portrait of a gay man struggling to overcome the reverberating shame and guilt of a long-buried childhood secret.” On the very first page he includes his ode to a sandwich, written when he was a child. It starts: "The BLT is the most perfect sandwich. The bacon brings it salt and the rich taste of pork. The tomato is sweet and juicy…”  Labrano eventually became a famous food critic, and his memoir is peppered with fabulous descriptions of food and wine. His description of a dinner in Val-les-Bains in the Ardèche region of France is downright inspiring. A great read!

By Alexander Lobrano,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Place At The Table as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this debut memoir, a James Beard Award-winning writer, whose childhood idea of fine dining was Howard Johnson's, tells how he became one of Paris's most influential food critics

Until Alec Lobrano landed a job in the glamorous Paris office of Women's Wear Daily, his main experience of French cuisine was the occasional supermarket eclair. An interview with the owner of a renowned cheese shop for his first article nearly proves a disaster because he speaks no French. As he goes on to cover celebrities and couturiers and improves his mastery of the language, he gradually learns what it means…


Book cover of The New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement

Janet Hubbard Why did I love this book?

The description above segues nicely into The New Paris by Lindsey Traumata, published in 2017. Traumata now has a second book published, and hosts a podcast, and is popular on social media. I have spent at least a month (and sometimes three) in Paris annually over the past six years and think of Traumata’s first book as a good friend. She writes wonderful profiles of people, and she keeps readers updated about bistros, winemakers, new cuisine. Her writing is elegant, and I read her descriptions as avidly as I do a novel, constantly making notes. So different from the usual guidebooks.

By Lindsey Tramuta,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The New Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The city long-adored for its medieval beauty, old-timey brasseries, and corner cafes has even more to offer today. In the last few years, a flood of new ideas and creative locals has infused a once-static, traditional city with a new open-minded sensibility and energy. Journalist Lindsey Tramuta offers detailed insight into the rapidly evolving worlds of food, wine, pastry, coffee, beer, fashion, and design in the delightful city of Paris. Tramuta puts the spotlight on the new trends and people that are making France's capital a more whimsical, creative, vibrant, and curious place to explore than its classical reputation might…


Book cover of The Little Paris Bookshop

Janet Hubbard Why did I love this book?

This is a novel that I read in one day, warming to the grieving protagonists who have found each other, and particularly struck by their first meal together—fish poached in cream and white wine, new potatoes roasted in garlic and rosemary, pears and cheese, and with a beautiful French wine to accompany it. In my mind romance can’t exist without meals prepared from scratch and wine to go with it. The other secret ingredient in the novel is books, and the combination of food and wine, a romance, and a love of books gives this book a permanent place in my library. In fact, I am rereading it.

By Nina George,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Little Paris Bookshop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international bestseller, translated from the German by Simon Pare.

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a 'literary apothecary', for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust…


Book cover of The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food

Janet Hubbard Why did I love this book?

Adam Gopnik’s book, The Table Comes First: Family, France and the Meaning of Food has it all: essays on the history of restaurants, followed by second on taste, then come the recipes (a stellar one on leg of lamb prepared with bacon and anchovies, saffron and cinnamon), and finally, in Chapter Ten, an essay on wine that is a far cry from the plethora of books on “how to taste.” It calls wine what it is, alcohol, and talks about why it makes us happy. I downloaded this book onto my Kindle a long time ago, and writing about it reminds me to purchase a hard copy of the book in order to place It on my shelf next to Gopnik’s book, Paris to the Moon, written way back in 1995, which is about the year he and his wife and infant son spent in Paris, with great stories about tasting French cuisine.

By Adam Gopnik,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Table Comes First as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Never before have we cared so much about food. It preoccupies our popular culture, our fantasies, and even our moralizing—“You still eat meat?” With our top chefs as deities and finest restaurants as places of pilgrimage, we have made food the stuff of secular seeking and transcendence, finding heaven in a mouthful. But have we come any closer to discovering the true meaning of food in our lives?
 
With inimitable charm and learning, Adam Gopnik takes us on a beguiling journey in search of that meaning as he charts America’s recent and rapid evolution from commendably aware eaters to manic,…


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The Blighted Mission

By E. Chris Ambrose,

Book cover of The Blighted Mission

E. Chris Ambrose Author Of The Mongol's Coffin

New book alert!

Who am I?

As an art school drop-out who'd been majoring in sculpture, I'm fascinated by material culture—artifacts created by early peoples that reveal their cultural values. Often, the relics and sites that engage both archaeologists and readers suggest unexpected depths of knowledge that show human ingenuity through the ages. I strive to incorporate the details of an artifact or monument's creation into the clues and descriptions in my work, hopefully illuminating a little-known historical realm, if only by torchlight as the adventure unfolds. The fact that I get to explore so many exotic locations, in research if not in person, is a definite plus!

E. Chris' book list on weaving adventure and history

What is my book about?

Disgraced British anthropologist Nigel Rowe hopes his YouTube adventure channel will be just the treat to redeem him, but vengeful treasure hunters have other plans! Seeking a legendary Jesuit mission in Baja, Nigel saves his producer’s life when the man takes a bullet meant for him. 

When an ex-Marine strolls up for a bodyguard interview, and dresses him down for his lax security, she might be precisely what he needs, or the last face he'll ever see. They plunge into the desert in search of fame, fortune and viral footage. Will he survive long enough to work out who's after him or meet a sticky end in the mountains of Mexico? All he can hope is that his new partner's doesn’t pull the trigger herself.

The Blighted Mission

By E. Chris Ambrose,

What is this book about?

A disgraced British anthropologist hopes his YouTube adventure channel will redeem him, but vengeful treasure hunters have other plans.

From the author of the internationally best-selling Bone Guard archaeological adventures!

On the trail of a legendary Jesuit mission in Baja—and the treasure it may contain—Nigel Rowe leaps into action to save the life of his producer when the man takes a bullet meant for Nigel. Alas, the list of those who might wish him dead spans the globe and ranges from American treasure hunters to Russian mobsters to his own dear brother, with their mother's consent if not her explicit…


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