L'Ame de la Champagne: Artisanat d'art et Haute gastronomie
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This arrestingly beautiful book highlights the relationship between traditional artisanship in the Champagne region and culinary inspiration. It's an unusual expression of some of the qualities of terroir.
Author Philippe Mille is the chef of Le Parc, a Michelin 2-star restaurant in Reims, the heart of Champagne. In sixteen chapters he pays tribute to craft materials with long histories of use in the region. A profile of an artisan is followed by a dish that expresses the character of the material. There is also a specific local wine recommendation.
What, you might well ask, is the culinary appeal of chalk? Of steel or leather, of stained glass or paper? Mille's answers are rarely literal; instead he employs the materials for visual reference or to create specific cooking methods. Finely cut vegetables mimic a mosaic as they surround an oyster enveloped in gelée. Scallops are cooked under a bed of straw; monkfish is roasted atop a Champagne barrel stave, "impregnated with Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir."
And happily for a French import, this book is bilingual.
In French and English. Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.