That last summer, the kitchen reeked of pickling spice, aniseed and juniper berries. Watermelon jam, lavender jellies and crystallized fennel cooled on the pantry shelves. Jars with mango pickles and pickled onions, and old habit from his days in London, were set aside in the wine cellar to cure. Honeycombs were stacked in bowls on the sideboard, draining, waiting to be melted into candles or mixed with olive oil and pressed into soap…….
White Truffles in Winter imagines the world of the remarkable French chef Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935), who changed how we eat through his legendary restaurants at the Savoy and the Ritz.
A man of contradictions – kind yet imperious, food-obsessed yet rarely hungry – Escoffier was also torn between two women: the famous, beautiful, and reckless actress Sarah Bernhardt and his wife, the independent and sublime poet Delphine Daffis, who refused ever to leave Monte Carlo.
In the last year of Escoffier’s life, in the middle of writing his memoirs, he has returned to Delphine, who requests a dish in her name as he has honoured Bernhardt, Queen Victoria, and many others…..