Saturday, August 4, 2018

Chantilly: A Tale of Carême

I wish I were setting off to the Hofburg Palace in romantic Vienna, but that will have to wait until 2020 when I am in Europe. For now, I am heading to friendly Brisbane where family waits. I have my fourth novel, CHANTILLY, on my Kindle and I can't wait to put on the hat of reader. I am bound to be horrified and realise that there is still much to do, but that's life. I can't see this novel being released for a while. Who knows, it might even be released in France. And so it should! It deserves to be born in France. Marie-Antoine Carême would demand nothing less. 

I have published only three novels, but each time it is the same. I dream up the cover long before the writing is polished. I imagine this book beside a tea set. It has a mint jacket, a familiar pastel hue in 19th century estates. That frivolous word, Chantilly, is a splash of white, its generous curves  dancing just above the middle of the cover.  Blush, peach and light pink flowers bloom across the page, perhaps just above the words "A Tale of Carême". Something like that. Would you have cake with that? Please do.

I've written a blurb too. My goodness, I am terrible. Who does that? 

So you pick up that taunting mint delight and flip to the back to read the blurb. A story about a chef, huh, you mutter as you twirl the tiniest golden spoon in your Assam tea. And hell, why not. 

"From rags to riches, an abandoned child from the worst back streets of Paris will rise to become France's first celebrity chef. 

A heartwarming story of friendship and cake, Marie-Antoine Carême's imagined biography has all the elements of a classic fairy tale.

From the finest patisseries of rue Vivienne, to the dreamlike chateau of Valençay, and all the way to the palaces of Vienna, Carême is swept up in an extraordinary journey, serving desserts for princesses and tsars alike.

But the man who invented the modern toque and revolutionised French cuisine is baffled when Mr Boucher, an ex-maître d'hôtel for the House of Condé, promises to reveal to him the secrets of Chantilly.

Along the way, to help him, is a downtrodden flower vendor, a crippled gastronomic critic, sequestered Spanish princes, and the richest man in France.

But it is the influence of one man that will remain as unforgettable as this wonderful tale.
Because in Carême's words, as in all fairy tales, there is always a prince."

There is always a prince.

A fairy tale, huh. A fairy tale about a 19th century chef. You lay the teaspoon on the pretty saucer. You take a sip and feel a warm rush. And then, it hits you. You realise that you would love a slice of that buttery sponge. And maybe lashings of Chantilly to go with it.

Please do.