Love classic French recipes? Love gorgeous photos of France? Délicieux : The Recipes of France is for you! Written by Gabriel Gaté, this is a collection of recipes based on his “experiences as a chef, cookery teacher and lover of French food and travel”
Gabriel Gâté was born in the Loire Valley in France but moved to Australia with his Melbourne-born wife in 1977 (growing up in Australia, his name was very familiar). He’s written 24 cookbooks (!) and for the past 35 years, he’s been presenting television shows (notably ‘Taste Le Tour with Gabriel Gaté’, a series featuring food and wine from the regions the Tour de France passes through in July every year). Today, total sales of his books exceed 1.1 million copies, making him the highest-selling Australian male cookery writer.
About Délicieux, from the publisher:
Delicieux is an accompaniment to Gabriel’s popular Taste Le Tour program on SBS, with more than 200 recipes representing the myriad regions of France. From the simplest tarts and gratins to fish stews and savoie sponge cakes, this book shows the diversity and originality of France’s rich culinary heritage. This comprehensive view into regional cuisines, replete with recipes used over generations, will enchant the armchair traveller or inspire a visit to the many different regions of France.
This is real food: delicious recipes that celebrate the beauty of cooking produce that is ripe and in season, and capturing the essence of life in France. While the appeal of this collection rests firmly on its recipes, the photographs of France transport the reader to an idyllic world where Gabriel Gaté is the perfect host. Enjoy country-style pates and terrines; tians and gratins; crepes and mousses; Fish Stews from the Languedoc, Normandy and Provence; fricassees and casseroles like cassoulet, coq au vin and poule au pot; roasts and tournedos; and brioche, gateaux, souffles and tarts from every region of France. This cookbook brings to life the seasonal dishes that bring the warmth of rural and urban France into your home.
You don’t need to have seen the Taste Le Tour series to appreciate this book, though I am sure it would be lovely to relive certain episodes though the recipes. It is, indeed, a perfect book for the armchair traveller (or someone who’s visited France already or plans to) but it’s also a great book full of classic recipes for the French food enthusiast.
The recipes are divided into Starters & Light Meals, Salad & Vegetables, Fish & Seafood, Poultry and Rabbit, Beef, Lamb & Pork, Cakes & Sweet Morsels (love this title!) and Desserts & Tarts. What I immediately notice in the book is that the recipes themselves are quite short and simple (there are even some nice timesavers like using store-bought pizza dough for a pissaladière which definitely cuts down on prep time and makes a complicated recipe really do-able) – there’s a definite feeling of accessibility for all levels of skill in the kitchen (even for more complex recipes like macarons, the headnote tells you that you may well need to make a few batches before you get it right – love this real talk!). The majority of the recipes are short, fitting on one page (though they are written paragraph style which I know some people don’t like – it does make it a bit more challenging to follow a recipe from start to end than a recipe with numbered steps but with over 200 recipes already and coming in at over 400 pages, I can see why this design choice was made!).
It’s a striking book, visually – the photography is gorgeous and transports you directly to France. There are a lot of “lifestyle” photos and single ingredients but again, as I mentioned when I talked about Gaté’s A Cook’s Tour of France, I do miss the “one image per recipe” concept (again, I can see why they chose to not photograph every recipe (for space reasons!) but I am a very visual cook so I like a finished dish photo (especially if it’s an new-to-me recipe). If you’re familiar with French cuisine though, this might not be an issue for you because the dishes are real classics.
This book will join the others in my “French cookbook” collection and will be one I’ll turn to because of the simplicity of the recipes. It’s also a lovely book to have on a coffee table as it’d definitely wanderlust-inspiring… Dare I say it (since it’s not even Hallowe’en yet) – it’s perfect for the Francophile on your holiday gift list….
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Disclosure: I received a review copy of Délicieux courtesy of Raincoast Books. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions 100% my own.