It’s the first day of the Scrumptious Stories blog tour and I’m thrilled to serve up the first course with the French and Algerian treats described in Clare Povey’s The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre (Usborne: 2nd September 2021)!
There are so many wonderful children’s books featuring delicious food. Readers are left craving all sorts of scrumptious delicacies! A group of children’s book reviewers has decided to band together to share some of our favourites. Make sure you check out all of these fab bloggers over the next nine days for some fantastic children’s books that get our mouths watering!
Clare Povey has kindly shared some of her inspirations for the food in her wonderful book – I absolutely love the idea of a Christmas feast with 13 desserts!
Writing a book set in France meant that I couldn’t possibly include all of the food and drink. But I did try my best.
Food is one of my greatest joys – I love nothing better than going to a new restaurant or travelling to different places and trying traditional food.
While living in France, I visited as many different places as possible, and incorporated some of my most memorable meals into my debut children’s book, The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre.
There isn’t a single meal or drink in my book that I haven’t already tried! I can highly recommend them all, but here are some of my highlights.
– Buttery croissants and thick chocolat chaud from Le Chat Curieux’s café – the café was largely inspired by Méert in Lille, one of the oldest pâtisseries in the world.
– Mchawcha, a thick sweet omelette served with lashings of honey. This is a traditional Kabylie (Kabylia is a region in Northern Algeria) recipe, one of Theo’s favourites.
– A French Christmas feast. In Provence, the south of France, it is a tradition to have 13 desserts at Christmas. 13! The first four desserts consist of dried fruit and nuts, before leading onto fresh fruit, and a huge selection of sweet treats from yule logs to nougat, gingerbread, thin waffles, biscuits, marzipan and much more…
– Potato and green olive tagine – My character Sami is from Mogador (present day Essaouira in Morocco) and craves this tagine, a simple, but delicious meal his mother would make for him.
My Review of The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre:
The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre is a wonderful romp through Paris with a charming bookish mystery (and lots of fantastic food). Dastardly villains who don’t care about anyone but themselves think they have a brilliant plan to ensure a terrible writer meets his looming deadlines. Bastien is determined to outsmart them all by daring to complete the story his parents left for him. He will find the story that is waiting to be told.
This is a fast-paced story of a writing community under threat. Bastien’s parents, highly-acclaimed authors, were killed in a fire and other authors are going missing. Everyone is afraid.
Meanwhile, Bastien has been sent to a terrible orphanage where he can hardly breathe without getting in trouble, let alone write in his notebook each night. He and his best friend, Theo, do what they can to lift the spirits of the other boys and save them all. Everyone deserves to have a story about them and Bastien is the boy to do it.
Themes of reading and books run through this beautiful tale. There is safety in the book shop and value in storytelling. So many aspects of this city of creativity are highlighted as Bastien and Theo explore the streets of Paris, taking readers along on their heart-stopping adventure.
Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.