The International Gourmand Awards
In January, 2018 we heard from Monsieur Edouard Cointreau, the founder and president of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards that the Chez Teresa Recipe Book had been awarded a special category award by the selectors of the International Gourmand Awards. As you might imagine this was a welcome New Year’s surprise for all at Chez Teresa. Monsieur Cointreau had mentioned last year that the book was being put forward for the award, but now to learn that it has received this accolade is a positive thing to hear especially in the bleak mid winter of 2018.
The above international initiative is a prestigious one and it is an honour to have been chosen and to be in any way a part of it. There is an invitation to visit China in May to attend a ceremony attended by a host of Internationals from the world of cookery and tourism.
The list of all the finalists for these awards are now on cookbookfair.com. I am in category A06 – Special Awards.
There will also be an event later on in the Summer in France at the new Angers Gourmand Book Center, Angers where there will be a 2nd ceremony, so that should be interesting and enjoyable.
For more information about the International Gourmand Awards 2018 go to the following link:
To recap it was certainly good to be nominated in the first place let alone receive a special cook book award and I am very appreciative of the fact. Thank you to all involved in the selection process.**.
At a time when tourism is expanding throughout the world, we have in the 20th and 21st centuries reached a time when tourism is not only a driving force informing the choices for destination tourists, but also the way in which International food culture is presented and on offer to us all which is reinforced via television and social media networks. This seems to me to be what the Gourmand International Cookery Awards are celebrating, and are all about.
Considering the huge impact on audiences of the many cookery and travel shows on the plethora of networks available to us today with their strong focus on food culture and the local dishes on offer from the British Isles to Barbados, we are now witnessing the impact of an International food revolution. There are cookery shows with travel thrown in with their presenters discovering foodie delights and recommending places to eat and travel shows with local cuisine thrown in for good measure and what is more we are following their lead. These programmes and revelations are par for the course these days and growing in numbers all the time. Re-runs from the 1980s of Keith Floyd’s trips around France still make a mark and influence our cooking in the British Isles. Rick Stein’s Road to Mexico on the BBC is a more recent example of a cookery cum travel odyssey captivating audiences. Who would not watch that programme and not wish to rush out buy the book, buy key ingredients for the Mexican dishes and if the budget allows book a trip to Mexico via California. Today throughout the world chefs and cooks along with travel and tourism march hand in hand.
The way in which viewers often respond to such gastronomic discoveries revealed by chefs and cookery writers on and in the media is by a) demanding the accessibility and availability of international ingredients and b) by visiting specific countries and discovering professional and local dishes and delicacies. The preponderance of ‘Street Food’ in local markets across the world and the popularity of culturally diverse foods at such markets especially in the UK is a case in point. These are growth areas and in these difficult economic times of huge significance to our national and local economies. With a follow up of holidays booked and tourists discovering for themselves and getting down and dirty with the local cuisine via a cross section of restaurants from posh to parochial – from street food to the foodie offerings at local fetes, markets and fiestas all of this is immensely important for the global economy now and for the future and great for good cultural relations and mutual appreciation.
All this of course began, at least as far as Celebrity chefs, and food writers are concerned back in the 18th and 19th centuries with celebrated chefs such as Marie-Antoine Carême and Auguste Escoffier bringing their ‘high art’ French cooking to the tables of the Kings and Queens of Europe. In terms of more recent times particularly in the United Kingdom that the impact of food writers and chefs on ordinary people is apparent. It is to the inspirational Elizabeth David* who in the 1950s with her books on French and Mediterranean cuisine along with her many glorious observations and anecdotes about the dishes that she discovered on her travels that has encouraged us to extend our limited palettes and to choose foods from across the Mediterranean and beyond to even more exotic locations and cuisines. At a time when many people did not know what an avocado or an aubergine looked like she told us where we might get hold of the ingredients reflected in her recipes…not so easy in those days when a bottle of olive oil was more likely to be found at the local chemist than at the grocers! She encouraged us to use fresh herbs and garlic in our cooking and large numbers of us still buy her books and follow her recipes and look to visit the places and countries that she visited. David’s book Italian Food, published in 1954, was instrumental in popularising Italian cooking in the United Kingdom. This kind of impact has now hit a culinary stratosphere with the discoveries across the globe of dishes and recipes with books, DVDs and other media on all sorts of international cuisine determining the gastronomic interests of many of us. This goes right down to the kind of sauces, produce, spices and herbs that we now expect to find on offer in local supermarkets and delicatessens. It is a truth now universally acknowledged that such writers, chefs, personalities and media presenters can even and often do determine fresh gastronomic trends for now and for the future.
Since we moved to France in 2005 we have witnessed significant changes in what is on offer in local supermarkets and fresh produce markets..more choice and more international to be sure. The other day I came across some sugar snap peas from Kenya at my local market and cranberries are a staple for some at Christmas time in France. When we first visited France back in the 1980s it was actually quite hard to find a parsnip. Now they are liberally grown here and generally available so making my Parsnip and Apple soup is easy. That is not to say that the French have lost sight of what French cuisine is all about because of their gastronomy and classic cuisine they are intensely proud; though some may argue that point. There is however definitely more diffusion and more culinary diversity reflected in what is on offer in many French restaurants than for instance 20 years ago.
With customers wanting and looking to buy and experience not only local but also international ingredients what is on offer in French restaurants was bound to alter to an extent. Of course in France the Reunion and other colonies former and current have always had some impact on what is available; particularly Caribbean and Vietnamese cuisine and the essential ingredients for these. Of late however we have noticed that Indian and Thai spices and sauces are now easily available and most supermarkets have an international food selection in direct response to current gastronomic interests and trends. The latter is I feel sure because more and more people are either watching television programmes or visiting new countries and discovering new cuisines that they then wish to reproduce when they get home. Some would argue that this might be the death of an indigenous cuisine..unlikely in the scale of things and indigenous peoples and visitors alike will always wish to enjoy and discover local dishes and regional specialties. Regional cuisine will not be diluted it will continue to be sought after and celebrated. There will however also be alongside a growing choice of what is on offer in the future determined by travel, tourism, television and other networks. Travel broadens ones horizons in more ways than one and as well as being actual, physical travellers we can now be mental travellers as well…with the information and experiences that we are presented with and/or that we discover independently inspiring us to experiment with our tastes and trends.
ref: * Check out An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, by Elizabeth David. If you have not yet discovered Elizabeth David then you are in for a treat. Within this volume is a collection of articles originally written for among others The Spectator, Gourmet magazine, Vogue, and The Sunday Times. It is the ultimate in not only erudite cookery writing but writing that bursts off the page with vivacity and anecdotes positively evoking the deliciousness of the food described.***
**The Chez Teresa Recipe Book features detailed recipes of some of the delicious sweet treats and savory dishes that we serve in our tea room Chez Teresa/A Taste d’Angleterre in the Loire Valley in the West of France. The Book also includes ideas for creating the perfect ambiance for a successful afternoon tea party – from place settings – to music – to floral displays. Blending this with information about the fabulous local markets of the Loire Valley with all its wealth of fresh regional produce, the author has produced a book, with photographs by Tony Dolan, containing favourite tried and tested recipes. It presents a snapshot of the history and gastronomy of the locale within a touristic context. The book provides an insight into a day in the life of our lives running our business here in Fontevraud l’abbaye focusing in particular on the dishes and desserts that along with my family we like to cook and serve. Equally it is also a celebration of what is on offer in this lush region of the Loire Valley.
A vegetarian Tajine is in fact one of our current most popular dishes and Tony and Jay make mean curries; neither recipe appears in the Chez Teresa Recipe Book. This selection is more about the lighter, sweeter cakes and desserts that we serve in our tea room as opposed to the more hearty dishes that we serve to our guests from across the globe. I am in the process of producing a new book of our popular recipes and the flavour of this one will focus on more International cuisine.
Bonne découverte des nouvelles cuisines et cultures internationales!
Fontevraud l’abbaye, 2018