My Life in France by Julia Child – White Burgundy

Julia Child was a tall, outspoken woman from Pasadena, California, knew nothing about the country and didn’t speak a word of French. This memoir tells the stories of her and her husband’s time in France, where she fell in love with the cuisine and found her “true calling” of becoming a chef. She enrolled in famed culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, obtaining her degree, despite it being a masculine trade. Child later became the first woman inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame.

“I would happily die with a bottle of white Burgundy in my mouth.” —Julia Child

Child wrote an entire chapter on wines in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, where she explains her philosophy on wine, food pairings, and celebrating the art of drinking. Child loved white Burgundy—she loved all kinds of burgundies. On her fortieth birthday, Julia served a 1926 Chambertin with roasted pheasant. She dreamed of the rare and pricey Burgundy, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which she had only tried once.

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The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn – Chardonnay

An American business woman in London gets eliminated from her job after returning from vacation. Instead of taking her mother’s advice to get another job immediately, Kathleen Flinn decides to strip her savings, move to Paris and enroll in Le Cordon Bleu.

Her memoir, funny yet very suspenseful, pairs perfectly with a crisp, fruity chardonnay. Fans of Julie and Julia, Almost French, and Eat, Pray, Love will love her story of French food, Paris culture, rivalry, and romance.

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Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl — Grenache Blanc

This is the life memoir of Ruth Reichl—food writer, restaurant critic, and editor of Gourmet Magazine. The story begins with Reichl’s mother, the notorious food-poisoner known as the “Queen of Mold.” One of her earliest memories she recollects to readers is her standing in front of a tray of rotted food, protecting her favorite guests from eating it. This makes Ruth realize the importance of good food and how dangerous an appreciation for food can be. Being abandon by her parents multiple times, Ruth uses cooking to cope with life’s problems, aspiring to become a professional caterer, and eventually getting a job offer as a restaurant critic for a new magazine in San Francisco.

This book dives deep into the unforgettable characters in her life, pairing perfectly with an intense flavors of Grenache Blanc.

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Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain — Petit Verdot

This depiction is how the restaurant industry really is—not how it “should” be. From his first oyster in the Gironde, to his dishwasher position in a scummy fish restaurant in Provincetown, from the kitchen of the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, to drug dealers in the East Village, from Tokyo to Paris and back to New York again . . . This is Anthony Bourdain’s story.

And knowing how Bourdain is, you’ll want a bottle of Petit Verdot sitting next to you—a bold red for a bold man.

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A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway — Tavel

Hemingway shares 30 different experiences he had during the 1920s as a struggling young writer, like his visits with Gertrude Stein, betting on horse races, and trips he made with F. Scott Fitzgerald. Most were set in Paris, France. Hemingway provides specific addresses of bars and cafes—many of which can still be found today—where he describes the food and wine.

“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” —Death in the Afternoon

Said to be a favorite of Hemingway, Tavel is an unusually dry Rosé. High in alcohol and low in acid this salmon-pink wine ages well and its nose of summer fruits can turn to rich, nutty notes over time—perfect for a trip back to Hemingway’s Paris.

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Toast by Nigel Slater — Malbec

Nigel Slater, Britain’s top food writer, tells a story of a childhood remembered through food, taking listeners on a tour of the contents of his family’s pantry in 1960s suburban England. His mother has chronic debilitating asthma, limiting her cooking to what comes in canned goods that she can heat in boiling water. Nigel longs for a life that is more than a succession of canned-food dinners made from what can be heated in boiling water. When dinner is burnt, the standard substitute of toast is always served. After her death, his father continues with the same cooking style—with frequent dinners of toast. Nigel feels as though he isn’t liked by his father—learning from a friend that the way in which he could attempt a better relationship with his father is to cook a meal for him. His cooking efforts are countered by the new housekeeper, Mrs. Joan Potter, who seduces Nigel’s father with her apple pie and array of gourmet meals—and so the rivalry begins. Nigel’s passion for flavor forms a backdrop to a memoir of childhood, adolescence, and sexual awakening.

Pair Nigel’s story with Malbec. This wine does extremely well with those funky, smokey flavors—like burnt toast.

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Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl — Blanquette de Limoux

Ruth Reichl takes readers on a tour of the the best New York restaurants—in disguise. Because her work required anonymity, Reichl wore different disguises in each restaurant, role-playing different characters. “Every restaurant is a theater . . . Even the modest restaurants offer the opportunity to become someone else, at least for a little while.”

This story of “food and façade” is mind-blowing and comical, making it pair perfectly with a bottle of Blanquette de Limoux.

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