Book Review: Caramel, Caramel and More Caramel! by Michal Moses and Ivana Nitzan

Book Review: Caramel, Caramel and More Caramel! by Michal Moses and Ivana Nitzan Review by Dawn Thomas 128 Pages Publisher: Imagine by Charlesbridge Cooking, Food & Wine, Sauces & Toppings, Confectionery I love cookbooks. Every time I open one, I am immediately drawn into a world of wonderful pictures and endless possibilities. This book did not let me down. The authors are founders of Petit Gateau, a catering company that creates pastries, graphic design and food styling. They also co-wrote Cupcake Nibbles and Organic Sweets & Treats. I knew I was in for treat when I opened the book. There are over 50 recipes in the book. They range from sweet and savory so there is something for everyone.  The opening line is “Who Doesn’t Love Caramel?!” and I have to agree. The photography in the book is wonderful. The food jumps off the page at you. The recipes are easy to follow and most have simple ingredients. There are many sweet dishes but also savory dishes with chicken, onions and salmon. I never expected to find those items in a caramel book but the recipes sound intriguing. It was hard to pick out just one favorite from this book….

Book Review: Cast Iron Cooking by Rachael Narins

Book Review: Cast Iron Cooking by Rachael Narins Review by Dawn Thomas 96 Pages Publisher: Storey Publications Cooking, Food & Wine I have a cast iron frying pan and use it almost daily for almost 20 years. I like the fact it heats evenly and retains heat. Another important aspect of cast iron is that once it is seasoned, the foods will not stick to the pan. This cookbook begins with why and how to buy cast iron. There are several different shapes and sizes to consider and Ms. Narins covers them all. The author follows it up with how to season and care for you cast iron. The second section of the book is devoted to recipes. As expected the first set of recipes are for breakfast dishes. The recipes range from a type of German popover and full English breakfast to a dish that resembles breakfast nachos and the traditional breakfast potatoes. The next set of recipes includes lunch and dinner options. She includes not only grilled cheese sandwich but also a twist on tomato soup. I was surprised to see a pizza and spanakopita cooked in a cast iron frying pan. Ms. Narins also includes cultural dishes…

Book Review Tainted Tokay by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen

Book Review Tainted Tokay by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 181 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards This is the eleventh book in the Wine Detective series. In this installment, Benjamin Cooker has promised his wife, Elisabeth, a vacation. His editor, Claude, has offered to pay for a trip to Hungary as his guests. Alexandrine, Cooker’s lab assistant is brutally attacked. She calls Virgile, Benjamin’s assistant and asks for his help. Virgile tells Cooker to go on the trip and he will take care of the business and the lab. Claude has a young companion, Consuela Chavez. She is exotic and Benjamin is intrigued by her. Elisabeth is not happy about the attention Benjamin is showing Consuela. Her past is murky and no one can pin point her nationality. A man, Zoltán, approaches them and offers his services as a tour guide. Elisabeth believes he looks trust worthy and agrees to hire him. On an excursion, someone steals Claude’s wallet and passport. They must go to the French Embassy to get new travel documents. Alexandrine continues to heal but is extremely cautious. The police do not believe her attack was…

Book Review The Winemaker Detective by Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen

Book Review The Winemaker Detective by Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 309 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards, Bordeaux This book contains the first three books in the Winemaker Detective Series. In these books, Benjamin and Virgile travel around solving mysteries. Benjamin Cooker is well known for his wine book and Virgile is his young assistant. In these books, they travel to different wine regions in France. Each book discusses different types of wine. I learned so much about wine and the regions they come from in these books. You can find my complete reviews on the individual books at the links below. Treachery in Bordeaux Grand Cru Heist Nightmare in Burgundy   These stories are short but full of adventure. I enjoyed the series and recommend it to anyone that enjoys mysteries.

Book Review Late Harvest Havoc by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Late Harvest Havoc by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 140 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards Benjamin Cooker, the wine expert, is on a tour of a cathedral in Strasbourg when the tour guide, Jeanne, collapses to the floor. Just moments ago, she was asking him for a date. Benjamin realizes how quick life can change. He and his assistant, Virgile Lanssien, are in Germany to meet with Fritz Loewenberg for a tasting. When the rear tires on Benjamin’s vintage Mercedes Benz 280SL, the hotel manager lends him the hotel Toyota. In search of vandalized grape vines, Benjamin swears to miss a wild boar and her babies. Unfortunately, he hits a vine stock and snaps it off. He goes in search of the property owner. To his surprise, they were waiting for him at the Deutzler winery. The police thought it was too much of a coincidence that Benjamin was in all the areas that were vandalized. Benjamin goes on ahead to Germany to meet with Fritz leaving Virglie behind to continue with the investigation. While in Germany, he sees Bernadette. She informs him that Vincent Deutzler, the…

Book Review Backstabbing in Beaujolais by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Backstabbing in Beaujolais by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 163 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards The story begins with a body found in a wine barrel and then jumps back three months. Guillaume Perithiard hires Benjamin Coker to assess a winery for a possible purchase. Benjamin sees potential and recommends the buy. He wants to make Beaujolais Nouveau, the best variety of Beaujolais. Laurent Quillebaud dies in a hunting accident. After his death, it becomes known he had AIDS. This leaves some to question if it was an accident, murder or suicide. Perithiard believes Benjamin would be available at his disposal, which is far from the case. Benjamin then finds an estate agent, Annabelle Malisset, for him. Being a beautiful woman is a bonus. Perithiard hires her on the spot. Perithiard’s affair with Solene Chavannes, cools off but it is too last, his wife, Berangere, found out about it and begins making demands. Things get interesting when someone begins vandalizing the estate. It is anyone’s guess who is behind it. Everyone begins to point a finger. There are so many people guilty of something but who is…

Book Review Montmartre Mysteries by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Montmartre Mysteries by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 146 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards Arthur Solacroup is a wine merchant with a history in the French Foreign Legion. He is attacked in his wine shop. Benjamin Cooker arrived shortly after and saw the attacker as he was running away. One of Arthur’s friends, Karim, also saw the attacker. Since he was wearing a ski mask, neither man can identify him. Benjamin receives a letter in the mail asking him to visit a hospital in Paris that needs help with their vineyard. He visits the hospital and arranges for vines and training. He takes the time to show the maintenance workers how to prune the vines. Benjamin troubled by Arthur’s attack, begins investigating. He waits for his assistant Virgile and is annoyed when he is late. Virgile arrives with a story. Virgile was stuck on the train because a man jumped in front of a train. This caused a shutdown of the trains for several hours. Because of his injuries, no one can identify him. This is the eighth book in the Winemaker Detective book series. I learn…

Book Review Flambe in Armagnac by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Flambe in Armagnac by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 140 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards Benjamin Cooker gets a letter from an insurance company asking him to provide a value report for a vineyard, which suffered a fire. Benjamin’s first thought was not to accept the offer but changed his mind. While investigating, Benjamin learns a man died in the fire. Everyone has nice things to say about Francisco Vasquez and is sad of his passing. Was his death an accident or pre-meditated. As Virgile digs through the rubble to find clues, Benjamin is uncovering more information into the winery. Tension gets high between a father and his sons. Could one of them had anything to do with setting the fire to collect from the insurance company? Benjamin returns home but soon Virgile calls him back for more research. When more deaths occur, Benjamin scrambles to find out what is happening. This is the seventh book in the Winemaker Detective series. This is a very interesting series. I enjoy the characters and their quirkiness. I also learned a lot about the distillation process. This is a great…

Book Review Mayhem in Margaux by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Mayhem in Margaux by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 164 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards The summer is so hot and it appears to be a bad year for grapes. The heat is affecting people as well. Benjamin and his wife, Elisabeth, have rented a villa for a vacation. The night before they are supposed to leave, their daughter, Margaux was a passenger in a serious car accident. When there is evidence someone may have tampered with, Benjamin begins his own investigation. Benjamin breaks Margaux out of the hospital so she can recuperate with them while they are vacationing. During her stay there, Virgile stops by to see Benjamin. Margaux and Virgile strike up a conversation and are getting along. This is not what Benjamin wants at all. Following Benjamin’s example, Virgile buys a vintage car. During the investigation, he uses it to flush out a suspect but is unsuccessful. Luckily, their rented boat breaks down and they need to find a mechanic. This is the sixth book in the Winemaker Detective series. I enjoy the author’s writing style and the fast past of the story. If…

Book Review Cognac Conspiracies by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Cognac Conspiracies by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 164 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards Marie-France Lavoisier and her brother Pierre run Lavoisier Cognac, a family business. When their older brother, Claude-Henri, sells shares of Lavoisier Cognac to a company in Hong Kong, Benjamin Cooker is hired to review the company books. Benjamin and his assistant, Virgile arrive to a less than warm reception. Marie-France is hostile to them and asks them to leave but Virgile meets with Pierre and learns a bit about the company. Pierre is found dead from an apparent drowning, but Virgile does not believe it. While sitting in a café, Benjamin sees an old lover, Sheila Scott. He pays her a visit at her cottage and they reminisce on old times. Benjamin resigns from the Hong Kong company and returns their retainer but not before he accuses they of killing Pierre. Claude-Henri returns home and asks Marie-France if he can stay. Together they can rebuilt the company. Benjamin cannot rest though until he finds the truth about Pierre’s death. This is the fifth book in the Winemaker Detective series. I enjoyed learning about…