Shannon Bennett's France

France_Shannon_BennettFollowing smartly on the heels of Shannon Bennett's Paris, is this book, no doubt compiled to placate the rest of the country he so obviously loves with a passion.

As with the former book, Bennett, the greatly loved Melbourne chef whose cuisine pays homage to the country he has visited often, he has once again co-opted the assistance of a band of fellow Franco-philes (listed over two pages in the book) to compile one of the most up-to-date dining guides for this country.

While his cooking and his restaurants in Melbourne are Bennett's major work, he regards this other activity as his 'second life', a legacy for those who follow. "France is my belief in life," he says in the Preface. For those who know his food, this will come as no surprise. They already will have realised that France informs his approach to food and cookery.

In this compact but hefty (over 400-page) book, France's 21 official regions are explored, tasted and described. Not only is the reader transported into the dining rooms of the reviewers' choice restaurants but there are hotel selections and mouth-watering recipes, as well as insider tips, extra information and excellent photography. 

This is a book equally appropriate for someone travelling to France as it is for someone simply wishing to curl up and imagine themselves there. It will serve well in the kitchen while cooking, and also to read in a deckchair in the garden.

Either way, it is certain to transport you to the country Shannon Bennett quite plainly adores.

Shannon Bennett's France, a personal guide to fine dining in regional France, by Shannon Bennett & friends, published by Miegunyah Press, www.mup.com.au, November 2011, hardcover, rrp $44.99, ISBN: 978 052 285 58068

- Sally Hammond

 

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