Friday, April 3, 2015

Another Fine French Book Giveaway!


I’ve been wanting to write about Elizabeth Bard for a while now and her new book gives me a perfect excuse. It comes out on April 7 and it looks every bit as delicious as its predecessor, Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes, which was a New York Times bestseller, an international bestseller and winner of the 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best First Cookbook (USA).

And, because I live to please you, I’ve asked Elizabeth and her publisher Little, Brown and Company, for three copies of Picnic in Provence to give away. Of course, they said bien sur!

Elizabeth is an American journalist and author, born in New York City and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey. She graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in English Literature and later earned a Masters degree in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

Elizabeth’s articles on food, art, travel and digital culture have appeared in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, Wired, Marie Claire and Harper's Bazaar.

Since 2009, she and her husband Gwendal have lived in the tiny Provencal town of Céreste, where they own and operate the artisanal ice cream company Scaramouche.

The first book, Lunch in Paris, told Elizabeth’s story of cute-meeting the perfect Frenchman at a conference in London, and chucking her life plans to move to Paris to marry him. 

Picnic in Provence picks up where Lunch in Paris left off, or, as the author says, “it’s about all the things that happen after the happily ever after: marriage, motherhood, entrepreneurship...and in our case, ice cream!”

It’s about unexpected choices and how they can be the best choices we make,” she continues. “There’s no five year plan in the world that would have gotten me here. And yet it’s exactly the right place to be.”

The 336-page hardcover has 60 recipes and is also available in ebook and audiobook versions.

You can see a trailer for it here.

Elizabeth first met Gwendal at an academic conference when she was a student in London.  “I asked what his research was about,” she recalls, “which is as good a pick-up line as any in academia. He was finishing up a PhD in computer science and I was just starting a Master's in Art History. So anyone who says you can't meet the love your life in a lecture on a Hypertext Version of Finnegan's Wake is wrong...”

The crafty American soon made an excuse to come to Paris for the weekend. Next thing she knew she was back and forthing on the Eurostar--they wouldn't be married if it wasn't for the Eurostar, she tells me—and soon Elizabeth had a decision to make: go back to New York to pursue her dream of being a museum curator...or take that flying leap and move to Paris for love.

She chose Paris, of course, and the couple married in 2003.  Those first years in Paris, she worked as arts journalist and as a private museum guide.  Eventually, she realized that “everything I'd learned about France I'd learned autour de la table –around the table. So I decided to write about my experiences from the ‘market’ point of view, and include recipes with every chapter. That's how Lunch in Paris was born.”

On a last romantic jaunt before their baby arrived—he’s now five –the couple traveled down to the Luberon in Provence... and a chance encounter led them to the wartime home of the famous poet and WWII Resistance leader René Char, whom Gwendal had long admired.

“In what felt like a brush with fate, the house was for sale,” she remembers. “Something about it felt perfect--inevitable.” Under the spell of the house and its unique history—Char buried his most famous manuscript there--Elizabeth and Gwendal decide to up and move--lock, stock and Le Creuset--to the French countryside.

The full story of how they found their house is here.

‘’Almost as soon as we arrived in Céreste,’’ she continues, ‘’we knew we wanted our careers to become more local. Gwendal was working as an executive in Digital Cinema. In the spring of 2012, he got a call about a job with Warner Brothers. He’d never really wanted a studio job...he was more of an entrepreneur. We had a long think about what we really wanted and we realized we wanted to do something that would be fun for us and good for the town, something that would allow us share the amazing local flavors we’d discovered here: melons so juicy they drip down to your elbows, strawberries that taste like sunshine.” They spent a year getting things together--six months of vanilla testing!--and opened Scaramouche on a rainy day in April, 2013.

Word spread quickly and in August 2014, TripAdvisor published their list of the top ten ice cream parlors in France: Scaramouche was tied for #5.

Scaramouche is now a local mainstay and a destination. People come for classics like salted caramel ice cream and bitter cacao sorbet and come back for the odd ones: 1001 Nuits (Raz-el-Hanout ice cream with grilled almonds), Pastis sorbet, Rose geranium ice cream with pistachios, and a brand-new black truffle ice cream made with truffles from the nearby farm Les Pastras.

Elizabeth, Gwendal and their team make all their own ice creams and sorbets in a lab on the outskirts of town. They use raw milk from a dairy in Volx (don’t worry, the milk is pasteurized during the ice cream making process), organic eggs, and the best local fruit they can find. Flavors change with the season...and there’s always a line in June when the first tubs of cherry sorbet arrive.

For those who can’t make it to Cereste, the products can be found at La Bris de Glace in the center of Bonnieux, an ice cream shop launched a year ago by the owners of the restaurant Le Fournil next door. It’s also available at Luberon Paysan in Apt and Naturellement Paysan in Cousellet.  For more places, check the Scaramouche website.

And you can look for their ice cream truck--the "Scaramobile"--in and around Banon this summer.

Ok so what about the new book? Filled with recipes such as stuffed zucchini flowers, fig tart, and honey and thyme ice cream, Picnic in Provence is about love, family and building a business but also about a cook’s initiation into classic Provencal cuisine. Throughout, Elizabeth reminds us that life--in and out of the kitchen--is a rendezvous with the unexpected.

“If you had told me on my wedding day that, ten years later, I’d be standing in a field in Provence making small talk with skinny cows,” she writes on page 1, “I would have nodded politely and with a twist of my graduated pearls, said that you had mistaken me for someone else.” The skinny cows produce the perfect milk for the ice cream, by the way.

In advance of the book’s April 7 launch, positive reviews are streaming in. Kirkus Reviews said: "Like the Provençal food and lifestyle it celebrates, Bard's book is one to be savored slowly and with care. Delectable reading.”

Ok on to the giveaway! To enter to win a copy, just leave a comment below, under COMMENTS. Tell us about a lifelong dream of yours (fulfilled or not), or perhaps about your own experience taking a big leap of faith. Tell us your favorite summer ice cream story...or about the book you’re writing...or anything you feel like sharing! Just please be sure to leave us your email so we can reach you if you win. Bonne Chance!

If you’d like to go ahead and buy the book, it’s on Amazon here.

To contact Elizabeth, email her at: mylunchinparis@gmail.com. You can also find her in the following places:


Photos: The book, the shop on opening day, the happy couple.


50 comments:

  1. My dream is to visit Paris. I don't know whether it can come true but I do hope it will!

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  2. My dream is to take my daughter to France in a few years, when she's old enough to enjoy & experience the vineyards that inspire my writing!

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  3. My book "Falling In Love With France" was written as a dare from my husband of "He said, she said", while we traveled around France where we return each year to bask in the beauty of the countryside and richness of the culture.

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  4. wandapole@aol.comApril 3, 2015 at 5:17 PM

    Loved the first book, looking forward to the second, thanks

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  5. My dream is to speak French and play the guitar (both or which I do in a middling fashion). And, OK, eat ice cream,which I do very very will

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  6. My dream is to live in Provence so that picnics can be a regular part of life. When we have visited Provence, we always have a picnic. By the way, loved her first book!

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  7. My dream is to buy a villa in Provence and make it into a bed and breakfast to share with travelers the beauty and cuisine of the region.

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  8. Looking forward to this book. Happy Spring from Oregon, USA.

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  9. My dream is to become a better artist. I have now made a commitment to doing something "arty" every day and have started an art journal of our trip to France 3 years ago. Love revisiting the places we loved...especially in Provence.
    p.s. where do we leave our email in order to enter the contest to win a book?

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    1. Dear Anonymous,
      If you want you can email it to me: provenceblog@aol.com. Please cut and paste your comment with it so I know it's you. Thanks!
      :)

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  10. My favorite ice cream story is...two summers ago we visited Roussillon Village in Gordes. We heard wonderful things about So'Glace ice cream shop. My daughter ordered flower flavored ice cream. We sat outside enjoying the summer day eating our ice cream. My daughter had just dripped ice cream on her shirt and out of nowhere a bee came flying over. It went right to the spot where she had dripped, landed and stung her! We were able to get out the stinger and get some ice and she was fine the rest of the trip. We laugh at this story because that must have been some authentic flower ice cream!!!!

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  11. Julie,
    My dream is to visit Paris and France and so of course I love reading about this great city! I would be thrilled to have this book!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena


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  12. My dream is to return to Cereste for dinner at La Pastorale followed by ice cream from Scaramouche. I'm going to make that happen. In the meantime , I'd love to ready my palate with some of the recipes in Elizabeth's book.

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  13. My dream is to go back to Provence. St. Remy, Joel Durand chocolates, the markets are all so wonderful!

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  14. My dream is to live in France for a while. I did it as a student and have returned as a visitor/tourist, but I really want to become part of la vie française once again.

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  15. My dream is a return trip to southern France and hopefully get some ice cream at Scaramouche. I loved Elizabeth's first book and am looking forward to reading this one also.

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  16. Oooh what a lovely giveaway! My dream I'm working towards achieving is creating jewelry and traveling the world <3

    heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

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  17. My dream? Live in Provence .. for 6 months :)
    Thanks!

    jobarkwill@gmail.com

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  18. My life long dream is to visit Paris...and I am so excited because I am going to be there at the end of the month!
    I can hardly wait...to see the sights.
    I've booked a cooking course and will be on writer Jamie Cat Callan's Ooh La La Tour for a week and then will travel south to visit some dear friends...oh and I would love to win a new book on France...I adore novels set in France and French cookbooks.
    Thank you for offering this giveaway!

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  19. My dream is to find my own house in France, preferably somewhere around Nice or Vence. Need a househunting trip soon! I bet the recipes from the book will tide me over!
    anne@accidental-locavore.com

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  20. My dream is to live the Provence life in my own backyard. A vegetable garden and a few chickens for fresh eggs. Maybe go crazy and adopt a couple of goats? Then I could make my own goat cheese! Thank you for the chance.
    em9499 (at) gmail *dot* com

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  21. My Dream is to travel to France, but not to just sight see. I would love to go to a cooking class while there. Read Elizabeth Bard's first book and loved it! <3

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  22. My dream is to go to France with my husband. We have each been separately-but never together!

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  23. My dream was to travel as much as I possibly could. First my husband and I hit most of the United States except for Vermont and Alaska. Ten years ago we decided to see Europe and sail all its rivers. In Ten years, we have taken 9 cruises: two on the Mediterranean and seven on the Rhine, Mosel, Saar, Neckar, Rhone, Soane, Elbe and Danube. This year we do the Elbe again, spend time in Frankfurt and Prague and do the rivers and canals of the Berlin area. You can do whatever you want to do if you just put your mind to it, save your monies and live frugally. But the best part of these trips as been the food experiences in France, Germany, Austria, Hungry, Czech Republic, and Italy.

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  24. My dream: endless summer in provence

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  25. I would love to visit Bora Bora with my hubby..hopefully we will make it one day!

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  26. I was able to visit Provence with my sister. The allure and charm of Provence continues to call me back. Provence is in my soul and I cannot wait to return!

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  27. I am living my dream. Ten years ago I visited the Luberon and that visit led to a year long stint as a guardian of some vacation properties near the village of Saignon. It also led to annual winter visits to the area. Last summer I sold my house in Michigan and am not enjoying being a full time visitor (that's an oxymoron) and I'm writing a memoir about it.

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  28. We took the leap and moved to France just over 12 years ago. 9 years in the south and now in Normandy and Paris. Best decision we ever made!

    Can't wait to read Elizabeth's new book.
    louloufrance@gmail.com

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  29. Hi Julie, I'm one of the lucky ones… living my dream in the South of France. Now, I need to got over to Céreste for some of that ice cream! Charming story and as always, thanks for sharing. rainey.vivier@gmail.com

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  30. Looking forward to reading the next chapter and also to visiting Provence later this month! justanotheramericaninparis@yahoo.com

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  31. Looking forward to the second book and also to visiting Provence later this month. justanotheramericaninparis@yahoo.com

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  32. I'm brand new to The Provence Post - this is my very first newsletter - and I'm thrilled to be on board! A writer friend recommended you as essential reading among the fraternity of South-of-France writers (as I, too, have a blog called French Lessons based out of Antibes on www.frenchlessonsblog.com - but I only post new material during the summertime). Thank you for sharing the details of this new book. I personally adore the aforementioned figs; we have our own tree and for two weeks each year, I'm trying to work out what to do with them all! As for an ice cream story, my daughter's first young crush was on the son of our local gelato shop owner. The two of them were in petite maternelle together, but it wasn't until a good year later that we made the gelato connection. And only at that point did we realize: It was in that family's very shop that my husband gave our daughter her first taste of this cool sweetness (technically way too early in life, it should be said). On tasting the vanilla gelato, my daughter's little heels kicked enthusiastically at my hips from the comfort of her Baby Bjorn carrier. Jemma - jemma@frenchlessonsblog.com

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    1. Hi Jemma! Very pleased to meet you here and to learn about your great blog, which I started devouring late last night. I love Antibes and your stories provide such a great historical behind-the-scenes look at the area....really nice. Good luck in the book giveaway!

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    2. Thanks so much for reading, Julie! Really appreciate your kind words. Jemma

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    3. Hi again, Julie,
      I met Patricia Sands for coffee today and told her I'd been in touch with you in this way. She was the author friend who put me onto your blog a couple weeks ago, and she said today that I must introduce myself to you in this way. What a wonderful woman she is! Anyway, I'll enjoy following you this summer from just down the road. We'll be in Antibes from mid-June to early-September and I'll be posting in unison with you. Always wonderful to know that the solitary work isn't so solitary. All best, Jemma

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  33. My dream? To make our little 2 acre farm into my vision! Color, flowers, produce, charm and JOY! I would love to be chosen as a winner of this beautiful new book. Merci!

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  34. My dream is to LIVE IN FRANCE, more specifically, the south of France! I am currently conducting a personal project, which will hopefully result in an experience-based, interactive book -- somewhat like Elizabeth Bard's book(s). Can't wait to read the newest!!
    kristinaeisenhower@gmail.com or ke@krisellaneous.com

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    1. What a wonderful project you started! Success!!

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  35. i love visiting my friend Sharon De Rham in Provence so i know i will enjoy the book,,,Dotti C.

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  36. I adore this genre of book, and hope to write one sometime soon. I'm currently spending 5 weeks in Provence, so this would be perfect reading! smpayton@gmail.com

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  37. I have been to the Luberon Provence twice and feel as though I lived there in another life...just LOVE it there.
    When we retire, a dream would be... to stay there for a month each year and explore each small village more closely.

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  38. I wrote my first children's book, Paris-Chien: Adventures of an expat dog, about an American expat terrier struggling to learn the language and make new friends, after living in Paris for a few months. It was actually my story. My second book, Hudson in Provence, is coming out in May. We'll be in Menerbes this summer and will try to visit Céreste. I just ordered a copy of Elizabeth's book, but wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself and thank you for your blog. jackie@parischienbook.com

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    1. Hi Jackie! How exciting about your new book...make sure to let us know when it's out. And thanks for the nice words about my blog. All the Best!

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  39. I´m writing a book about feelings. And maybe it is also about my own life.
    mmyheartishere@gmail.com

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  40. Julie, my dream is to live in Cannes on a permament basis: -) I enjoyed very much decorating my appartment in Cannes and now I am spending all my vacation time in France; I plan to retire there one day. But in the meantime, I'm a kind of 'sampling my retirement', and I'm preoccupied with thoughts of how to make my stays longer: -)
    I would appreciate to have a copy of the book. The pefect reading for my next trip.
    Just returned from Alsace where we were with the family for the Easter long weekend... and I found this nice read on your blog... Thank you!
    nnedkov@yahoo.com (maya)

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  41. My lifelong dream to visit Provence came true in 2003 when my husband and I spent two weeks there. I have been blessed to return there (with my very generous husband) every 2-3years and explore a different part of this region. Every time I walk the streets of Provence, I feel like I have come "home." I must have been French in another life! Another dream will come true as we return to Provence this fall to celebrate my first year of retirement and a big birhday. I have Elizabeth's first book, and it's charming. I'd love to add its new partner to my book collection.

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  42. France is absolutely amazing, every region has it's own charm and I really enjoyed your writting ... Thanks !

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  43. My dream is to live a nomadic life. As a writer, I travel a lot and I've lived in both the US and France, but I think I'd be happy with no home base....simply traveling. Unfortunately, my husband does not agree.

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  44. I am on a mission of reading memoirs about Paris. :)

    poetryinleaves(at)gmail.com

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