“À table, les enfants!”
The title of Martine Nouet’s new book, à table: whisky from glass to plate, intriguingly hints towards French influence. Martine was born in Normandy and from a very early age she remembers the joy of her mother’s summons to the table, “À table, les enfants!” In her own words Martine reveals how her childhood shaped the book:
“Those magical words still resound in my memory as a prelude to delight. I was the first to rush to the dining table. Always hungry, breathing in the delicious aromas of the chicken roasting in the oven or the crème caramel which would make my day, I was the happiest girl in the world. I still experience the same thrill of pleasure each time I come to the table, especially if friends are joining me. This is why I chose this title, which symbolizes two of my favourite ways of being: sharing and enjoying.”
While it is not surprising that Martine’s chosen career centered upon food and drink, what is surprising is her transition from France to Scotland. Martine first discovered whisky when she was working as a journalist, covering food and drink in France. In 1990, still working in this area, she visited the Isle of Islay, famous for its single malt whiskies. She recounts how, descending from the plane and before her feet had even touched the ground, she was smitten with the purity of the sea-salted air. There and then she wished that Islay would one day become her home. In 2001 she found a cottage in need of renovation and seven years later, in 2008, she settled into her new Hebridean home.
But it was not just the island; whisky too captivated her heart. Since that first visit to Scotland, Martine has established herself as an acclaimed whisky and food writer. She hosts dinners world-wide, introducing her guests to the sensory delights of pairing a particular whisky to a food counterpart to enhance its true essence. Anyone who attends a session with Martine leaves enthused and it has long been demanded that she produce a cookbook. Here it is at last!
à table: whisky from glass to plate is priced £20 and published by Ailsa Press.
‘The café was like the wayward child of one of Europe’s great metropolitan cities’
‘We learn about the bagpipe in Mediterranean countries’