White Truffles in Winter

By N.M. Kelby

ISBN: 9781846882470

320 pages

RRP: £6.39

White Truffles in Winter imagines the world of the remarkable French chef Auguste Escoffier, who changed how we eat through his legendary restaurants at the Savoy and the Ritz. A man of contradictions – kind yet imperious, food-obsessed yet rarely hungry – Escoffier was also torn between two women: the famous, beautiful, and reckless actress Sarah Bernhardt and his wife, the independent and sublime poet Delphine Daffis. In the last year of his life, he returns to Delphine, who requests a dish in her name in the same way as he has honoured Bernhardt, Queen Victoria and many others. But how can even the best chef in the world define the complexity of love on a single plate?

N.M. Kelby brings us the sensuality of food and love amid a world on the verge of war in this work that shimmers with beauty and longing.


  • A vivid and detailed reconstruction of a bygone era.

    The Independent

  • Kelby conjures a pre-World War II world where food is almost as good as love.


  • ‘Food is a thing of enchantment,' says Escoffier, the chef credited with pioneering the modern dining experience, and Kelby's tale, gorgeously written, is sprinkled with the same magical allure.

    Voted Paperback of the Month by The Good Book Guide

  • Beautifully layered and lovingly detailed … a tale of extraordinary people entangled in a captivating love story.

    Diana Abu-Jaber

  • Fabulous conceit … bon appétit.

    Good Housekeeping

  • For lovers of food and reading, there's a delectable new gem out, which weaves a sensual tale around famous French chef and writer Auguste Escoffier (1846–1935) and the two leading ladies in his life.

    Sunday Mail Brisbane

  • Gastronomy-writing is like erotica: it excites the appetite. Kelby depicts a man of his time, but ahead of it, too. The book is sumptuous and sensual in its detail.

    Herald Sun

  • In this fictional retelling of the couple's last days, Madam is determined to make Escoffier produce a dish that captures her soul and their lives together, in the hope the world will not forget their love. The book is an elegant and eloquent recreation of how relationships age and mature.

    The Illawarra Mercury

  • Nicole's writing is sumptuous and beautiful, a sensual experience to match that of eating the dishes she describes, from gallons of homely tomato sauce to a julienne of black spring truffles perfumed like new grass.

    The Historical Novel Magazine

  • This is such a romantic, sensual book full of deep passionate, yearning that fulfills its own promise that 'Nothing speaks more accurately to the complexity of life than food’.

  • Wonderfully researched account of this enigmatic man’s life. Yet one knows it is a novel by the beautifully poetic descriptions by the author. She has a real talent with words, and this story of love on so many levels is memorable. I shall keep it on my book shelf and remember how much I enjoyed it.

    Yorkshire Gazette & Herald

N.M. Kelby

N.M. Kelby worked as a journalist, editor and educator before turning her hand to fiction. She is the critically acclaimed author of In the Company of Angels, Whale Season and the Florida Book Award-winner A Travel Guide for Reckless Hearts. Her books have been translated into several languages.

Read an interview with N.M. Kelby here