Literary supper club pairs food with books

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014. Filed under: Books Destinations Entertainment Food & Dining Home & Garden Offbeat
Rose and vanilla marshmallows for a supper club based on Michael Ende's "Momo" ©Chantal Hintze

Rose and vanilla marshmallows for a supper club based on Michael Ende’s “Momo”
©Chantal Hintze

(Relaxnews) – A dining concept in Amsterdam has twinned the passions of bookworms and food lovers into a literary-themed dinner series.

Every two months, The Bookish Banquet hosts a dinner party themed after a classic novel for an event that’s part book club, part multi-course dining experience.

It started as a one-off, Alice in Wonderland dinner party in Bristol, England: Guests were invited to dress up and chef Chantal Hintze served up rabbit stew in pastry top hats.

The evening’s success inspired the chef and self-confessed bookworm to continue the concept when she moved to Amsterdam, this time with a more literary focus, she said.

The Impossible Island from "Life of Pi" interpreted as black rice balls with yuzu and edible flowers ©Chantal Hintze

The Impossible Island from “Life of Pi” interpreted as black rice balls with yuzu and edible flowers
©Chantal Hintze

Most recently, diners gathered around the award-winning novel “Life of Pi” by Canadian author Yann Martel and revisited key scenes of the book with courses like “After the Storm” and “Learning to fish” via dishes like braised beef cheeks and banana chips, black rice balls with yuzu and salmon-topped blinis.

A Sherlock Holmes-themed dinner party featured mini pigeon pies with chestnut puree to represent “A Journey through London Town,” while “A flower from Professor Hora” was re-created into an edible flower pot with rose and vanilla marshmallows.

Braised beef cheeks with plantain chips and salad for "Life of Pi" ©Chantal Hintze

Braised beef cheeks with plantain chips and salad for “Life of Pi”
©Chantal Hintze

Throughout the evening, guests are also invited to discuss the themes of the book.

Hintze cut her teeth working at her family’s cafe in Marrakesh before moving on to Yotam Ottolenghi’s deli in London.

It’s a dining concept that has also seen growth in film, with edible cinema events popping up around the world.

In London, food is synchronized with the film that’s being projected in order to add another sensory dimension to the movie-watching experience.

During a scene in “Pan’s Labyrinth” in which characters run through a pine forest, for example, patrons at Edible Cinema were given pine-smoked popcorn to evoke the sensation of the trees and the sound of the needle-laden forest floor.

And at Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn, chefs create film and food pairings that include dishes like crispy pork belly, blood orange gastrique, and a “Bucket of Blood” cocktail during a screening of the horror flick “Carrie.”

The next Bookish Banquet dinner is set for May 25 and will be themed after “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

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