Culinary Tales: Books That Whisk You Away to Foreign Kitchens

*Travel essentials including boarding passes, sunglasses, a smartphone with earphones, a passport, and a model airplane on a world map.

Books and food are two of life’s simple pleasures. Here at Once Upon a Book Club, we can’t wait to start our culinary tales—a journey where the pages of books quickly transform into the clatter of pots surrounded by aromas that have us dashing for our aprons and heading to the kitchen.

We’re not talking about recipe books but culinary literature, where food is not just about a meal but becomes the storyteller. We all have food that evokes memories. For some of us, it is the smell of the cookies our grandmothers would bake; for others, it's the smell of a Sunday roast.

So, grab a coffee or a glass of wine, sit back, and relax while we tempt you with glorious tales and food! We love how some books masterfully combine food with rich storylines, tempting our taste buds and taking us to distant lands.

A world map created with various spices and herbs, representing different regions with ingredients like chili peppers, star anise, and cumin.0

Global Cuisine Through Culinary Tales

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Picturesque Italy, romance, and ice cream—what more could you want? Love & Gelato takes you on a summer filled with revelations and creamy delights. Get ready to join the protagonist, Lina, as she discovers her family's past and explores the wonders of Italian cuisine—gelato obviously being top of the list!

This is perfect for those of you who love lighthearted romances with a touch of adventure and those all-important mother-daughter relationships. Get ready for a journey of self-discovery, love, and gelato as you roam the Tuscan countryside.

Book cover of 'Ramón and Julieta' featuring a couple in love against a bright yellow background with festive decorations


Ramón and Julieta by Alana Quintana Albertson

Set in vibrant San Diego with its strong Mexican influence, Ramón and Julieta is a love story spiced with tacos and salsa. This romantic tale is as flavorful as your favorite Mexican dish! We know you will love the emotional lighthearted romance with its winning recipe of ingredients like star-crossed lovers, the warmth of Mexican culture combined with a whole lot of passion for food!

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

This one will capture you from the first page. From the Caribbean to Europe, Black Cake is a story of a dramatic inheritance, betrayals, family secrets, and a mysterious black cake recipe that must be shared at just the right time.

Eleanor Bennet leaves behind an inheritance that will change her two children’s lives forever. 

  • A black cake made from a family recipe with a very long history and a voice recording. 
  • Secrets unimagined
  • A long-lost child 

…. and a challenge to everything they thought they knew!

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Vérant

Travel to France through the pages of The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux! This is perfect for those of you who love stories about self-discovery with a splash of cultural heritage and a lot of French flavors that literally waft off the pages!

Sophie dreams of being part of the 1% of female chefs running a Michelin-starred restaurant, but sabotage ruins her reputation and confidence. And if that wasn’t enough, her grandmother has had a stroke taking Sophie back to France. Join Sophie as she rediscovers her passion, her roots, and her sense of purpose. 

Book cover of 'Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors' with a vibrant red background, decorated with food illustrations and cultural motifs

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

This novel takes you to the bustling Bay Area of the United States, where Indian-American cultures blend seamlessly. Nothing like the smell of a great biryani to get your taste buds going! 

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors is perfect for fans of contemporary romance, especially if you love the enemies-to-lovers trope. This lighthearted but emotional novel beautifully explores family, identity and the power of love to overcome all obstacles, even cultural divides! 

Book cover of 'Mastering the Art of French Murder' by Colleen Cambridge, featuring a knife against a patterned green background.

Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge

Mastering the Art of French Murder is set in beautiful France and stirs together murder and gastronomy. 

As Paris rediscovers its joie de vivre, Tabitha Knight, recently arrived from Detroit for an extended stay with her French grandfather, is on her own journey of discovery. Paris isn’t just the City of Light; it’s the city of history, romance, stunning architecture . . . and food. Thanks to her neighbor and friend Julia Child, another expat who’s fallen head over heels for Paris, Tabitha is learning how to cook for her Grandpère and Oncle Rafe.

But murder is on the horizon, and there are far too many connections to Tabitha! Grab your own copy of our stunning, exclusive, custom edition of Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge as featured in our May 2023 "The Sleuth and the Chef" box! Our edition includes:

⁠- a custom-designed dust jacket⁠

- beautifully foiled hard case⁠

- stenciled edges⁠

- themed end papers⁠

The Perfect Bookish Culinary Accessories

A recipe book titled 'The Book Recipe Book' on a white background, surrounded by kitchen utensils like measuring spoons, a whisk, and a wooden spoon

As you travel the culinary world, you will definitely need this stunning, wood-covered recipe book titled The Book Recipe Book. Inside are over 200 pages for various types of recipes. On each recipe page is a spot to include where the recipe is from—either person, place, or book! So many books inspire us to cook the foods we read about—if you are inspired, write it down so you'll always remember that story each time you make the dish in the future. 

We all need a great set of knives, and we have just what you need: a three-piece custom-printed knife set with mint handles. It includes a paring knife, chef knife, and cleaver. These knives are custom-printed with Agatha Christie book pages! From our May 2023 Adult box featuring Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge.

This one is for the bakers! A set of 12 purple and yellow silicone cupcake liners. Packaged in an adorable pink stove-shaped box. Included in our June 2022 Adult box featuring Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley.


We love how books always teach us something—whether it’s tempting us to try a new recipe, visit a different country, or discover something about ourselves—when combined with the wonderful world of food, we can’t help but feel we have found a winner!

We would love to hear if you have any other must-reads that have whisked you away to foreign kitchens. Share your favorite culinary travel tales in the comments below. Happy reading and happy cooking!  

Check out our blog on The Ultimate Bookish Date Night: How to Plan a Literary-Inspired Evening and create a book-themed dinner!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.