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I drank Normandy farmhouse cider, ate strawberries dipped in red wine then sugar, and tasted truffles and soft goat cheeses for the first time. I returned to Australia inspired to become a food writer.
France bewitched Barbara Santich as a student in the early 1970s. She vowed to return, and soon enough she did – with husband and infant twins in tow.
Wild Asparagus, Wild Strawberries tells the story of the magical two years that followed. Buoyed by naive enthusiasm, Barbara and her husband launched themselves into French village life, a world of winemaking, rabbit raising, cherry picking and exuberant 14 Juillet celebrations.
Here we see the awakening of Barbara Santich’s lifelong love affair with food history. And also a lost France, ‘when the 19th century almost touched hands with the 21st’. Shepherds still led their flocks to pasture each day and, even near the bustling towns, wild strawberries hid at the forest’s edge.
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