After Philip Kazan and his “Appetite” there is another author and his narrative that treat the topic of food. It’s the “The Empress of Ice Cream” by Anthony Capella. The two books are quite similar as the main handsome and attractive characters are from Florence who share one and the same passion for scents and tastes, live almost in similar historic times, love the lady of their heart strongly and truly and last but not least their lives are connected with the most powerful men and kingdoms of those times. But probably a difference between them exists and it’s rooted in the food masterpieces they create.
Unlike Nino’s destiny who shares his cooking skills in Italy of those times, Carlo Demirco’s fame goes beyond it and reaches France and the United Kingdom. The young Florentine boy starts as a servant of a Persian master of ice delights like juice cordial (from crashed ice), granite (frozen water with rose syrup and oranges), sherbets (from milk mixed up with mastic or cardamom) and many others. He learns many of the trade secrets that were protected eagerly in old and dirty notebooks with leather covers by only several Persian families in the court of Shah Abbas from Isfahan. And this talented lad steals them from his Persian protector and from de’ Medici. I’ll open a bracket here. The Habsburg of Naples as well as the House of Medici in Florence were notorious for their skills to add snow and ice in their wines and desserts and that’s why Firenze has been known as the Mecca of ice cream ever since. The bracket is closed.
And … Demirco leaves for France (bringing the Persian ice cream trade secrets in his head) where he finds the protection of the Sun King, Louis XIV, who makes possible for them to be spread even beyond his Kingdom. While being the king’s personal ice cream maker, Carlo meets his lady – Louise de Keroualle, a 21-year old proud and beautiful woman from an old noble but currently poor French family. He falls in love with her and their destinies are intertwined but their souls are separated at the same time. They both get involved in political games aiming to form alliances between the two kings (Louis and the King of England – Charles II). That’s the reason why the two main characters are sent to the United Kingdom where she becomes Charles’s mistress while Demirco becomes his ice cream maker.
This is really an extremely captivating novel with real-life historic figures and fictional characters. This is a fascinating food narrative in which a bowl of ice cream and the body of a mistress can change the fate of peoples and countries. And last but not least it’s a love story about the icy Empress and the ice cream maker who unfortunately, cannot meld her heart …… 🙂