Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: The Empress of Ice Cream by Anthony Capella

For the king's pleasure!

Anthony Capella is well known for his books with a food theme and in this one he whips up a delicious concoction from the combination of two unlikely companions.

The story begins with Carlo Demirco as a young apprentice in Italy learning the art of making ice desserts. A small mistake one day shows him there is potential for making an ice with a creamy consistency and from then on he pours all his energy into achieving this.
By 1670 his mastery of this new art has brought him wealth, women and a position at the court of Louis XIV of France.

Louise de Keroulle by Peter Lely
It is here he meets and falls for the beautiful Louise de Keroulle, lady-in-waiting to Madame who is Louis's sister-in-law and sister to Charles II of England.After the premature death of Madame , Louise and Carlo are sent to England as a little sweet temptation to ensure Charles' support for Louis' political plans.

The weary decadence of Charles II's court with it's petty intrigues and vicious backstabbing is vividly described - not a pleasant place to be although cameo appearances by the irrepressible Nell Gwyn add some down to earth humour.

Carlo and Louise alternate in telling the story which gives two perpectives to the events happening and as time goes on two very different decisions about what each wants from life.
I really liked the quotes at the beginning of each chapter - Carlo has recipes from the Book of Ices which have the most intriguing ingredients , and Louise has excerpts from letters and articles of the time.

The perfect mix of fact and fiction, the history of ice cream and a royal mistress, a well written and entertaining book that will appeal to all lovers historical fiction . I loved it!

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sphere, 2010

Historical Fiction Challenge
Royal Mistress Challenge


  1. I hadn't heard of this author before so thanks for reviewing the book. It sounds like a fun read!

  2. I have read three Capella books, and really enjoyed two of them, and the other, well, not quite so much! I do want to read this one though!