GUEST POST: Patricia Sands

Today I’m tickled pink to introduce you to a sweet writerly friend of mine, Patricia Sands.  Patricia is the author of THE BRIDGE CLUB, a finalist for ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year.  How cool is that?

Anybody who knows writers, knows we spend a good deal of time in our heads daydreaming, ahem, working.  Sometimes our daydreams take us to lovely places across the pond, like France…and other times they drive us to the delicious cheese shop around the corner…

And sometimes, both.


I’ve been in France all week … well, okay, in my mind … and I know that’s not the same as actually being there in person. But almost … really … I’ve been working on my next novel for several hours every day and my characters are in France so of course I’m right with them.

We’ve been driving the winding backroads of the Luberon region in Provence,

hiking the hills, inhaling the aromatic fragrances of lavender, rosemary,thyme,

exploring the enticing warrens of ancient laneways in picturesque villages,

drinking perfectly chilled rosé

and, of course, enjoying the most amazingly delicious gastronomic interludes (i.e. eating – but that word just doesn’t cut it in France).

My DH kept encouraging me to take a break but I simply didn’t want to leave France. When I finally did surface to acknowledge I have another life and do some grocery shopping this afternoon, I had only one thing on my mind. BRIE!

There happens to be, what my friend Natalie Hartford would describe as an AHHHsomely, überlicious, epicurean emporium in our neighbourhood called The Cheese Boutique. Don’t let the name fool you, this place is magic (and will be the subject of a later post). If you ever want to feel like you have stepped into a shop in France, it’s right here. After immersing myself in all things Français this week, I couldn’t stop thinking about having a perfect slice – or two – of Brie.

I was rewarded. The rosé is chilling and as soon as I finish this post, I’m actually going to have a conversation with my DH and we will eat Brie. I’ve been kind of *absent* this week.

Here are a few facts you might find interesting:

Legend has it that in the eighth century, French Emperor Charlemagne first tasted this cheese at a monastery in Reuil-en-Brie and fell instantly in love with its creamy, rich flavor. The favorites of kings eventually become favorites of the people. Louis XVI’s last and dying wish was supposedly to have a final taste of Brie. Hmm – well it makes for a good story.

This soft cow’s cheese was originally referred to as the “King’s Cheese” but after the French Revolution any reference to “the king” was a major non-non so Brie was called the “King of Cheeses”.

Legitimate Brie must be made in the Seine-et-Marne area south of Paris, but many countries now commercially manufacture a similar cheese which is sold as Brie. For the best taste, look for the French label.
Of the 400+ kinds of cheese made in France, Brie is considered the most popular. In fact, the fromagier extraordinaire we got to know in Antibes told us it was obigatory to serve Brie after a meal if you have French guests. Obligatoire!
Make sure you always serve Brie at least at room temperature. Here’s a website with more recipes for making appetizers with Brie than I ever imagined possible. Bon appetit!

22 thoughts on “GUEST POST: Patricia Sands

  1. Catherine Johnson says:

    I adore all things French, my aunt who is french and lives in Paris plays bridge. I’m more Camembert and Pont Leveque than Briee even though they all look the same. Thanks for the nostalgia trip. I’ll definitely look out for the book. All the best!

  2. Judythe Morgan says:

    Patricia your book sounds wonderful, and as a former bridge club member I can so relate. My husband works for a French company so we’ve been to France. It is a fascinating place and the food to die for. The servings are always small and delicious even when I have no idea waht I’m ordering. !
    Thanks for having Patricia, Myndi.

    • patriciasands says:

      Hey Judythe – I hope your bridge club was as much fun as mine. Sometimes they can be a bit too serious about the game and that was SO not us! I mean, it’s a great game but the other “stuff” you share with your friends is what really counts.

  3. patriciasands says:

    Hey Myndi – It’s a pleasure to be hanging out on your blog today! How’s the lovefest going at your house? Keep sending us the fabulous photos which bring such smiles to everyone and warm the cockles of our hearts! We share your happiness.

  4. Sherry Isaac says:

    Patricia, you live so close, yet I have to go to France, or Myndi’s post, to spend the morning with you! (Too early for a glass of wine? Pshaw!)

    I soooooo want to go to France. And a million other places. For those exotic locales I can’t visit in person, I have books like yours to take me there. Ah.

  5. susielindau says:

    Sounds fabulous! Congrats on your book. My WIP takes place there and although I have been there, it was a few years ago…I am ready for another trip!
    You gotta love how that glass of wine was poured!

    • patriciasands says:

      Oh yeah! The restaurant owner was a hoot and said – in French, of course – when one orders a ‘glass’ of wine, they deserve a full glass. The first sip was a bit tricky! I want to know more about your WIP!

  6. Ginger Calem says:

    Oh, I love me some brie. Actually I love most good quality cheeses. They are a super indulgent treat for me. Loved all the photos. Thanks for the trip into beautiful! 🙂

  7. CC MacKenzie says:

    Wow, Patricia, that’s full glass of Rose on that table, they couldn’t have squeezed any more into it, lol! Just how I like it.

    Congratulations on the book. The flower growing regions of France are amazing and the scent of the lavender fields especially at dusk is enough to make a person punch drunk. Many small growers who develop the purest oils are snapped up by the big boys. But some still distil oils in the old ways and develop their own perfums.

    Great post!

    • patriciasands says:

      LOL – the first sip was tricky!

      You are so right about the scent of lavender! When I stepped out of the car to take some photos, I nearly fell over it was so amazingly strong. There are many small farms that proudly produce and sell their own products and one hopes they continue in spite of the “big boys”. I love lavender honey!

  8. Karen Rought says:

    Fabulous post. This makes me miss France. I tried a handful of different cheeses while I was there and was so sad that I didn’t like most of them. I was really looking forward to trying all of them, but I just couldn’t handle it. I think I was on the fence about Brie. I wish I could remember the ones I *did* like!

  9. Debra Eve says:

    Loved this, Patricia. I want to retire to one of those little villages and write, drink wine and eat fabulous food until I’m 100. Thanks, Myndi!

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