Yes, it’s an odd title, and the book is not about food, so how did it end up like this?
When you write your first book and begin trying to find your way into the world of publishing, every author feels elated to have a publisher say ‘YES’ and assumes they must know exactly what they are doing.
Trying to set my book apart from others in a similar genre, my editor decided to go left field.
Did it work? Well, they sold tens of thousands of books, especially in UK where Simon & Schuster published, and in USA where they distributed, so VB and B did prove its worth several fold and financially it was a great success. We had all the hype of UK book launches, television and radio, touring to speak about Montalcino, but in the long term I feel the title did not have staying power, whereas the story itself has the capacity to live on, indefinitely, and will never date. You can read it today and find the same joy I found when I arrived in Montalcino.
I wrote Vanilla Beans & Brodo after I had been living in Montalcino for around 8 years, long enough to begin to grasp the way of life in this small medieval village. It is not a story about me, although I’m in the book, and its not a story about foreigner-makes-good in Tuscany, but it’s the story of the village and its citizens. People tell me they have read VB & B four or even five times, wanting to grasp what took me, in the end, 23 years living in Montalcino to understand.