12 food films to watch during quarantine

Babette’s Feast (1987)

A favourite of chefs, Danish drama Babette’s Feast is based on a story by Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa. The first Danish movie to win an Oscar for best foreign language film, the 19th century tale revolves around pious Protestant sisters Martine and Philippa, who grow to spinsterhood under the wrathful eye of their strict pastor father on the forbidding and desolate coast of Jutland.

One day, Philippa’s former suitor sends a Parisian refugee named Babette to serve as the family cook. Babette’s lavish celebratory banquet to celebrate the pastor’s 100th birthday tempts the family’s dwindling congregation, who previously shunned the pleasures of the flesh. Paid for by Babette’s winning lottery ticket, the French feast involves an array of exotic ingredients sourced from Paris, where Babette used to work as the head chef at the Café Anglais.

The role of Babette was originally offered to Catherine Deneuve but ended up being given to Stéphanie Audran. Among the dishes served during the feast were turtle soup with amontillado Sherry; buckwheat pancakes with caviar and sour cream served with Veuve Clicquot; quail in puff pastry with a foie gras and truffle sauce served with Clos Vougeot; and French cheeses paired with Sauternes. 

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