Festival du Livre Culinaire - Paris Cookbook Fair 2013

Phew, in the last two weeks I've been around - Cologne - Paris - Dusseldorf - Barcelona and finally I'm back in Cologne. As you may have noticed on my Facebook page and as I have already announced, on the 23rd of February it had hit me in the city of love! On a culinary mission, of course. Together with Steph from the curio shop I traveled to Paris on a really cold Saturday. The occasion was the annual "Paris Cook Book Fair" (this year from 22 to 24 February 2013), hosted by Gourmand International.

I've been following for years this fair and every year I am considering whether to go there or not. The route Cologne-Paris is thanks to the Thalys really a no brainer, but so far it always failed to fellow travelers and usually I was the trip for a day trip then simply too expensive. Fairs always come so suddenly ...

This year, however, the fair was held for the first time in the beautiful Carrousel du Louvre, in the heart of Paris, with an invitation from Buchcontact and with Steph I had a wonderful fellow traveler with whom I was allowed to travel to Paris on behalf of Hüttenhilfe. So far I have reviewed two cookbooks for Hüttenhilfe's cookbook reviews and Steph and I should now have a look at the fair together and talk about it. And that's exactly what I am doing here.

So we met in the city of love on a dull and icy Saturday at the end of February and headed off to the cheery "Festival du Livre Culinaire" in the Carrousel du Louvre ...

As a self-confessed collector and passionate reader of German and English cookbooks and cookbooks, I had great expectations for this special fair. The awards have been presented since 1995, and since 2009, the best and most beautiful cookbooks of the year are regularly honored and awarded in Paris every year. Exhibitors from 171 countries have been exhibited again this year, reflecting the wide variety of unique and national cookbooks.

The Best in the World Award ceremony took place in three steps:

  • First, there was a national referendum in early December 2012 for all books published in the past 12 months.February 2013 saw the annual Best in the World Award ceremony for the Festival du Livre Culinaire

In addition to the awards ceremony on Saturday night, there was one from Friday to Sunday Exhibition of the nominated books, a fair and a supporting program with podium discussions, cooking shows and lectures. The host country this year was finally Italy after 2011 and China 2012 finally. You are clearly the leading nation in terms of sales of cookbooks. By comparison, Germany ranks second, but the US sells five times as many cookbooks as Germany. Surely I have to strike a little bit more than I already do ...

The framework program of the fair was aimed primarily at publishers, authors and other trade visitors, who are primarily interested in buying and selling of licenses and rights. There were also some round tables and lectures on the future of bookstores, rights buying, international cooking book trends, etc.

There was also a show kitchen with screenings by well-known (TV) chefs, recipes from their current or nominated ones Books cooked. We briefly watched the show by Gianfranco Vissani from Italy. The name was completely unknown to me until now, but in Italy he seems to be a star, has his own TV shows and brings out cookbooks. All in all, I have to say that apart from Annabel Langbein and Chakall, I knew very few of the prominent cooks and authors present.

In the entrance area of ​​the fair, there was an exhibition of all nominated books. The division took place according to countries, the presentation of the books was overall but kept quite simple and seemed a bit loveless with little light on some rickety shelves and some randomly standing around tables. But you could browse through the books in peace and study.Of course there were some special exceptions (for example "cooking with insects" in Dutch), but there were no big surprises or really extraordinary new books.
I was glad to be able to watch in peace, but overall the atmosphere of this exhibition had an effect a bit desolate and sad. I would have liked a more appealing presentation - the rather unusual location would have certainly allowed this.
Below this gallery was the bar, where mainly the wine books were presented and there were discussions and lectures on this topic. Around it there was a small sandwich stand and 2-3 smaller exhibitors with products such as jam and ham. All in all, there was nothing going on, there were only a handful of people gathered to listen to the lectures.
It went on into the exhibition hall - according to the catalog there should be more than 80 exhibitors, but overall it was much less. Many stalls looked very grazed or were completely abandoned. The fair stands themselves were usually very simple and kept as standard, and I would have expected much more in advance, be it in the form of attractive stand equipment or a beautiful presentation of the books.

In addition to the pure publishing stands (as far as I could see, one could only buy books directly from Phaidon), there was a small stall at the back of the well-known Paris cooking school "Le Cordon Bleu", the art Presented sugars and demonstrated locally. The result is sure to be a matter of taste ...

There was also a small section with an exhibition of older books.

And finally, there was a small stage with the show kitchen. The place was also rather cramped and more than 50 people could not attend the shows without being able to see anything.

After a tour of the sometimes unappealing and, above all, a few remaining stalls, we left the fair again after about 2 hours and walked a bit through Paris. I do not know if the fair was already so orphaned, because in the evening the award ceremony should take place or if Saturday in general was more of a bad visiting day, but overall the whole event seemed to me rather bleak. But that may also be because I was traveling not as a trade visitor, but as an interested cookbook collector and for my taste have seen little new and exciting.

However, inquiries at individual stalls revealed that the exhibiting publishers were very satisfied with the event. Apparently there was a lot of networking and new contacts to market their own books. The really big publishers have in my opinion but completely missing. Only three small German publishers exhibited, but from other countries such as the UK and the United States, I missed the big well-known publishing houses completely.The potential is there, but in my eyes it failed because of the implementation. All in all, as a visitor I was not very enthusiastic about the offer and the presentation. Even if the fair was very special and that would be the chance to convince in this sector, she could not captivate me. It just lacked books and publishers.

Except for the discovery of a Swedish cookbook publisher who presented beautiful books, the trip to the Paris Cookbook Fair did not suit me personally worth it. I would not go there again. I prefer to look in advance which publishers are interested in me and then look at the stands in Frankfurt, where I can buy many things locally. Finally, we could have a nice afternoon in Paris, eat well and drink and buy some French specialties. Steph is a wonderful travel companion and we were able to pass the time very nicely - even if the actual reason for the trip was rather disappointing.

Many thanks to the Alin and Sebastian from the Hüttenhilfe for the invitation to Paris!