Anyone who knows Nathalie Dupree will agree that this petite woman is actually larger than life. She’s a woman of the world whose zest for life is a surprise for those who first meet her, much like the taste of fresh lemon zest in one of her recipes. She is vibrant, scintillating, and unforgettable.
Nathalie is the grande dame not only of southern cooking but of the Charleston author scene as well. This South Carolina native is an award-winning chef, instructor, television star, food writer, and bestselling author of 15 cookbooks, a few of which have earned her the prestigious James Beard Award. I can’t count how many times she has hosted author events in her downtown Charleston home. Her parties are a literary institution in the Holy City.
Many moons ago when I was a new author in the city, Nathalie hosted a luncheon for me, introducing me to other women authors in the Lowcountry. We’ve been friends ever since. Our relationship cemented, however, when she went on a trip to France with her husband, professor and author Jack Bass, while he taught a “year abroad” program. My college-age son at the time, Zachary, was in the class and Nathalie was mother hen to my child and all the students that year. She made sure they were well fed, and she even let me know when Zack needed a warmer coat!
Since then I’ve counted Nathalie and Jack among my closest friends. Both of us work very hard, travel a lot, and have little free time, but whenever I reunite with Nathalie, my heart soars at the sight of her wide grin. One of my cherished memories with Nathalie was a luncheon she served for a small group of women at her home. The meal, as expected, was amazing. But what I remember most was the dessert. She carried out what looked like a giant snowball! We were agog. Then she cut into it and inside was a dark chocolate cake that melted in my mouth. I not only loved the taste but I adored the presentation. I begged her for the recipe and now I serve it to my family every Christmas. They demand it!
Nathalie kindly granted me permission to share the Chocolate Snowball recipe in my holiday novel, A Lowcountry Christmas, along with several other holiday recipes from her newest cookbook Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, which she co-wrote with Cynthia Graubart. These recipes are Nathalie’s gift to me, and now it is my gift to you this holiday season.
If you make one of the recipes in the back of my holiday novel, post a photo of your culinary accomplishment. I’d love to see it and hear what you think about the recipes too.
And to celebrate the holiday spirit of giving, we’re giving away a great prize to one lucky winner– a copy of A Lowcountry Christmas and a copy of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, plus holiday cookie cutters. Just go to my Facebook page here and post a comment to enter the contest.