Saturday, June 18, 2022

Weekend Cooking/Blog Tour: Millefoglie from A Wedding in Tuscany by Sandy Barker

I have long been obsessed with Paris and France as a destination, but this year I have added Italy to my list of obsessions. I mean, Italy has always been somewhere I wanted to return to, but right now if I see a book with something Italian in the title I stop and take a closer look. And now we are planning to visit Italy early next year, along with Netherlands and France so I am even more attracted to such books.

And so it was that I saw that this book was available for a blog tour through Rachels Random Resources so I said yes, both because ....Italy and also because Sandy Barker is an Australian author that I have thought about reading for a while now. However, there turned out to be a couple of issues with this. One, I was so blinded by the word Tuscany I neglected to look closely at the description so I didn't realise that this was the fifth and final book in a series, and that all the books featured the same characters. I really dislike reading a series out of order at the best of times.

The other issue is that my day on the blog tour ended up being a Saturday which is my Weekend Cooking day. Once I realised I crossed my fingers that there would be plenty of food in the book that I could reference for my Weekend Cooking post, but I hadn't really been inspired until later in the book.

First, a little something about the book. As I mentioned before, this is the fifth, and final, book in the Holiday Romance series which features Cat and Sarah Parsons, Australian sisters who love to travel. Sarah is just about to turn 40 so her partner Josh has decided to surprise her with a trip to Tuscany. When Cat gets engaged to her partner Jean-Luc, they decide to get married there so that all of their closest friends and family can attend both events.

However, both Cat and Sarah are having emotional crises. For Sarah, the prospect of turning 40 has her contemplating the "something" that is missing from her life, something that she can't even identify herself. It's not her job or her relationship though. And Cat wants to marry Jean-Luc but she doesn't really want to move to Paris to live with him, and she doesn't want to have to organise a full blown wedding either. Luckily she has people amongst her family and friends who are happy to take care of the organisation side of thing.

Once everyone arrives in Tuscany, there are a number of issues that need to be worked through and resolved (lost wedding dress, uninvited guests, a host who is reluctant to let them use the space that they wanted) but there is also time for some sightseeing. It is really the sightseeing aspect of the book that I enjoyed the most and would make me want to go back and read the earlier books in the series. I suspect that if I had read the books in order, this would have been a much stronger reading experience for me.

As an aside, the prologue is the moment that Cat realises that she has misplaced her wedding dress. It actually brought back memories of my own wedding when I left my wedding dress on the plane, fortunately after we had already had the ceremony. It was only 15 minutes or so before I got it back, but I do recall the panic!

I had a few passages bookmarked as possibilities to talk about froom a food perspective, but as soon as I read this passage I knew that I had my quote for today!

"Are you sure this is what Cat wanted?" I ask, eyeing the 'cake' curiously. The baker was lovely - not a word of English - but all smiles and Jaelee managed to understand 'refrigerate' before he drove away leaving me holding an enormous white box. We've brought it into the apartment and it's now opened on the small kitchen table. It's beautiful, but it's not exactly a cake - more like a stack of flaky pastry sheets with custard, cream, and fruit in between.

"You said that she wanted a traditional Italian wedding cake. This is what is considered traditional here in Tuscany. It's called a millefoglie." I am extremely sceptical that this is what Cat meant.

"Hey, Sez," says Cat from the doorway to the kitchen. I flip the lip on the cake box closed.

"Heyyy," I say enthusiastically, "what's up?"

She looks at me oddly. "Why are you being weird? Oh, is that the cake?" She enters the kitchen as I place a flat palm on the lid of the box.

"It is, but it's bad luck to see the cake before the wedding." Jaelee tuts. I deserve it. I've essentially pulled a wedding superstition out of my bum.

Cat gives me the odd look again. "What? No, it isn't. Let me see." She steps past me and lifts the lid of the box. All the air is sucked out of the room as my sister gasps. Cat eyes the 'cake' and Jaelee and I eye each other. It's the first time I've seen even the slightest hint of panic in those brown eyes.

"It's...." A thousand years roll by "...absolutely stunning."

Jaelee and I expel sighs of relief and Cat tears her eyes from the 'cake' and looks between us, then laughs. "Did you think I wouldn't like it?"

"Sarah did."

"You dag," says Cat. "It's exactly what I wanted." She tuts at me and I'm too relieved to care that I'm the butt of the joke.

"We better get it in the fridge though," says Jaelee. She lifts it carefully and I hold open the door as she slides it onto the middle shelf.

"Oh!" I look at Jaelee, panicked.  "What are we gonna put it on?" I ask. "We can't serve it out of the box." Or can we?

"This." She crosses the short distance to the other side of the kitchen and holds up an ornate ceramic platter. It's large enough, though I'm not sure what farmers working the fields have to do with a wedding. Hmm, I suppose all but one horse will be covered by the 'cake'.

The most obvious thought when I read this was the similarity between millefoglie and the more well known (and original) French version, mille-feuille. In both cases, the meaning of the name is 'thousand leaves' refering to the layers in the puff pastry which forms the basis of the pastry dessert.  One of the differences is that the Italian version sometimes includes a layer of sponge cake.

It turns out that there are many different names for this type of dessert, depending on where you live. For example, apparently in Canada, this could be called Gateaux Napoleon where they might use almond cream for filling, or there is a version in Sweden and Finland called Napoleonbakelse, which includes jam and currant jelly as part of the filling and decorations. There is also a South American version which include dulce de leche. The same site did suggest that vanilla/custard slice is a version of mille-feuille but, in my mind at least, it should have at least three layers of pastry! I am, however, happy to eat vanilla slice or millefoglie or whatever name we use.

It is possibly not a surprise that I know have some version or another of millefoglie or mille-feuille or whatever you want to call it on my to bake list! In a way that is kind of ironic as everything I could find suggested that this is not a dessert that Tuscans necessarily make themselves, but rather one that you order from a pasticceria.

Finally, as I was looking for some images of millefoglie, I found this video of one being made as part of a wedding reception. Rather than delivering the completed dessert, the baker assembles the cake (almost like a performance). I thought it was lovely so I thought I would share it with you all.

Weekly meals

Saturday - Butter Chicken Pizza
Sunday - Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognaise
Monday - Family Dinner
Tuesday - Bacon, Vegetable, Risoni soup with meatballs
Wednesday - Beef and Capsicum Tacos
Thursday - Sticky glazed pork with greens and rice.
Friday - Takeaway Friday

About the book

The Parsons sisters are all loved up.

Sarah is living in Sydney with Josh and their cat, Domino, but is anxious about her fast-approaching fortieth birthday.

And Cat is still living in London with her flatmate, Jane, but is in a long-distance relationship with Jean-Luc, her childhood sweetheart and recently re-discovered love.

One of the sisters receives a surprise wedding proposal – it’s a yes! – and everyone heads off to Tuscany for a destination wedding.

Reunite with favourite characters from the Holiday Romance series in one of the most beautiful locations yet for love, laughter, wedding vows, and just a smidge of sisterly mayhem

Purchase Links -


·       UK

·       AU

·       US

·       CA



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About the author

Sandy is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob.

Sandy lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins.


Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page


  1. I've seen the name "Napoleon" used for milles feuilles pastries in French pastry shops, though the origin is said to be Italian, and the name may be a variant of "napoletano" -- meaning from naples. I hope you enjoy making it!

    best... mae at

  2. Bummer about starting a series at the end! I'm with you, I'm not a fan of reading a series out of order. The cake video was fun to watch -- and that venue!!! We have Italy on our list too. Maybe in 2023 ....

    1. The cake and the venue both looked amazing!!

  3. Forgot your wedding dress!?!? Not a fan of any romance books, really. Mille-feuilles are too much trouble to make. France and Italy are some of my favourite places to visit.

    1. Yes! We got on at one end of the plane where they stowed the wedding dress but we had to get off the other end of the plane. We were at the baggage carousel when I went oh my goodness, and then there was a guy from the plane chasing us down to give it to us!

  4. Oh man.... you must have had quite a panic over the wedding dress getting left on the plane! Doug and I just celebrated our 38th anniversary. The time has flown.

    I like traveling via books and right now, that's the only way I am traveling. never have bene to Italy but I love reading about it in novels. I have been to Paris and other parts of France and loved it. Long time ago.
    Beautiful cake and cool video!

    1. I am very looking forward to our trip Tina!

  5. Marg, Probably of all of our travels, I still found Italy my favorite too.We. have a European vacation planned for May but it does not include Italy. I don't think I would like reading a book that is the final of a series I haven't read.

    1. I am so looking forward to Italy! We are concentraing on the south of Italy so as not to be rushing around too much.

  6. It's the food of Italy that keeps me want to come back. If you get a chance to visit Lucca, I highly recommend it.

    1. this time we are going to focus on Southern Italy! oh, and Paris!

  7. Tuscany is a wonderful place to visit - so I hope you have a great trip in 2023. A title with Tuscany in it is like catnip, right?