About the book (provided by Great Escapes Tours)
And I thought
A great summer read! I was literally dreaming of being on board.
The authors description of the luxury cruise had me feeling transported and made me wonder if she has been a part of the culinary staff of a luxury cruise ship.
This was my first introduction to the Bakeshop Mysteries by
Although A Crime Of Passion Fruit is #6 in the series it was
difficult to get caught up on what was going on. Each book/plot seems to stand on it's own while including previous characters and drawing this reader in to want to read more.
If your a fan of cozy little mysteries you'll enjoy this voyage with
Attached to this post is my interview with Jule's check it out below and you'll be wanting to visit her at Torte!
I received a complimentary copy from Great Escapes Tours.
This review will appear on retail sites where available and on
Hello Jules welcome to the Reading Journey
You seem to be one busy girl. Do you have a time for a quick tour of
. It seems Ashland
like quite the place to visit.
I’d love to give you a quick tour of my charming and somewhat quirky hometown of Ashland! Ashland is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, one of the most renowned theater companies in the world. During the height of the season our little hamlet swells in size with tourists and visitors stopping in from every corner of the globe to take in a production of Shakespeare under the stars at the outdoor Elizabethan theater. You feel like you’re stepping back in time when strolling through Ashland’s quaint downtown plaza. All of the shops and restaurants are designed like an old English village. In addition to the theater, Ashland is a mecca for outdoor lovers. We are surrounded by dozens of hiking trails, rivers, lakes, and mountains. One of my favorite things to do each morning is take a quick walk through Lithia Park, which is minutes away from our family bakeshop, Torte. It’s like our version of Central Park, complete with lush green landscapes, a bubbling creek, duck pond, and wooded trails that lead up into the forest.
How long have you lived in Ashland?
I grew up in Ashland, but left after graduating from college to attend culinary school in New York. I had always thought I would find my way home shortly thereafter. However, I landed a job as a pastry chef for a boutique cruise ship and spent the next decade sailing on azure waters. My time on the ship allowed me to expand my palate. At every port of call I would taste new flavor combinations and sample regional delights. I met my husband onboard the ship and thought that I might lead a vagabond lifestyle forever. That changed when I learned that he had been keeping a secret from me. I left him and the ship behind and returned to Ashland to heal my broken heart. Now I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Torte seems like a delightful little place. Let’s stop for a little snack.
Torte is more than a bakeshop. It’s a gathering place for the entire community. When you walk in the front door we want you to feel like family whether you’re a native to Ashland or just passing through. My mom, Helen, is an incredible baker who offers our customers more than a warm cherry scone and a creamy latte. She has a kind, listening ear. People tend to spill their problems while noshing on her delectable sweets. We bake everything with love at Torte. I know it might sound cheesy, but I think baking is a love language and that food should be enjoyed and savored. We try to infuse that in each dainty cake or light and airy croissant that comes out of the oven. For me, the act of baking is also therapeutic. My problems and stresses seem to fade away when I’m kneading bread dough or hand-pressing dozens of fluted tart crusts.
What do you suggest?
It’s summertime so I would suggest a slice of our peach mango coffee cake paired with a Mai Chai latte. The peach mango coffee cake is decadent with hints of spice and a touch of the tropics without being too heavy. And we serve our Mai Chai over ice with pineapple juice, grenadine syrup, coconut milk, and Oregon Chai. It’s like summer in a cup!
Oh. Yum. What a treat. I am not sure I could work in such a wonderful little shop. I am sure just these wonderful smells would add 10 pounds a day!
Let’s a chat a bit about what you’ve been up to.
When I first returned to Ashland, I was looking forward to cocooning myself in and focusing on baking. Being back on land after ten years at sea took some getting used to, but soon I found my rhythm in Torte’s warm and cozy kitchen. Not long after I returned, a woman was murdered inside the bakeshop with jars of our homemade raspberry jam. That sent my world spinning again. I had to help find out who could have done something so villainous, especially in my beloved Ashland. Just as soon that case was resolved I was invited to compete in a culinary competition on the Pastry Channel, Take the Cake. Top pastry chefs from around the country descended on Ashland to throw down in a variety of foodie challenges. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a TV star, and that was confirmed when I found one of my fellow contestants face down in a vat of buttercream. From there I was hired to cater a retreat for the OSF board of directors at an alpine lodge not far from town, Lake of the Woods. I loved getting to bake in the lodge’s rustic wood fired pizza oven until a blizzard hit and I discovered a body frozen on ice. Murder followed me back to Ashland again. This time the victim was loathed by everyone in town because she had had the audacity to launch a gaudy fast-food chain, Shakesburgers, right in the heart of the historic plaza. I thought I had put murder and solving crime behind me and was ready to get back to baking when a famous chocolatier dropped dead at Ashland’s annual Chocolate Festival. I don’t know why but for some reason murder seems to follow me.
I’m hoping we won’t stumble onto any crimes while we’re visiting town!
It does seem like trouble seems to follow you even when you least expect it.
So what about that cruise?
I wasn’t planning to return to the ship, but Carlos (my estranged husband) called me and begged me to come help out for a week. The ship’s pastry chef had left in a huff. At first I said no, but Carlos sweetened the deal by inviting my mom and her paramour, the Professor, along for a romantic getaway. I had to admit that after a very dreary and rainy winter, the idea of a week in the sun sounded pretty appealing. Maybe part of me realized that I needed to go back to the ship to officially say goodbye to that part of my life. We were greeted onboard with fruity drinks and the sounds of steel drum band. As we pulled away from the dock, I thought that the cruise might end up being a bit of a vacation for me too. That feeling quickly evaporated when I took an early morning stroll on the pool deck and found the body of a young stowaway floating face down. Suddenly between cranking out hundreds of grilled pineapple tarts and coconut Bundt cakes, I was tracking down a killer and trying to figure out who the mysterious young woman was and why she had snuck onboard. Oh, and did I mention that Carlos spent the entire cruise trying to win my affections and convince me to return to him and the ship? So much for a vacation.
I have to ask so what’s up with Carlos was there a little rekindling of romance going
on while you were on the high sea?
I wish I knew what was up between us. Being on board and working in close quarters with him again definitely caused sparks to fly, but my heart belongs in Ashland. The ship’s sterile, industrial kitchen was a vivid reminder of that. Running a pastry kitchen on a floating hotel is more about management and less about actually baking. I missed having my hands covered in flour and the feeling of sticky dough between my fingers. I also missed my team at Torte, and my quirky friends in Ashland. I’m not sure what’s next for Carlos and me, but I know that Ashland is home.
Well this was so fun. I enjoyed chatting. I can see that it’s really getting busy in here. I’ll let you get back to your day. Thanks for sweets the peach mango coffee cake was exactly what I needed after the tour of town!
Thanks for the chat and treat!
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