Review: Black Truffle and Spice by Mathis Bailey

☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

Zola Washington and her gay roommate, Pierre Jackson, are cooking up to open a café in Toronto after recovering from unsavory relationships. Tension flares when a Frenchfusion bistro catches smells of the upcoming restaurant.

Darshan Singh is a food critic for Gourmet magazine. His job jet-sets him to all corners of the world, tasting extravagant dishes at Michelin-starred restaurants. Then he meets Zola. 

Will his review send her knives packing or set their relationship simmering?

Black Truffle & Spice is a witty commentary on a multi-cultural society and exploration of food, family, culture and love. 


Guest Reviewer Frannie’s Thoughts:

The book is a foodie’s book and love story at the same time.  It is heartwarming and realistic with amazing descriptions of the food that is served in two rebelling cafes.  The culinary verbiage spills into the geographical descriptions of both Toronto and Paris where our characters live and travel.  The scenes become alive, scrumptious and explode off the page with wonderfully exotic details.  The author Mathis Bailey can paint a picture of a recipe from Southeastern, US to India that will make you drool.  When he writes about love scenes, deception or lies the reader can taste the character’s emotions, then the author encourages us to fill in the blanks with our imaginations.    

The story starts out in Toronto with a beautiful black woman named Zola, who is from the Southeast in the US, and her gay friend/partner Pierre, who is also gorgeous and from the Midwest.   These two best friends love to cook, so they join their funds to buy a café that they name “Spice Café” in order to fulfill their dreams of being independent entrepreneurs.  Although created on a shoestring budget, they create a rustic, yet charming ambiance for the café.  Zola and Pierre are enthusiastic with exuberate dreams for their future.    Their nemesis is the Singh family from India who own an established, elegant Indo-French restaurant (French fusion), “The Bistro”.  It has a Michelin-star and is located right across the street from the “Spice Café”.  The unsavory relationship between the business owners heats up as they posture for dominance in the restaurant world and fight for customers.  There is no denying that the plot is drenched in salt, sugar and abasement.    

When you combine family, food, and fun, unexpected things happen.  Mix that with forbidden love, arranged marriages, and a love triangle, there is bound to be trouble.  The results are sabotage and deception.  Things explode as the relationships unfold between Darshan Singh, Zola and Anushka, a young woman who works for “The Bistro”.  Tension and trickery also arise when coupled with the sorted, yet steamy love affair with Pierre and Marquis, the head chef at “The Bistro”.  Juicy family drama is interwoven with poignant cultural heritage references and ethnic traditions.  How could anything possibly work out between these two rivaling restaurants and lovers?   

The sex scenes are hot, well written and totally erotic without being vulgar or distasteful.  A wonderful addition to the intrigue, the love affairs bring another layer to the story that is interesting, evocative and leaves room for witty commentary.   In addition, the book tactfully addresses many controversial topics, such as mixed couples, family duty/honor, identity struggles, and the LBGTQ community.  

Overall, I recommend reading Black Truffle and Spice, especially if you love food.  A big bonus is that at the end of the book the author provides eight recipes that look wonderful:  Chocolate Chia Pudding; Coconut Salmon; Mixed Berry Galette; Pumpkin Butter Gooey Cake; The Best Jalapeno Cornbread; Zola’s Mac & Cheese; Creamy Chicken & Mushrooms; and Zola’s Collard Greens. 

Bon appetite!

About the Author: Mathis Bailey is a LGBTQ author and foodie.  He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan; however, he currently resides in Toronto, Ontario.  He graduated from NY University with a degree in journalism.   He an author and a production assistant at  South Asian magazine.   “Black Truffle & Spice” is his third published book.  The other two are “Confused Spice” and “Brown Sugar & Spice”.  Follow him at

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