My 10 Favorite Food Films (with accompanying recipes!)

I wanted to watch a movie today, but my wifi wasn't working well so I decided to instead use this time to share with you 10 of my favorite food-related films, along with a recipe suggestion for you to make along with it!

(These are listed in no particular order. I've listed the ones currently available on Netflix, though check back as Netflix often changes their selection.)

1. Chocolat
Chocolate, Jonny Depp, and France. Do we really need to get into this further? Julia Ormond opens up a chocolate shop and slowly loosens up the uptight residents of the small village with her decadent treats. I actually haven't seen this one in years, but I need to again. It's absolutely stunning. I saw it with my mom, and I remember that immediately afterwards, she went home and made herself hot cocoa with a dash of cayenne. Don't attempt to watch without a good chocolate bar or box of truffles within easy reach!

Recipe Suggestion: Beet Chocolate Bundt Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache Glaze-- this rich dark chocolate cake has just a little touch of mystery to it that will enchant all who taste it. (You don't have to reveal the secret ingredient; I promise they won't be able to tell!)

2. Sabrina

Food is by no means the focus of this movie, but I have to include it because I think of it every single time I crack an egg. One Two Three CRACK!

In the movie, Sabrina (played lovely Audrey Hepburn) goes off to Paris to attend Le Cordon Bleu and forget the handsome wealthy playboy David. There are some delightful cooking school scenes (she learns the proper way to crack an egg). She comes back to America a few years later, sophisticated and mature. Romance, stunning ball gowns, and Humphrey Bogart, ensue. This movie was later remade with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond, but they cut out all the fun culinary school bits so make sure you get the Audrey Hepburn version!

Recipe Suggestion: I was going to suggest a souffle, but really I think this movie is best with a cocktail (or several). Make a batch of these Gin & Honey-Soaked Mandarin Champagne Cocktails  to sip on while watching Audrey at her loveliest. 

3. Tortilla Soup
This delightful movie starring Hector Elizondo (I love him. LOVE him.) as a cranky-yet-lovable chef and father of three daughters with different personalities, dreams, and problems, is actually a Mexican-American remake of an Asian film called Eat Drink Man Woman. Most people consider the original one to be best, but I actually don't like it at all. Why? Mostly because I don't like Chinese food so the food scenes in the original did nothing for me. I'd MUCH rather eat (and watch!) Mexican food. You'll need some homemade tortilla chips and fresh salsa to snack on while watching this one! **Available on Netflix Instant

Recipe Suggestion: Homemade Tortilla Chips with Black Bean, Corn & Red Pepper Salsa
Nothing like salty chips and good homemade salsa. A few beers or a crisp, cold wine are also advised!

4. Christmas in Connecticut
A classic! Barbara Stanwyck is a food writer who presents herself in her writing to be a skilled, perfect homemaker, wife, and mother. The truth is that she can barely boil water, doesn't have a child, and isn't even married! All is well until her boss invites himself over to her house along with a returning war hero, expecting the perfect Christmas Dinner. Hilarity, romance, and 1940s fashion ensue!

Recipe Suggestion: Pomegranate-Braised Baby-Back Ribs and Parsnip Carrot Puree -- a hearty meal to enjoy while watching this winter-time story.

5. Heartburn
I mentioned this movie in my post about Nora Ephron a couple weeks ago, and definitely had to include it here. In this movie, loosely based on Nora Ephron's real-life marriage to Carl Bernstein, Meryl Streep stars as a cookbook author who cooks her way through her romance with a dashing, but  philandering journalist, played by Jack Nicholson.  There are a few brilliant scenes, especially as the marriage starts to crumble, but my favorite is at the end involving a key lime pie. I won't say more as I don't want to spoil it for you, but it's absolutely fantastic! I'm also obsessed with the Carly Simon soundtrack, and the original novel features recipes, which you should try. **Available on Netflix Instant

Recipe Suggestion: Green Pasta Carbonara (make it with spaghetti, and serve it in a big shared bowl)

6. Woman on Top
Penelope Cruz plays a successful Brazilian chef with a terrible motion sickness problem, which means that she can only handle motion if she is in control. When driving, and...also in bed. This causes problems with her macho husband, who cheats on her in order to assert his masculinity, so she leaves and goes to the US where she starts teaching cooking classes and is soon given her own food TV show. Her husband follows her to find her and she has to decide between her new Hollywood life, and her restaurant back in Brazil.

Recipe Suggestion: Pan-Seared Shrimp with Mango Cucumber & Peppadew Salsa -- Fresh, colorful, spicy and Latin--just like the movie!


7. Five Senses
 I love movies with multiple interconnecting story lines, and this is one of my favorites. In Five Senses, Mary Louise Parker plays a pastry chef who makes stunning cakes that don't taste good. She goes to Italy on vacation and meets a sexy Italian chef who comes back to America with her. He barely speaks English, but they communicate through food. There are other story lines, each featuring different senses, and they all weave together beautifully.

Recipe Suggestion: Orechiette alla Norcina--this luscious bowl of creamy and spicy pasta is one of my favorites! Another one that's perfect for sharing.

8. Waitress
I am not a big fan of pie (I prefer cake!), but after watching this movie, all I wanted to do was head to the nearest diner and order a slice of their best pie. In this movie, Keri Russell invents new pies each day, naming them after the various troubles going on in her life. (Example pie names: "BABY SCREAMING IT’S HEAD OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND RUINING MY LIFE PIE," "FALLIN’ IN LOVE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE," "BE KIND TO YOURSELF ALWAYS PIE.")

Recipe Suggestion: Banoffee Pie --bananas, toffee, chocolate, and whipped cream in a shortbread crust. Pie heaven!

9. Simply Irresistible
This is one of those kind of cheesy, but kind of amazing romantic comedies, with just enough magical realism tossed in to make it interesting. Sarah Michelle Geller plays a woman who inherits her mother's restaurant, even though she can't cook. She tries to save it anyway, and after a meeting with mysterious stranger, suddenly becomes an incredible chef who transmits whatever she's feeling into her food (yes, it's reminiscent of Like Water for Chocolate). There is a romance with a department store executive who falls for her, but then gets freaked out because he thinks she is a witch. Lots of great food scenes (especially some amazing looking cream puffs!).

Recipe Suggestion:  Vanilla Bean & Anise Poached Pears -- This movie features one incredible dessert after another, poached pears being one of the specialties. I recommend serving these with a homemade caramel sauce.

10. Big Night
Primo and Secondo are immigrant Italian brothers whose restaurant is about to go under. In order to save it, they plan an elaborate feast in honor of the singer Louis Prima, who is coming to town. One stunning dish after another is prepared (like the glorious timbale pictured above), but it's perhaps the simple omelet eaten in the silent restaurant kitchen at the end of the film that is the most memorable of all. **Available on Netflix Instant

Recipe Suggestion: Pizzagaina-- this totally over-the-top Italian meat pie is made with a pizza dough crust and stuffed with pounds of Italian charcuterie, cheese, and eggs.  Perfect for feeding a crowd (and it freezes really well if you have leftovers!).

Have you seen any of the films of this list? Did I leave out any of your favorites?

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