I love stories, especially those that involve food. I delight in nesting in my couch and letting myself be absorbed by the narrative. To experience the most intimate feelings along with the main characters. I actually don’t watch edible (or foodie) films that often, being forever a fan of Dirty Dancing (probably due to fond teenage memories), but I always enjoy them. Here are my favourites that feature food prominently. Just don’t ask me to pick one favourite. I can’t!

Big Night (1996)

Starring: Stanley Tucci (swoon!), Isabella Rosellini, Minnie Driver

Theme: That all bad things lead to something good. Like brotherly understanding and togetherness. Funny and touching.

Favourite scene: The camera pans the table and shows dinner guests enjoying a feast. As well as the countless brotherly quarrels.

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Como aqua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate, 1992)

Starring: screenplay and book by Laura Esquivel

Theme: A partly magical story about forbidden love somewhere in Mexico, and about those who cook food being able to infuse it with a few powerful ingredients – such as desire, love, and passion.

Favourite scene: Whoa! There are many of those. But if I had to pick just one, it would be that where Tita prepares quails in a sauce made from the petals of roses that were given to her by Pedro.

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Soul Kitchen (2009)

Starring: director Fatih Akin

Theme: You have to hit rock bottom in order to find a foundation from which to soar to great heights. A film full of hard falls and humour!

Favourite scene: A guest orders hot gazpacho, the mother butts into an argument during dinner.

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Julie and Julia (2009)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Amy Adams

Theme: The love for food and cooking.

Favourite scene: Julia samples a morsel of fish cooked in butter. And every scene where Julia learns to cook at Le Cordon Bleu.

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By the way, there’s an edited version with just the Julia (Meryl Streep) part, and it’s awesome.

Chef (2014)

Starring: Jon Favreau (lead actor, director, and screenwriter!), supported by Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Downey, Jr.

Theme: In order to gain something, you first have to lose something. It’s evident that the creators of this film really loved what they were doing. An initially dull lead character quickly gained my attention and affection. And anyone will love the Cuban music and food featured in this film!

Favourite scene: Kitchen aides sample what the chef has created overnight. The food truck on the road.

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Chocolat (2000)

Starring: Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, Johnny Depp

Theme: How life in a small sleepy town changes after the arrival of a headstrong woman, who opens a chocolate shop here during Lent.

Favourite scene: Guests indulging in the forbidden treat during a feast. The mayor in the chocolate shop window.

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The Hundred Foot Journey (2014)

Starring: Helen Mirren! And Julie, who accompanied me to the cinema and prepared a surprise in the form of Indian treats served from a paper bag and a flask.

Theme: You can start anew anywhere, you just have to be brave. Or what happens when a large Indian family’s car breaks down in a remote French village.

Favourite scene: The preparation of an omelette and its tasting. And every scene with the delightfully snooty Helen Mirren.

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Woman on Top (2010)

Starring: Penelope Cruz

Theme: Passion, food, and magic. Served with humour. Isabella, a Brazillian chef, leaves her adulterous husband and settles down in San Francisco, where she becomes the star of a cooking show on TV.

Favourite scene: The description of a chilli pepper at a cooking course.

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Bottle Shock (2008)

Starring: The perfectly snobbish Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, and the young and rebellious Rachael Taylor and Chris Pine

Theme: This delicious flick isn’t about food, but about wine. And because wine belongs with food, it belongs in this list! A fantastic movie full of delightful innuendo, based on a true story about how a California wine was first awarded by French conoisseurs during a blind tasting. Which was quite a (bottle) shock.

Favourite scene: The whole film!

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Babbete’s Feast (Babetina hostina, 1987)

Starring: based on a book by Karen Blixen

Theme: Sometimes, you can give up on your dream and still gain from the experience. A French cook takes refuge in a remote and poor Danish village. The film is slow on the uptake, but its effect is all the more intense.

Favourite scene: The preparation of the final feast.

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And what are your favorite culinary movies and scenes?