Eva Katzler interview

Eva Katzler is the author of Florentine and Pig Have A Very Lovely Picnic (published by Bloomsbury Publishing), which follows the adventures of Florentine and Pig as they prepare for a fun-filled day. The book also offers recipe suggestions to create your own lovely picnic food and Florentine and Pig’s website is packed full of ideas from recipe tips to planning your own Florentine and Pig-inspired party.

We asked Eva for some of her top picnic tips…

Florentine and Pig Have A Very Lovely Picnic captures the excitement of going on a picnic. What are your top-five picnic treats?
I love all things picnic but if I had to pick just five…
Guacamole, coronation chicken sandwiches, smelly cheeses and crackers,  lemon drizzle cupcakes, and elderflower pressé to drink. Delicious!

Where would be your favourite place to enjoy a picnic?
I live in London and I love all the parks, but my two favourite quiet spots are hidden in the depths of Richmond Park and Hampstead Heath.

Was cooking an important part of your childhood? What made you decide to write a book which explores cooking with children? 
I always cooked with my mum and dad and enjoyed it hugely. We would all make something together and then enjoy it as a family around the table. It was our time to create together, talk together and eat together and I valued it hugely - I still do. I wanted to bundle that simple idea up into a book for lots of other parents and children to enjoy.

It must be hard to choose from such a mouth-watering selection but do you have a personal favourite recipe from the book?
They are all delicious, but I LOVE the Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies! They are easypeasy to make, they look ever so pretty and are utterly delicious. (I think I’ve eaten a few too many recently…)

Your website has details of how to create your own Florentine and Pig party pack. What a brilliant idea to make a unique party (and a godsend for party-stressed parents everywhere!) Have you held your own party yet or had any feedback from children who have had Florentine-inspired parties?
The feedback has been wonderful - it’s been enormous fun for parents and children to jump into the world of Florentine and Pig with the party pack and all the fun things they can download and print off the website. The party pack is packed with fun things to do, including making your invitations, name places and colouring in sheets. At the party, the children make the recipes from the book and then they all sit down together and enjoy their Florentine and Pig party picnic! I can’t wait for my next invitation..

We understand that you regularly hold storytelling and activity sessions at bookshops (there’s a handy book store event pack on your site too.)  Could you tell us a little more about your upcoming events and what they will involve?
I love visiting bookshops and schools. It’s so exciting for the children to meet the author of a book they’ve read and it’s lovely for me to be able to meet them all. I work with the teachers and booksellers to create programs which work for them, depending on the age of the children. Sometimes it involves cooking and nearly always some kind of simple arts and crafts which the bookshop can either keep to decorate their shop, or the children take their projects home.

I always read the story and answer any questions the children have and the sessions are always full of energy and enormously fun. Many bookshops have ideas about how they’d best like an event or workshop to work and I love working with them on this to achieve the very best Florentine and Pig event for their shop. My next event is at the Chorleywood Bookshop this Thursday (25th April) but for full event listings you can keep an eye on our calendar - http://www.florentineandpig.com/#/events-listings/4566571739

Do you have a favourite bookshop you’d like to share with us?
I love my local - Notting Hill Bookshop. It’s small and quaint and packed with a beautiful selection of books. It’s loved by the locals - independent bookshops are such an important part of a community and they need our support, now more than ever.

Are you planning to write more adventures with Florentine and Pig? We’ve heard a rumour that the loveable twosome might face some swashbuckling pirates? Could that be true?
Yes! There is a new book on its way and it will be landing on the shelves in June. I can’t reveal what happens (it is such a huge secret that even Pig is finding it hard to keep) but what I will say is… Ooooo arrrrr!

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