Virtual Gourmet

August 26,  2007                                                       NEWSLETTER

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In This Issue

MY FAVORITE MANSIONS:  Italy's Villa Cipriani by John Mariani

NEW YORK CORNERThe E.U. by John Mariani

NOTES FROM THE WINE CELLAR:  Spain’s Monastrell wines proving their mettle in the U.S. by John Mariani


by John Mariani

Villa Cipriani u

Via Canova, 298, Asolo
         It's hard to imagine that there are any pockets of Italy that have not been discovered and swamped by the global tourist crowd, and cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice are now completely overwhelmed from April through October by such throngs of visitors that they have become an endurance test of one's will to wait on line for hours to get into the Uffizi, the Sistine Chapel, or the Doges Palace.  To have any sense of respite one must leave those cities and head out of town, and Asolo, an hour's drive from Venice,  is exactly that.
       Asolo is an old Roman town whose
development was spurred by the arrival in 1489 of Caterina Cornaro, a Venetian who became the Queen of Cyprus but due to the usual intrigues was banished back to Italy and given Asolo as a way to keep her from returning. Once she saw Asolo, she never did, and she proceeded to bring the hilltop town an esthetic reputation it continued to enjoy even after she was recalled to Venice during a threat of war.
      Here you have repose, here you may relax in the garden, here you may dine whenever you like.  No one knows who the original architect of this Palladian era villa was, but by 1889 it was known as a beautiful spot for Europeans to stop and stay.  No less than Robert Browning visited that year and bought the place outright, and his last volume of verses, written that same year, was entitled Asolando.  His son, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning,  inherited the Villa then sold it in 1902 to a Trevisan engineer, who gave it to his daughter as a wedding gift on her marriage to Sebastiano Galanti; he later ceded it to the manager of the Rifugio del Grappa, who transformed the property into a country hotel named “Belvedere.”
       lllllIt remained that until the 1950s when the
Guinness bought the villa and made it into an elegant boutique hotel as  Hotel Villa Cipriani, which once but no longer had a connection with the Ciprianis of Harry's Bar fame in Venice. In 1998 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide took it over and further made it into a marvelous hotel on the flowered hills of the small walled  town of Asolo.
       The dominant features of the Villa are two: one, the view from just about any of the 31 rooms is inspiring for its breadth and panorama of the Veneto countryside; second, its terraced garden is extremely enchanting, and that is where one dines in good weather.  In the garden the flowers are tended and changed throughout the season, so all that blooms is always in full flourish.
      The reclusive nature of Villa Cipriani has been its calling card for notables as far-ranging as actors
Marcello Mastroianni, Orson Wells, Peter O’Toole, and Catherine Deneuve to royalty like Juliana of Holland, Prince Philip of Edinburgh, and the Queen Mother of England. Believe me, there are no paparazzi hovering outside the Villa Cipriani.
       To sit in that garden at twilight (above and right), sipping a cocktail from the
Bar “Il Pozzo," is to live the sweet life with elegance the way elegance used to be. You may continue your meal  here in good weather or in the dining room (below), with tables beautifully set, the menus themselves finely printed, and the winelist excellent. The cuisine specializes in the food traditions of Veneto along with more Mediterranean and European touches throughout, with menus, by Chef Secondo Ceccato, built around the seasonal produce--radicchio di Treviso in autumn, nettles in spring, then asparagus from Bassano, peas from Borso del Grappa, and wild mushrooms from Montello.  You might begin here with the crispy, fried artichokes called carciofi alla giudea or just-as-crisp and golden fritto misto of seafood.  There is the requisite carpaccio of beef with arugula and Parmigiano, and wonderful little fried morsels of Parmigiano and prosciutto.                                                     Photo: Galina Stepanoff-Dargeryiiiiipp
      There are at least ten pastas and risotti, including linguine with heads-on prawns and mezzalune (half-moon) pasta with black truffles.  Bucatini con le sarde is a Venetian specialty of fat spaghetti with sardines, pignoli, and raisins, while "malfatti" means "poorly made," referring to a kind of formless dumpling packed with with spinach and ricotta, then dressed with sage butter.
     Among seafood items there is outstanding pan-seared scallops with braised dandelions and lardo (prosciutto fat), and grilled swordfish with a sweet-sour caponataLardo is also wrapped around filet mignon to give it moistness and richness, while a tender veal chop is roasted with lemon and stuffed with herbed ricotta.
     wThere are also daily specials that include lustier dishes like luganica sausage, suckling pig, and roasted goat.
Disma Tessaro makes lovely desserts worthy of the setting and the total refinement of the area, like lemon cake with lemon mascarpone cream and blackberries, and an almond tart with sweet ricotta and honey. Almond milk panna cotta is drizzled with aged balsamico.

Rooms at Villa Cipriani begin at about $330 and go up to about $550. Dinner, without wine, but including tax and service will run about $60 per person.

       The town of Asolo, known as "the city of a hundred horizons," is as quaintly beautiful as Villa Cipriani, which is set just off one of the main--if narrow--streets, Via Canova. Every second Sunday of the month there is an antiques fair, and music festivals are held here often. The town has its own fortress and castle, a city museum, and of course, and a medieval cathedral containing the works of Renaissance artists Lorenzo Lotto, Bassano, and Sebastiano Bastiani.
       After the Villa Cipriani, the loveliest place to stay is the small Albergo al Sole (Via Collegio 33; 39-0423-951-332; right), with a terrace restaurant that overlooks the piazza of town and the comings-and-goings pof the locals and visitors who stop in Asolo.  The hotel has 23 rooms, a fitness room, and cooking lessons. Rooms begin around $275.
      One of the darling places we stopped for dinner was
Osteria Ristorante Ca' Derton (Piazza D'Annunzio 11;  39-0423-529648), a sophisticated but extremely amiable restaurant under the archway off the Piazza. With its pink walls, terracotta floors, hanging lights covered with linen napkins, wooden beams, a rustic stone wall, and an antique chest with an equally antique phonograph, the dining room (below) could well be someone's home, and  the feminine touch of an all-woman staff is evident in every graceful movement of service.  The man of the house, Nino, is the chef, while his wife Antonietta takes care of the front of the dining room, as they have since 1993.
      2There is a superb winelist, with a good selection of Veneto wines, and the menu is just the right size for this small ristorante to serve well. Every guest receives a glass of prosecco with four different breads and grissini on the table, then an amuse; ours was a cream of asparagus with porcini. We tasted three pastas: lasagnette with vegetables and prawn; gnocchi with tomato and basil; and saffron tortelli stuffed with duck  and strips of celery.  All were made minutes before service.
      We then had a lightly poached sea bass with very fine olive oil, potatoes, fennel, and carrots, and faorona (guinea fowl) with liver forcemeat, accompanied with the white polenta of Veneto. Our favorite was a rabbit torta, also with polenta, and white and green asparagus.  This is charmingly simple food done with obvious finesse, as was a dessert called "3 Dames"--excellent custards scented with lavender, coffee, and prosecco. There was also crisp pear strüdel with gooseberries and crème anglaise, and a finish-off of meringue and hazelnut cookies.
     Then we strolled back to the piazza, had an espresso at a café, and let life slow down under a yellow moon.
   A 3-course meal at Ca'Derton  will cost about $50 per person, before wine, but including tax and service.


by John Mariani

THE E.U.kkkkkk

235 East 4th Street

      Alphabet City is the moniker given to that section of the East Village whose North-South streets run A to D from Tompkins Square towards the East River,  a heavily Latino neighborhood also called, in patois, "Loisaida."  Composed mostly of old tenements, the area has enjoyed a certain revivification of late due in large part to the scads of restaurants opening on every street. Most of them are fairly standard ethnic eateries but The E.U. is quite another thing: while taking full advantage of the old structure it occupies, with rough brick walls, industrial-style lighting, and massive wooden ceiling beams, so you get a  feeling of the old neighborhood itself.  The owners, Jason Hennings and Bob Giraldi, have also installed a handsome white porcelain wall, a sturdy 1930s porcelain bar where artisanal beers are  poured, roomy leather booths, and an  open kitchen where you can kibbitz with the staff. There is also a communal farm table that's become very popular with solo diners.
       The menu, under chef
Akhtar Nawab (below), formerly of Craft and Craftbar,  can seem a little bewildering at first glance, printed on a brown paper broadsheet that begins in the upper left corner with oysters and tapas like steak tartare and baccala croquettes then moves up and down to "Salumi-Jamon," cheeses, first courses, plats du jour, "plats principaux," sandwiches, burgers, and sides.  If this seems a bit of a stretch, as in something-for-everyone, it is not:  p3Everything on the menu is distinctly in the same vein of lusty European cooking--the restaurant's name, of course, refers to the European Union--with some Italian, some French, even some German dishes that co-habitate successfully and quite generously on the plate: they call it a gastro-pub.  Indeed, I highly recommend having most dishes family style so that everyone can have a little coppa, prosciutto, madrange ham, mortadella, and liverwurst with country bread, or a nice selection of French, German, and Spanish cheese.
       You can do the same with a dish of vegetables with a summer truffled vinaigrette and the bruschetta topped with melted burrata cheese, a white anchovy, arugula pesto, a fried egg, and pistachio nuts, which is not nearly so complicated as it sounds, just damn delicious.  Parisian gnocchi are pea-sized dumplings with the surprise of Peekytoe crabmeat and peas (these I'd like to keep all to myself).  A plump fricassee of quail cooked a la plancha comes with a thin slice of foie gras with cherry agrodolce, and pappardelle is pumped up with corn, black cabbage, and summer truffles.   Paella was a bit tame and too soupy to be considered traditional.43
      Roasted striped bass, perfectly juicy, came with fennel, fingerling potatoes, and well-rendered light Béarnaise, and I was especially impressed with the crispiness of the skin on roast suckling pig with string beans and hazelnuts. The night I visited the plat du jour was orrechiette (ear-shaped) pasta with sausage and rapini greens--a tour de force of incorporating common ingredients to an elevated status.
      For dessert there are all kinds of scrumptious sweets, from  English sticky toffee pudding with caramel gelato, beignets with milk jam and chocolate sauce, tarte Tatin with vanilla gelato.
      The E.U. is a place whose good vibes are palpable as soon as you step through the door and right now it is a bellwether in this slowly developing neighborhood.
      On weekends brunch offers complimentary glasses of prosecco, a traditional British breakfast (right), and, for those at leisure, plenty of reading material.

The E.U. is open for lunch Mon. – Fri.  dinner daily Sun. – Thurs. Brunch  is served Sat.& Sun.


Spain’s Monastrell Wines Proving Their Mettle in the U.S. by John Mariani

                                                                           The Vineyards of La Purisima, Yecla

               I have written with enthusiasm about an array of inexpensive wines from Spain’s Valencia region using the monastrell grape.  At the time I advised, “buy them now and enjoy them while they’re bargains, because at this quality level that can’t last forever.”
      Well, the good news is that an increasing number of monastrell wines are coming into the U.S. market and at prices that are still relative bargains. Some of the best are coming not from Valencia but from Murcia to the south, encompassing the cities of Yecla, Jumilla, and Bullas, each with its own denomination of origin.
     The best known—so far—are the wines from Jumilla, which lies between the Cartagena and Castilla. The red wines are known for their intensity, which comes from deep-rooted vines in a micro-climate that gets only about ten inches of rainfall each year, so the vines have to struggle to produce. The yields from Yecla, northeast of the regional capital of Murcia, and Bullas, southwest of it, produce lower yields than Jumilla, hence their limited supply in the international market.0
     Monastrell is the fourth largest varietal planted in Spain (about 63,000 hectares/155,000 acres as of 2004) and believed to Iberian in its origins.  In France it is known as mourvèdre, in Australia mataro.
     After years of decline, some Spanish vintners are trying revive the varietal because it has taken on a new luster as a component of the now popular Rhone wines and the “Rhone Ranger” wines of California. But as a dominant varietal, believe the Spanish make the best monastrell.
      When made in large volume, monastrell can be a dark, highly tannic, even inky wine that might well turn your teeth purple.  But the fine examples now being exported have much of the complexity of Rhone Valley wines, whose reds are dominated by syrah blended with mourvèdre. In Spain the blends are reversed, with syrah, tempranillo, and cabernet sauvignon in lower ratios to monastrell.
      In a tasting of several recent vintage Murcia monastrell-based wines I found they all showed an initial charge of fresh, dark currant flavors followed by minerality, then a sure shot of tannin. None could be considered a light red. All can stand some age, though I can’t say how much better they might become. At prices ranging from $9-$29, I’m happy to drink them right now with roasted or grilled red meats, and, as I found out at a "Estilo Libre Latino" (freestyle Latino) restaurant named Rayuela in New York, monastrell went very well pan-seared sweetbreads with crispy potatoes, bacon, and arugula, and with the sweet-salty edge of grilled papaya stuffed with duck confit in a sherry sauce.
      Bodegas Bleda dates back to 1935 and has been exporting since the end of World War II to the U.S. and Europe, more recently to Japan. The 2005 Divus ($22) is 95 percent monastrell and 5 percent merlot, so this is a very pure expression of monastrell’s intensity and tannic structure, spending 9 months in oak.  It is a splendid wine for charred, rare steaks and leg of lamb perfumed with rosemary, and I’m sure it will get better for the next five years.
       La Purisima 2004 Trapio ($29) is 100 percent monastrell and only 100 cases are made each year by this very large Yecla winery, founded in 1946. With 14 percent alcohol it is big, bold, and has a lot of licorice and chocolate notes, making it ideal for a hearty stew or a Spanish cheese like manchego.
       Finca Omblancas is a 5-year-old Jumilla winery high up in the hills at 1,600 feet. Their 2004 Delain is 70 percent monastrell, with some cabernet and syrah blended in to give it complexity while still expressing the virtues of monastrell in its ripeness of cherry and vanilla flavors.
      bbbbbCasa de la Ermita, started only ten years ago, is considered one of the most modern wineries in Murcia, with new plantings in syrah, cabernet, merlot, petit verdot, and viognier. Its 2003 Crianza (a Spanish term meaning the wine has spent a minimum of six months in oak and cannot be released in under three years) is a beautiful blend of old vines monastrell and tempranillo, with some cabernet and petit verdot added in.  It spends 9 months in oak, then three years in bottle, allowing the wine to mellow, soften, and mature in complexity, with a fine balance of spice and tannins.
      Casa de las Especias obtains only very small yields and produces only organic wines, including their 2003 Crianza $24, which is 40 percent monastrell, with the rest cabernet and syrah, which give it floral notes and a sweet spiciness up front and a lingering peppery spice in the finish.
      Though of recent origin, 2001, Valle de Salinas, in the heart of the Yecla region, has monastrell vineyards that are very old and produce wines of intensity, even without any oak aging, evident in the 2005 Joven, which is of medium body with plenty of fresh, fruity notes and, especially for a wine that retails for only $9, admirable finesse. I’d happily drink it with roast chicken or pork.
      At a time when many Spanish wineries are trying to get into the saturated market for cabernet and merlot, it is app laudable that these Murcia producers fervently believe that their own native varietal can show they have the right stuff to succeed on their own.

John Mariani's weekly wine column appears in Bloomberg Muse News, from which this story was adapted. Bloomberg News covers Culture from art, books, and theater to wine, travel, and food on a daily basis, and some of its articles play of the Saturday Bloomberg Radio and TV.


En route from London to Miami, an employee of British Airways tried to heat up frozen curry in a microwave oven at 35,000 feet and the curry exploded, causing $40,000 damage but the fire was put out before any damage and danger occurred.


Suamico, Wisconsin, during the two-mile 19th annual Beer Belly Two charity race the refresher stops served beer to runners. "My kids are running it, so hopefully they're already at the finish line and I'll see them in an hour or so," said racer Doug Burmeister. "You know, there's a lot of beer stops." Added, veteran competitor Mike Martin, "This way the wife allows me to have a couple of beers because you're doing something," he said. "A little exercise, you kill two birds with one stone." The race has raised more than $350,000 for local charities since its inception.


* Vineyards Manager Max Lester and Export Manager Nicolas Cornejo  of The Michel Torino winery of the Cafayate alley, Argentina, will host a Winemaker Dinner at Novecento bistros in NYC on Aug. 27  and Miami on Sept. 2,  created by Diego Sicoli, Executive Chef of Novecento in Buenos Aires.  $49 pp.  Call  (305) 403-0900 in Miami and (212) 925-4706 in NYC. Visit

* On Sept. 2 The 15th Annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction takes place  at Cline Cellars.  Highlights from this year’s list of more than 55 auction lots incl.  a Toyota Prius and free gas for one year;     A sparkling wine tour of Barcelona, Spain hosted by Gloria Ferrer’s Eva Bertran; a 137 bottle collection of 90+ point-rated Sonoma Valley wines donated by member wineries; and many more lots. $500 pp. For info visit

* Beginning Sept. 3,  Chicago’s Bistro 110 will celebrate its 20th anniversary with Chef Dominique Tougne offering $20 menus each Mon.  night, incl.favorites from the past 20 years and current signature dishes. The formal anniversary celebration is Oct. 20. Call 312-266-3110.

* During Sept. & Oct. NYC’s Zarela celebrates its 20th anniversary with a series of events, incl.: Grand Raffle Tickets to benefit the Mexican Cultural Institute of NY, with prizes incl. three 2-person trips to Mexico with itineraries planned by Zarela Martinez; a  new interactive web portal with how-to videos, links to  the Mexican Cultural Institute, the Mexican Museum of Art in Chicago, et al.; Sept. 30, Oct.  1-2,  Customer Appreciation Days, with half-price Margaritas and complementary appetizer plate. On Sept. 4 Martinez will be guest chef at the Smithsonian Latino Center at the Smithsonian Institution: a dinner for trustees and patrons inaugurating the "Mexican Treasures of the Smithsonian" exhibition, and the Smithsonian Latino Center's 10th anniversary gala "Smithsonian Con Sabor!"  On Sept.  5, a benefit buffet at the National Museum of the American Indian.

* On Sept. 6 Shaw's Crab House Chicago is hosting a 6-course wine dinner with Iron Horse Vineyards, with owner Joy Sterling,  and Shaw's Wine and Spirits Director Steve Tindle and Executive Chef Arnulfo Tellez.  $99.95 pp. Call 312-527-2722.

* On Sept. 12 (dinner) &  13 (lunch & dinner) Tocqueville  in NYC will feature a Rosh Hashanna menu $48 at lunch, $65 at dinner. Call 212-647-1515.

* From Sept. 14-16 in Mashantucket, CT, the 2nd annual Foxwoods Food & Wine Festival will be held with wine experts Ray Isle, Anthony Giglio, Joe Bastianich, and Divas Uncorked, and chefs incl.  Lidia Bastianich, David Burke, Giada de Laurentiis, Dave Lieberman, Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Schlow and Ming Tsai, with proceeds to the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales U. Visit

* Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. in Chicago will be hosting two wine dinners in conjunction with their Sept. 15 auction. On Sept. 14 Staglin Family Vineyards Wine Dinner will be held at Tru, $750 pp. Sept. 15:  Legends of Napa Valley Dinner: Marcassin, Screaming Eagle, Harlan, Diamond Creek Lake Vineyard, at Blackbird Restaurant.  $1,700 pp. Call 312-482-9766.

* On Sept. 17 in Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor will hold the 2nd Annual "Taste of the BROADMOOR" Benefit Dinner at Summit Restaurant to benefit the resort’s Culinary Apprenticeship Program and the Colorado Restaurant Association's ProStart Program. Executive Chef Siegfried "Sigi" Eisenberger, Summit's Chef Bertrand Bouquin; The Penrose Room's Chef  Jonathan Frakes; Charles Court's Chef John Brand; The Tavern's Chef Justin Miller, and Executive Restaurant Pastry Chef Rémy Fünfrock. Wine Director Tim Baldwin will pair all 6 courses with Old and New World wines.  $150 pp.  719-471-6165.

From Sept. 12-19 Western Australia Wines will hold a medley of events in NYC dubbed “Taste of Western Australia,” with 21 wineries, incl. 8 producers at the Morrell Wine Store in Rockefeller Center for a week-long series of in-store tastings of W. Australia wines. Call 212-688-9370 . . . the American Institute of Wine and Food Dinner at Public. Visit . . Artisanal Cheese Centerwith Fromager Waldemar Albrecht and Producer Paul McArdle on the "Colour of Flavour,"   a pairing of wine and cheeses. Visit; . . . Western Australia Grand Tasting Event at the Union Square Ballroom, with 21 producers.  $70 pp. Visit For more info:

* On Sept. 19 in Washington, DC , the Park Hyatt Washington salutes the “Masters of Food & Wine Argentina,” a dinner pairing award-winning wines from the Vines of Mendoza prepared by 5 Argentinean chefs: Fernando Trocca, of Buenos Aires' Sucre and El Diamante and NYC’s Industria Argentina; Juan Manuel Guizzo of  Bistro M, Park Hyatt Mendoza; Màximo López May, Restaurant Goia, Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt Buenos Aires; Juliana López May, Owner, Taller de Cocina- Buenos Aires, and Maximo Togni, Embassy of Argentina.  VIP reception, followed by a 5-course dinner in the Blue Duck Tavern. The honorary patrons of the evening are His Excellency José Octavio Bordón, Ambassador of Argentina, and Mrs. Monica Bordón. $250.  Call 202-419-6755.

* On Grand Bahama Island,  Old Bahama Bay at Ginn sur Mer offers a "Ginn sur Mer Gourmet Getaway" package, from Sept. thru Feb., with rates beginning at $855 pp for a 3-night stay. Incl. 4 interactive culinary classes (two lunch and two dinner); mixologist demo; dinner entertainment; Interactive cultural lesson; breakfast daily; complimentary use of sail boats, kayaks, snorkel equipment, Hobie cats, the fitness center and bicycles; and more. Call (800) 444-9469.

* In Montalcino, Italy, The Castello Banfi vineyard will host a 4-day “Beck at Banfi” culinary expedition, set for Oct. 28-31 and Nov.  25-28.   Chef Heinz Beck  of La Pergola in Rome will host cooking classes complimented by wine tastings and visits to artisan food producers and markets.  Package incl. 3 nights at Castello Banfi – Il Borgo, lunches and dinners each day at the estate’s Taverna Banfi and other local restaurants.  The estate visit culminates with dinner prepared by Castello Banfi’s chef Guido Haverkock, then travel to Rome for an overnight stay at the Cavalieri Hilton Hotel, and a farewell dinner by Chef Beck at his own La Pergola rooftop garden.   3,000 Euros (US$4,000) pp. based on double occupancy, or 3,800 Euros (US$5,100) for single. E-mail:,  or call 011-39 0577 877700, or visit

NEW FEATURE: I am happy to  report that the Virtual Gourmet is  linking up with two excellent travel sites:

Everett Potter's Travel  Report

I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the  web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury  Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and  a frequent contributor to National  Geographic Traveler,  and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their  travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special  places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of  staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star  places as five-star experiences."  To go to his blog click on the logo below:


Tennis Resorts OnlineA Critical Guide to the World's Best Tennis Resorts and Tennis Camps, published by ROGER COX, who has spent more than two decades writing about tennis travel, including a 17-year stretch for Tennis magazine. He has also written for Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Esquire, Money, USTA Magazine, Men's Journal, and The Robb Report. He has authored  two books-The World's Best Tennis Vacations (Stephen Greene Press/Viking Penguin, 1990) and The Best Places to  Stay in the Rockies (Houghton Mifflin, 1992 & 1994), and the Melbourne (Australia) chapter to the Wall Street Journal Business Guide to Cities of the Pacific Rim (Fodor's Travel Guides, 1991). Click on the logo below to go to the site.



MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Contributing Writers: Robert Mariani,  Naomi  Kooker, Kirsten Skogerson,  Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Suzanne Wright. Contributing Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery,  Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.

 John Mariani is a columnist for Esquire, Wine Spectator, Bloomberg News and Radio, and Diversion.  He is author of The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink (Lebhar-Friedman), The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink (Broadway), and, with his wife Galina, the award-winning Italian-American Cookbook (Harvard Common Press).

 Any of John Mariani's books below may be ordered from by clicking on the cover image.

6y6My newest book, written with my brother Robert Mariani, is a memoir of our years growing up in the North Bronx. It's called Almost Golden because it re-visits an idyllic place and time in our lives when so many wonderful things seemed possible.
    For those of you who don't think of the Bronx as “idyllic,” this book will be a revelation. It’s about a place called the Country Club area, on the shores of Pelham Bay. It was a beautiful neighborhood filled with great friends and wonderful adventures that helped shape our lives. It's about a culture, still vibrant, and a place that is still almost the same as when we grew up there.
Robert and I think you'll enjoy this very personal look at our
Bronx childhood. It is not yet available in bookstores, so to purchase a copy, go to or click on  Almost Golden.
--John Mariani

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copyright John Mariani 2007