Virtual Gourmet

  November 4, 2018                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 


Campari Poster by M. Dudovoch, circa 1912



MIAMI, Part Two

By John Mariani


By John Mariani



By John Mariani


Part Two

By John Mariani


    As noted last week, the real culinary excitement in Miami is happening across the causeways from Miami Beach, whose inundation with snowbirds and South Americans has resulted in little else but buzz-fueled eateries, with a few exception like Habitat and Stiltsville, which I wrote about several months ago. Here are two new restaurants with real personality and innovation of a kind that would be welcome in any city.


104 NE 24th Street

Exterior photo by Gio Alma


    If not exactly kicking and screaming, I was brought to Plant Miami with a great deal of reluctance by a friend who swore I needed to keep an open mind. For Plant Miami is a vegan restaurant that calls itself “The Sacred Space,” and, while I haven’t the slightest problem with vegetarian restaurants or people who choose a vegetarian lifestyle, I find vegans too often to be proselytizers, even belligerent towards those who cannot accept their extreme attitude towards consumption of anything even vaguely having to do with animal products—even wine, which may have been filtered using animal skins.

    But upon arriving at this breezy, casually elegant new restaurant in Wynwood, I didn’t see any staff sporting hemp outfits and no one sneered at my leather belt and shoes.  Nor was there any longwinded philosophical explanation of the food. And, just in case I found the food hard to swallow, they did in fact serve wine I could wash it down with.

    In the end, I could not have been happier than to dine—and I mean dine, not just munch—at Plant Miami, for most of the food was both delicious and beautifully presented. Outside of some insipid fake “activated cheese” and words like “the Sacred Salad” strewn around the menu, there was nothing you might not find on a regular menu that happened to be among the vegetable dishes.

    There on a sunny patio I was as delighted as I was impressed by Chef Horacio Rivadero’s lovely dishes like harvest dumplings with a sweet potato and coconut wrapper and ginger foam ($17). A concentrated confit of papaya with fennel oats and tamari pearls ($17) didn’t need the macadamia “goat’s cheese” but was full of intense flavor.

    Thai noodles with tamarind and panka, kelp noodles, red cabbage, carrots, sesame seeds and watercress ($24) had real heft, chewiness and crunch all at once. “Cacio di funghi” ($25)—another intentional misnomer—was actually a bowl of tasty kelp noodles with a cashew truffle “béchamel,” baby brassica and truffle “caviar.”

    And, if I didn’t know where I was, I’d swear dessert chef Veronica Manolizi’s Key lime brûlée with an expertly made almond crust and vanilla “ice cream” ($16) was the real deal.

    Again, using words like "cheese," "béchamel" and "caviar" here is sheer gimmickry, which Plant Miami does not need when it can produce food of such high caliber.  A rose is a rose is a rose, except when it’s made of soy.


Open for lunch and dinner daily.




223 NW 23rd Street



    Three-year-old Alter is  Chef-owner Bradley Kilgore's  intention to  provide the neighborhood with a very edgy, very loud, very buzzy restaurant that fits into the curiously sleepy Design District. The walls are scuffed up concrete, the ceiling ducts are exposed, the kitchen wide open and a squiggly neon light is the rare note of color.

    One food magazine says, “Alter is so cool it doesn’t even have to try.” But Kilgore (below, far right) is trying very, very hard to produce a distinctive modernist Asian fusion cuisine that, if too often overwrought, is still tantalizing and mostly delicious, best appreciated in the five-course $75 menu, or the seven-course $95 and nine-course $165 alternatives; à la carte is also available.

               Our party began with what has become a much talked-about dish: a soft egg (below, left) with a sea scallop foam, truffle pearls and chives ($10/$20), which had the perfect balance of its elements. If there is such a thing as umami, this might have it. Grouper cheek (below) with nicely chewy black rice, sea lettuces, cucumber and a rich shoyu-laced hollandaise ($32) was a fine, novel melding, as were oyster mushrooms with a yuba tofu crisp with sweet soy glaze and chili threads ($16). Equally fine was duck breast grilled over pine cones that had been cured in sake lees, combined with banana and shio shiro ramen ($34).

    The nominal appeal of wagyu beef ($70/$85) was overwhelmed by an otherwise savory combination of mole, cobia, smoked bean and beef katsuobushi, made from fermented, smoked and dried tuna.

    One of the desserts offered that evening was an odd rendering indeed: whipped caramel with Camembert ice cream, roasted pineapple, marigold honey and bee pollen ($11). Chefs should ask themselves, if no one else had ever thought of piling all those ingredients together on a plate, maybe there’s a good reason.

    By the way, the eight bucks for “bread and beurre” with sumac and dill seed crust and “umami butter” is too much by about seven dollars.

    Kilgore’s imagination invests every item on his menu—none of it that might be described as Floridian—and his technique rings true. But adding more and more to a dish with tweezers does not make it better, especially when some ingredients cannot really be tasted at all.  I suspect he’ll temper his talent soon enough. Miami needs chefs like him to push the envelope.

Open for dinner Tues.-Sat.




By John Mariani

43 West 27th Street (near Fifth Avenue)


    Cardoncello DiVino is not the first New York restaurant to be named after a mushroom—Chanterelle opened in SoHo back in the 1980s—but the owners of this fine osteria in NoMad have added a pun by calling it “divino” (divine) while capitalizing the V so that it also refers to wine.

    The name derives from the cardoncello mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii), which grows at its best in the Mediterranean region, and the restaurant has an exclusive importing arrangement to have them shipped fresh from Puglia every week. They have a unique flavor, woodsy but never musty, and they do not shrink in cooking.

     Executive Chef Max Convertini (left), formerly of Bottega del Vino in Verona, calls the fungus “the beating heart of our restaurant” and mentions its fame as an aphrodisiac as well as the legend that the poet Ovid wrote of it with high enthusiasm. Perhaps.

    While Convertini and chef de cuisine Gianni Palazzo are very serious about their food and wine, the restaurant’s two rooms have a rural, rustic feel, provided by designer Giulia Torregrossa, with off-white brick walls that reveal flowery images upon close inspection, floors with faint pastel colored squares, glowing overhead lighting and an open kitchen. The ambiance demands guests do nothing more than enjoy themselves and be open to new flavors, buoyed by a 150-label wine list.

    The best way to begin, then, is at the top of the menu, with roasted cardoncello mushrooms (right) with potato, caciocavallo cheese and Italian black truffles in a little tart ($17)—or you can get the mushrooms alone as a side dish ($8)—but I highly recommend the panelle of chickpea polenta with tangy goat’s cheese and sautéed shrimp ($15).  You might also consider a tasting of four olive oils ($18). The bread basket is very good quality and plentiful.

    Every pasta I tried was wonderful—all housemade—revealing the ideal texture for fresh pasta cooked perfectly. Gnudi pumpkin and ricotta dumplings were dressed with truffle slices (the white ones will start coming soon) and a crumble of amaretto cookies ($17), while plump, tender agnolotti (below) enfolded braised beef in a leek fondue with a Barolo wine reduction ($22).  The twisted pasta shape caserecce, not often encountered in New York, came with red onion, pork belly, pecorino and a faint touch of housemade crystallized licorice candy ($17).

    Main courses have heft and deep flavors, from slowly braised American wagyu beef cheek, cardoncello mushrooms and shallots served with truffled mashed potatoes ($29).  Admirably fat Colorado lamb chops came with red endive, wild onions, wine must and autumn chestnuts ($33)—about as appropriate a dish for November as you’ll come across right now. Large shrimp langostini were seared and sided with orzotto pasta and a lovely, foamy asparagus fondue ($27).

    Share a couple of desserts, like the fat panzotti (big bellies) stuffed with Nutella, toasted almonds and licorice, or a light blueberry cheese cake made with sheep’s milk and a warm caramel sauce (both  $7).

    On a Monday night Cardoncello was doing good business, but was not full, and I suspect that, when it is, the decibel level will be very high. So, go early, go on a Monday, relax and enjoy some of the most enticing Italian food in the city right now.  Max Convertini is out to enlighten you to his cooking and maybe even convince you those mushrooms are aphrodisiacs.

 Open for lunch Mon.-Fri., for dinner Mon.-Sat.




By John Mariani

 Tenuta Santa Maria Estate

   Let me get some confusion out of the way about the two Bertani names of Italy’s Veneto region. The Bertani family founded its first winery in the 17th century and, by 1857, under Giovan and Gaetano Bertani, established the estate as among the region’s finest producers of traditional Valpolicella, Soave and Bardolino, beginning exports in the 1860s. 

    The company was responsible for the first “Ripasso Secco” Valpolicella, a drier, fuller-bodied wine, and in 1959 produced its first Amarone, under the name Gaetano Bertani, who also created a top-of-the-line project from grapes grown in the highly regarded Tenuta Santa Maria property in the Illasi Valley, which they had acquired in the 1850s.

    Then, in 2012, the historic Bertani company was bought by the Angelini Group, a Roman Pharmaceutical Company with no connection to the Bertani family. Gaetano Bertani and his two sons, Giovanni and Gugliermo, retained ownership of the Tenuta Santa Maria estate, but there is no longer any Bertani family member associated with the old winery. (Not surprisingly, the new company’s website, while providing a long history of the estate, does not mention the absence of the Bertanis.)

    So, the tradition of the original family winery is being carried on by the current generation, Gaetano and his sons (below).  I met Giovanni Bertani last week for dinner at Cardoncello DiVino (see review above) in New York and learned straightaway that in upholding tradition the company is in no way eschewing its strides in modern viniculture.  Indeed, global climate changes are causing wineries throughout Europe to re-think a balance that will preserve the old character of their wines while saving them from being affected by the climate heating up.

    “We’ve had to move some of our vineyards to higher elevations because of the heat,” said Bertani, who looks quite a bit like an Italian Ed Sheeran. “We’re now picking the grapes in September, when it used to be in October. We have to work hard and fast to see if we can even make our wines the way they were in the 1930s. It was not just a different era of wine technology, but the terroir is being affected now to a degree we cannot yet measure.”

    Foremost, the problem of too much heat is that it matures the grapes earlier, so the grapes get fat on sugar that turns into high alcohol. Also, no one knows if a temperature change of even half a degree might alter or kill the microbes that have lived in the soil for millennia.

    “There is also the idea that Amarone”—which by tradition is made by drying Valpolicella grapes from the upper part of the clusters (left), concentrating the sugars to make a wine higher in alcohol and sweetness—“should taste leathery, even oxidized,” he said, “but that was because they were not well made. An Amarone should have good body, but must also taste fresh and complex.”

    Over a meal of antipasti and pastas that we might well have been enjoying in Bertani’s hometown of Verona, we began with a very creamy Lepia Soave 2017 ($20), made from 62-year-old 100% Garganega grapes, whose richness comes from being left on the lees for 50 days. It went very well with a dish of chickpea polenta with tangy goat’s cheese and sautéed shrimp.

    Torrepieve 2016 ($35) was a single vineyard 100% Chardonnay, which is something of a departure for Bertani, and I wondered if they were spreading their net too widely in a Chardonnay-satiated world. Nevertheless, Bertani’s had the vigorous taste of a Grand Cru Chablis.  Fifty percent of the crushed grapes spend 150 days in barrique barrels, the rest fermented in steel containers. In March of the year following the harvest, the two wines are assembled and refined for about six months, followed by four months in bottle. I was impressed.

    Pràgal 2016 ($20) is intended as an international wine that “shows the full expression of our region,” he said, made from Corvina, Merlot and Syrah for spice, with some partially dried grapes spending eight months in big barrels (right), although a small amount of the juice does spend time in barriques. It’s an I.G.T. wine that under Italian wine rules cannot get a more localized D.O.C. appellation.

    Bertani’s Valpolicella Superiore 2016 ($25), from 75% Corvina, 10% Corvinone and 15% Rondinella, at a fine 13.5% alcohol, was a classic style the family is known for, a distinct balance of fruit and acid and a wine that fills the mouth with flavor.

    The Amarone 2012 ($90), made from 75% Corvina, 10% Corvinone and 15% Rondinella, was the last of the wines tasted, and it was very clearly made in a modern style, with none of that nostalgic sweetness and oxidation of the past.  The grapes were picked mid-September and dried for four months on bamboo and wooden mats. By January 50% of their original weight is lost, and the dried fruit is then pressed to ferment for 25-30 days and fined in large barrels. Five years from the harvest it spends another six months in bottle, emerging at 15% alcohol. It was clean, bright and big bodied without being in anyway cloying or alcohol-dominated, the kind of Veneto wine that can easily rank with the best out of Tuscany and Piedmont.

    So while the Bertani name may now belong to a Roman drug company, the break has allowed the current generation of Bertanis to keep their traditions and their style while improving the health of their vineyards and taking on global warming.



“Welcome to the best party in Wicker Park. On a comparatively sleepy stretch of North Avenue, this homage to the Mississippi Delta is so packed it’s practically shaking, filled with men in ironic mustaches and women in ironic wire-rimmed glasses, all of them nodding along to hip-hop and sipping fruity vodka punches from shareable cut-glass vases.”—Delta Sky Magazine.



Snoop Dogg has published his
first cookbook, From Crook to Cook with recipes for lobster thermidor, easy orange chicken, fried bologna sandwiches, a gin-and-juice cocktail, waffles, and other “snacks to satisfy those munchie.” Says the author, “I’m takin’ the cookbook game higher with a dipped and whipped collection of my favorite recipes, ya dig?”



Wine Column Sponsored by Banfi Vintners


   Wine is a joy year-round but in cooler weather one grape varietal has really taken center stage in my daily activities – that most Italian of grapes, Sangiovese, and its ultimate expression – Brunello di Montalcino.
    From mid-September through mid-October, the Sangiovese grown for our various styles of red wines are be harvested, culminating with the top selection for Brunello di Montalcino.
    Second, cooler weather here means it is time to start enjoying more red wines and especially Sangiovese based wines.  That includes Banfi’s cru of Brunello, Poggio alle Mura, literally the cream of the crop of our Sangiovese vineyards. Alongside our Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino, this year we introduced two more wines from the cru Poggio alle Mura – a Rosso di Montalcino and a Riserva of Brunello.  Rosso is sort of like the younger brother of Brunello, also made from 100% Sangiovese grapes but usually a selection from younger vines and the wine is aged only two years compared to the four required for Brunello.  The Riserva, on the other hand, is an even more selective harvest of Sangiovese, and ages for an additional year before release.
    What is so special about this cru Poggio alle Mura?  Well, it is the result our over 30 years of ongoing research at my family’s vineyard estate, Castello Banfi.  When we first began planting our vines there in the late 1970s studies from the University of Bordeaux indicated which strains of many varietals we should plant, based on the soil type and microclimate of each vineyard.  But when it came to the region’s native Sangiovese, there was only local lore, no scientific research.  So we took it upon ourselves to figure out this vine, and set off on three decades of incredibly detailed research.
    We started with 600 apparent variations on Sangiovese, because it is so susceptible to variations in weather and soil, and narrowed that down to 160 truly genetically different clones.  We planted a vineyard with two rows of each type, made wine from each of them, and charted the differences – remember, you only get one chance a year to make wine, so this took time.
    It took about ten years to get some concrete results, though we continue to experiment today and always will – you never stop learning in science and nature!  Once we determined which were the best, complementary clones that could be planted together to make the best Brunello, we chose to plant them in what we determined to be the optimal vineyard sites.  Coincidentally, the best soils and climate conditions are in the slopes surrounding the medieval fortress today known as Castello Banfi, known since Etruscan times as Poggio alle Mura – the walled hilltop.  Hence the name of our most special “cru” of Brunello, representing a synthesis between tradition and innovation.
    Though the focus of this study was our Brunello, all of our Sangiovese-based wines, including the super Tuscans SummuS, Cum Laude, and Centine, benefitted from this work.  And that’s the third reason for celebrating Sangiovese this month, for the range of wonderful reds that usher us into autumn!  One wine in particular was inspired by our research – the BelnerO, a Sangiovese dominant blend with what I like to call a kiss of Cabernet and a whisper of Merlot.  We grow the grapes a little differently for BelnerO than for Brunello, make the wine with less oak aging and released it earlier from the winery, providing a counterpoint to Brunello and a lovely terroir-driven wine in its own right.
     If you know Italians, you know that by nature we are multi-faceted, varying in mood, and always passionate.  As a nation, we span from the hot sunny beaches of Sicily near the African coast to the rugged mountains and Alpine ski slopes of Trentino-Alto Adige in the north.  Sangiovese is grown in almost all of Italy’s regions and reflects the unique nature of each; it is most famous (rightfully so) in Tuscany, yet even there it reflects the nuances of each hilltop, valley and subzone.  It has something a little different to say in Brunello than Chianti, Morellino than Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montalcino than Super Tuscan blends.
    Here is a smattering of Sangiovese-based wines that you may wish to get to know better, reflecting a spectrum that appeals to every occasion, every taste, and every budget.  We can assure you that the conversation will never become boring.

Recommendations for Celebrating Sangiovese 

BelnerO Proprietor’s Reserve Sangiovese – A refined cuvée of noble red grapes perfected by our pioneering clonal research. This dark beauty, BelnerO, is produced at our innovative winery, chosen 11 consecutive years as Italy’s Premier Vineyard Estate. Fermented in our patented temperature controlled French oak and aged approximately 2 additional years. Unfiltered, and Nitrogen bottled to minimize sulfites. 


Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino – Rich, round, velvety and intensely aromatic, with flavor hints of licorice, cherry, and spices. Brunello di Montalcino possesses an intense ruby-red color, and a depth, complexity and opulence that is softened by an elegant, lingering aftertaste. Unfiltered after 1998 vintage. 

Castello Banfi Rosso di Montalcino – Brunello's "younger brother," produced from select Sangiovese grapes and aged in barrique for 10 to 12 months. Deep ruby-red, elegant, vibrant, well-balanced and stylish with a dry velvety finish. 

Poggio all’Oro Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – A single vineyard selection of our most historically outstanding Sangiovese, aged five years before release, the additional year more than that required of Brunello including 6 months in barrel and 6 months more in bottle to grant its “Riserva” designation.  Incredible elegance and harmony. Intense with lots of fruit and subtle wood influence. Round, complete, well balanced with hints of chocolate and berries. Unfiltered after 1998.

Poggio alle Mura – The first tangible result of years of intensive clonal research on Montalcino’s native Sangiovese grape.  Estate bottled from the splendidly sun drenched vineyards surrounding the medieval Castello from which it takes its name.  The Brunello di Montalcino is seductive, silky and smoky.  Deep ruby in color with an expressive bouquet of violets, fruits and berries as well as cigar box, cedar and exotic spices. The Rosso di Montalcino is also intense ruby red.  The bouquet is fresh and fruity with typical varietal notes of cherry and blackberry, enriched by more complex hints of licorice, tobacco and hazelnut.  It is full bodied, yet with a soft structure, and a surprisingly long finish. The Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is deep ruby red with garnet reflections and a rich, ample bouquet that hints of prune jam, coffee, cacao and a light balsamic note.  It is full and powerful, with ripe and gentle tannins that make it velvety and harmonious; this wine is supported by a pleasing minerality that to me speaks soundly of that special hillside in southern Montalcino.

SummuS – A wine of towering elegance, SummuS is an extraordinary blend of Sangiovese which contributes body; Cabernet Sauvignon for fruit and structure; and Syrah for elegance, character and a fruity bouquet.  An elegant, complex and harmonious red wine. 

Cum Laude – A complex and elegant red which graduated “With Honors,” characterized by aromas of juicy berries and fresh spices.

Centine – A Cuvee that is more than half Sangiovese, the balanced consisting of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Vinified in a firm, round style that easily accompanies a wide range of dishes, this is a smooth and fragrantly satisfying wine with international character, and a perennial favorite at my own dinner table. 

Banfi Chianti Superiore – The “Superiore” designation signifies stricter government regulations regarding production and aging requirements, as compared to regular Chianti.  An intense ruby red wine with fruit forward aromas and floral notes.  This is a round wine with well-balanced acidity and fruit.

Banfi Chianti Classico – An enduring classic: alluring bouquet of black fruit and violets; rich flavors of cherry and leather; supple tannins and good acidity for dining. 

Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva – Produced from select grapes grown in the "Classico" region of Chianti, this dry, fruity and well-balanced red has a full bouquet reminiscent of violets.

Fonte alla Selva Chianti Classico – This is our newest entry into the Chianti arena, coming from a 99 acre estate in Castellina, the heart of the Chianti Classico region.  The wine is a captivating mauve red that smells of cherry, plum and blackberry with hints of spice.  It is round, full and balanced with very good acidity.  

Col di Sasso – Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Luscious, complex and soft with persistent notes of fruit and great Italian style structure.



 Any of John Mariani's books below may be ordered from

   The Hound in Heaven (21st Century Lion Books) is a  novella, and for anyone who loves dogs, Christmas, romance, inspiration, even the supernatural, I hope you'll find this to be a treasured  favorite. The  story concerns how, after a New England teacher, his wife and their two daughters adopt a stray puppy found in their barn in northern Maine, their lives seem full of promise. But when tragedy strikes, their wonderful dog Lazarus and the spirit of Christmas are the only things that may bring his master back from the edge of despair. 


“What a huge surprise turn this story took! I was completely stunned! I truly enjoyed this book and its message.” – Actress Ali MacGraw

“He had me at Page One. The amount of heart, human insight, soul searching, and deft literary strength that John Mariani pours into this airtight novella is vertigo-inducing. Perhaps ‘wow’ would be the best comment.” – James Dalessandro, author of Bohemian Heart and 1906.

“John Mariani’s Hound in Heaven starts with a well-painted portrayal of an American family, along with the requisite dog. A surprise event flips the action of the novel and captures us for a voyage leading to a hopeful and heart-warming message. A page turning, one sitting read, it’s the perfect antidote for the winter and promotion of holiday celebration.” – Ann Pearlman, author of The Christmas Cookie Club and A Gift for my Sister.

“John Mariani’s concise, achingly beautiful novella pulls a literary rabbit out of a hat – a mash-up of the cosmic and the intimate, the tragic and the heart-warming – a Christmas tale for all ages, and all faiths. Read it to your children, read it to yourself… but read it. Early and often. Highly recommended.” – Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of Pinkerton’s War, The Sinking of The Eastland, and The Walking Dead: The Road To Woodbury.

“Amazing things happen when you open your heart to an animal. The Hound in Heaven delivers a powerful story of healing that is forged in the spiritual relationship between a man and his best friend. The book brings a message of hope that can enrich our images of family, love, and loss.” – Dr. Barbara Royal, author of The Royal Treatment.


The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink by John F. Mariani (Bloomsbury USA, $35)

Modesty forbids me to praise my own new book, but let me proudly say that it is an extensive revision of the 4th edition that appeared more than a decade ago, before locavores, molecular cuisine, modernist cuisine, the Food Network and so much more, now included. Word origins have been completely updated, as have per capita consumption and production stats. Most important, for the first time since publication in the 1980s, the book includes more than 100 biographies of Americans who have changed the way we cook, eat and drink -- from Fannie Farmer and Julia Child to Robert Mondavi and Thomas Keller.

"This book is amazing! It has entries for everything from `abalone' to `zwieback,' plus more than 500 recipes for classic American dishes and drinks."--Devra First, The Boston Globe.

"Much needed in any kitchen library."--Bon Appetit.

Now in Paperback, too--How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan)  has won top prize  from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.  It is a rollicking history of the food culture of Italy and its ravenous embrace in the 21st century by the entire world. From ancient Rome to la dolce vita of post-war Italy, from Italian immigrant cooks to celebrity chefs, from pizzerias to high-class ristoranti, this chronicle of a culinary diaspora is as much about the world's changing tastes, prejudices,  and dietary fads as about our obsessions with culinary fashion and style.--John Mariani

"Eating Italian will never be the same after reading John Mariani's entertaining and savory gastronomical history of the cuisine of Italy and how it won over appetites worldwide. . . . This book is such a tasteful narrative that it will literally make you hungry for Italian food and arouse your appetite for gastronomical history."--Don Oldenburg, USA Today. 

"Italian restaurants--some good, some glitzy--far outnumber their French rivals.  Many of these establishments are zestfully described in How Italian Food Conquered the World, an entertaining and fact-filled chronicle by food-and-wine correspondent John F. Mariani."--Aram Bakshian Jr., Wall Street Journal.

"Mariani admirably dishes out the story of Italy’s remarkable global ascent to virtual culinary hegemony....Like a chef gladly divulging a cherished family recipe, Mariani’s book reveals the secret sauce about how Italy’s cuisine put gusto in gusto!"--David Lincoln Ross,

"Equal parts history, sociology, gastronomy, and just plain fun, How Italian Food Conquered the World tells the captivating and delicious story of the (let's face it) everybody's favorite cuisine with clarity, verve and more than one surprise."--Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily

"A fantastic and fascinating read, covering everything from the influence of Venice's spice trade to the impact of Italian immigrants in America and the evolution of alta cucina. This book will serve as a terrific resource to anyone interested in the real story of Italian food."--Mary Ann Esposito, host of PBS-TV's Ciao Italia.

"John Mariani has written the definitive history of how Italians won their way into our hearts, minds, and stomachs.  It's a story of pleasure over pomp and taste over technique."--Danny Meyer, owner of NYC restaurants Union Square Cafe,  The Modern, and Maialino.



FEATURED LINKS: I am happy to  report that the Virtual Gourmet is  linked to four 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."  THIS WEEK:

Eating Las Vegas JOHN CURTAS has been covering the Las Vegas food and restaurant scene since 1995. He is the co-author of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants (as well as the author of the Eating Las Vegas web site: www.eatinglasvegas. He can also be seen every Friday morning as the “resident foodie” for Wake Up With the Wagners on KSNV TV (NBC) Channel 3  in Las Vegas.


MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Publisher: John Mariani. Editor: Walter Bagley. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani, Robert Mariani,  Misha Mariani, John A. Curtas, Gerry Dawes, Geoff Kalish, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographer: Galina Dargery. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.


If you wish to subscribe to this newsletter, please click here:

© copyright John Mariani 2017