Virtual Gourmet

  May 14, 2023                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

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By Joe Sewell



By John Mariani


By John Mariani

By John Mariani


By John Mariani


On this week's episode of my WVOX Radio Show "Almost Golden," on Wed. May 17 at 11AM EDT, reading from my book, co-authored with my brother Robert, of Almost Golden, on which the radio show is based. It will be archived at


                                THE TASTES OF JAMES BOND:

                                                                By John Mariani


      Ian Fleming’s The Man with the Golden Gun (1965) was his last 007 novel before he died in 1964, but he posthumously had published several Bond stories in magazines, including Playboy, where “Octopussy” (as well as several other serialized Bond novels since 1960) ran in March and April 1966. Three months later it was published as a book, Octopussy and The Living Daylights.

            Oddly enough, there’s not much of Bond in the “Octopussy” story, which is told in flashbacks by Royal Marines Major Dexter Smythe, who had been implicated in a murder plot involving Nazi gold, whom 007 is sent after.  After the war Smythe stayed at the Tiefenbrünner Hotel (right) in Kitzbühel, Austria, where he and a guide went off to find the gold.  Smythe killed the guide to keep him silent. Fifteen years later the guide’s body is found under ice, and, ironically, Bond realizes the man had been his own ski instructor when young.
            Smythe, by then a widower, had grown old, bored and depressed, living in Jamaica and tending a pet octopus he calls Octopussy. He begins his morning with a cocktail of brandy and ginger ale called “The Drunkard’s Drink.” Bond finds Smythe and offers him the option of suicide or a court martial, but while hunting for scorpion fish (below), Smythe is stung and dragged underwater to drown by Octopussy. Bond chooses to spare Smythe’s reputation by reporting it as accidental drowning.
            There isn’t much gourmandizing in the story, except references to Smythe’s heavy drinking. He does lunch at the Myrtle Bank Hotel and after his death the local Jamaicans eat Octopussy and the scorpionfish for dinner.
Octopussy as a 1983 movie, the 13th in the Bond series, was quite another story. Indeed, the plot has nothing whatsoever to do with the short story, merely appropriating its name for a plot that takes place largely in India.
            Starring Roger Moore again, the film begins in East Berlin, then shifts  to London, where Bond is assigned to find the seller of a Fabergé egg, which he manages to switch for a fake and bids against Afghan prince named Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan), forcing Khan to pay £500,000 for the counterfeit. Bond then follows Khan to India and checks into the Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel (left) and wins a game of backgammon with Khan. He escapes capture, only to be seduced by Khan’s mistress, Magda (Kristina Wayborn),  in his Indian palace, where they drink Champagne.
Bond allows Magda to steal the real egg, then he is knocked out by a Khan henchman but escapes from the palace. He finds out that Khan has been working with Orlov (Stephen Berkoff), a Soviet general seeking to expand Soviet domination into Western Europe.
            Bond sneaks into the grand floating Lake Palace Hotel at Udaipur (below) and meets wealthy smuggler Octopussy (Maud Adams, who had a similar role in The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974), who also happens to lead the evil Octopus cult of female warriors.She also reveals she is the daughter of the late Major Dexter-Smythe, whom Bond had arrested for treason—the only connection to the original short story. Octopussy thanks Bond for allowing her father to die as he chose to rather than face trial, and invites Bond to a dinner with Bollinger Champagne and Martinis she herself shakes before bedding down.
            Khan’s own palace is the Monsoon Palace (below, right), a former Sajjangarh Fort, where he dines with 007 on sheep’s head, complete with eyeballs intact, causing Bond to quip, “It’s odd, but when I’m stared at I seem to lose my appetite.”
        Bond discovers that Orlov has been supplying Khan with priceless Soviet treasures, replacing them with replicas while Khan has been smuggling the genuine objects into the West via Octopussy's circus troupe. Khan sends assassins to kill 007 but he and Octopussy escape yet again.
        He flies to East Berlin, and, dressed as a clown— surely the most embarrassing moment in the Bond series—he discovers that Orlov has replaced the Soviet treasures with a nuclear warhead, primed to explode during the circus performance at a US Air Force base, thereupon forcing war.
       At the last moment 007 and Octopussy defuse the bomb.
They return to India to mount an assault on Khan’s palace, where Octopussy is captured by Khan and taken onboard a plane that 007 manages to cling to before entering the cockpit and killing Octopussy’s captor, then parachuting out before the plane crashes into a mountain, killing Khan.
        The film ends with Bond and Octopussy canoodling on her private yacht.    




                                                                                     25 West  51st Street


                                                                                       By John Mariani



      I recently wrote of the genteel pleasures of Old School Italian dining, and you will find all those fine touches that make such restaurants so engaging at the new Duomo 51, directly across the street from New York’s Rockefeller Center. In addition, you will find a modernity that is rare anywhere, equaled in New York only by Fasano a few blocks away on the East Side. Duomo 51 is one of the most beautiful restaurants in the city and has a unique view that takes in the glowing beauty of St. Patrick’s Cathedral (duomo” is Italian for cathedral) and the flag-encircled plaza at Rock Center, amidst those stunning art deco towers that surround it.
     The restaurant is on the seventh floor of the Doubletree Hotel, whose drab reception hall gives no indication of the restaurant’s finery above, reached by an agonizingly slow elevator. Once arrived and cordially greeted, you will find that the entrance widens onto a glass-enclosed dining room that is dazzling without being snazzy, done in rich colors of dark wood and burgundy, with superb Shaker-like chandeliers, a gorgeous figured carpet and lamps at the beautifully set tables, with their signature china, pinging wine glasses and good silver. Beyond the glass wall is a more casual terrace with a retractable roof for warmer weather.
You will also be greeted with sincere warmth by Sammy V. Gashi, who also owns the estimable Ramerino Italian Prime team across town. The Italian menu, flecked with Tuscan elements, is by Executive Chef Vilfrid Hodoj, who has worked in La Giostra in Florence. He’s the one in the wildly colorful death’s head patterned shirt and densely tattooed arms.
      I highly recommend you begin with the superior burrata, peppered and nestled with red and yellow tomatoes laced with olive oil and scented with basil ($20). Carpaccio is of paper-thin, air-dried bresaola ham with marinated arugula and cherry tomatoes, shaved Parmigiano and a splash of lemon dressing ($22). Excellent octopus is carefully grilled and enhanced by an unusual chickpea cream and squirt of lemon ($25), while sliced artichokes and avocado are layered with Parmigiano  ($20). All these are generously portioned.
      There are two soups and ten pastas, all made in house, beginning with “barone rosso” (red baron), large rigatoni in a reduction of red pesto composed of tomato sauce with pine nuts and burrata cheese ($27). Having experienced of late a number of disappointing cacio e pepe dishes, I became exuberant over the quality and care with which  Duomo 51’s is made, with tonnarelli spaghetti and deftly incorporated 24-month-old Parmigiano ($27). “Tartufo” is a plate of tender pappardelle lavished with wild mushrooms, goat’s cheese, truffle oil and a well-wrought demi-glace of exceptional depth ($29). High kudos for the risotto, too, tinted golden yellow with saffron and combined with sweet spring asparagus and zucchini ($26).
      After the complex flavors and richness of the pastas, it’s best to go with simpler main courses, like the impeccably cooked, nice, fat Dover sole swiftly deboned tableside (MP) or the baked orata (sea bream) with cherry tomatoes , potatoes, capers and olives in a light white wine sauce ($39). Both scaloppine of veal in lemon butter ($39) and a chicken del pastore with goat’s cheese and brown sauce ($32) needed seasoning one night.
    Desserts ($12) are sumptuous and beautifully plated, from a chocolate torta with a hill of whipped cream and a moist brownie with vanilla ice cream to a classic Italian cheesecake and marvelous Sicilian-style cannoli you should share.
      Duomo 51’s wine list is solidly crafted in every category, with 15 wines by the glass, none priced above $18, and—Grazie, dio!—among the bottles there are plenty of whites and rosés under $50, the price where the red wine prices begin, with many under $100 and an impressive slew of affordable Tuscan bottlings.
       Duomo 51 is both a credit to the enduring virtues of traditional Italian food and hospitality, but it also exhibits the esthetics of the most modern ristoranti in cities like Rome and Milan. They, too, have their cathedrals and their piazzas, and Duomo 51’s New York variations compare with the best of them.


Open for breakfast daily; lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat.



By  John Mariani


To read previous chapters of GOING AFTER HARRY LIME go to the archive



        Katie and David decided the fewer people who knew they were going to Moscow the better. Had David been on an official police investigation, he would have been happy to have contacts in Russia. But, without anything but Lentov’s information on Philby, it would have been both foolhardy and suspicious to alert anyone of their intentions.  Better Katie and he came up short and failed to find Philby than to put potential roadblocks in their way.          

    David knew Katie had every right to be concerned about their safety in Moscow, having twice been in what she thought would be routine interview situations and both times come close to being killed. This time the prospects seemed less than benign, for, although the Cold War might well have ended in the early 1990s, it seemed to her it was really more of a thaw, and, as she had learned, many of those who now ruled in Russia had come out of  the Soviet Union’s military and intelligence brigades. 
They were flying on Aeroflot, the successor to the Soviet airline of the same name, and Katie and David were relieved to hear the aircraft would be a newly purchased Airbus A310, rather than the inferior Russian-made IL-96 then being phased out of service.  Having heard so many distressing stories about Aeroflot in the past, Katie had looked its record up and found the Soviet Aeroflot had had 721 safety incidents in 44 years, and in 1976 alone a total of 33 accidents or major incidents. She was somewhat encouraged to read that safety under the new Aeroflot was rated highly. She’d also heard that under the Soviets, most of the cabin crews worked for the K.G.B. in some capacity. She assumed that was no longer the case.
         Despite the usual delays out of Heathrow, the flight landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in under four hours. Then, with the security checks, Katie and David lost another two hours before getting a taxi into the center of the city, which took another hour. The two Americans had read how huge a city Moscow was—a third larger than London and twice the size of New York—and since 1990 its population had risen from below nine to above ten million, with most people still living in Soviet Era buildings intended to house more than one family per apartment.
         On their way into the city center they could see the onion domes of Saint Basil’s Cathedral (above), the Kremlin, some of the so-called Seven Sisters, a group of massive skyscrapers dating to the Stalinist period, and the needle-like Ostankino Tower (right). They were surprised to pass so many parks and by the wide expanses of boulevards and the breadth of the Moskva River.
         By 1999 the city had begun to have sufficient hotels to handle much-needed tourism, so that the outrageous prices of the business travel hotels in the early ’90s had been alleviated by more international hotel chains opening in the center. Katie and David checked into the Hotel Metropole, which dated back to 1899 in an opulent Art Nouveau style. It had been seized by the Communists, served as a war correspondents’ quarters during World War II, and didn’t emerge again as a public hotel until1991, with investment from Finnish developers. By 1999 it was in good shape again,  the lobby quite magnificent, and Katie and David had gotten a good rate for standard rooms. When David opened the curtains in his, he was greeted by the sight of a large statue of Karl Marx (below) in the plaza across the street.
         Katie and David had been told not to expect much in the way of great, or even good, restaurants, which, outside of the grander hotels, had not yet proliferated, and those that had opened were of a very basic kind, catering to what the management believed tourists wanted to eat, even if the kitchen was unable to get first-rate ingredients. 
Katie and David decided to ease into Moscow, behaving as simple tourists there to see the sights.  They’d booked six days in the city, and on the first two they visited the various requisite sights and museums. The advice they’d received about the restaurants was borne out by a series of dreary meals that usually began with zakuska appetizers that seemed to have been made hours before dinner, some with questionable caviar, followed by items like borshch, chicken Kiev and skewered shashlik, accompanied by overpriced Russian wines and even more overpriced European bottlings. The one meal they had at their hotel’s domed restaurant—a favorite of Philby’s, Katie had read—was made from better ingredients but followed a continental line-up of dishes like filet mignon topped with canned foie gras and overcooked filet of sole with grapes.  The wines were better but much more expensive.
         On their third day they decided it was time to try their luck in contacting Kim Philby at the address Lentov had given them. It was off one of Moscow’s principal boulevards—a show street named Tverskaya (below), but as with most show streets in the city, what lay just behind them were Soviet apartment buildings of stunning sameness. Block after block extended away from the boulevard, crisscrossed by narrow lanes, with only a few pre-Soviet buildings left for the eye to rest on.
         Knowing no Russian, Katie had asked the hotel concierge to write down the address in Cyrillic script that she could show to a local in the neighborhood. The first two people she showed the paper to responded rapidly in colloquial Russian, barely gesturing at left and right turns then rushing off.  Finally David spotted two young Moscovites, perhaps college students, walking towards them. He hailed them and asked, “Do you speak English?”
         One young man, the taller one, nodded, looked at how the Americans were dressed, and said, “Yes, a little. You are from the United States?”
         “Yes,” said Katie with a broad smile. “We are from New York.”
         This made the two Russians smile enthusiastically.  One said, “Ah, New York. I go there to study next year.”
         “What school?” she asked.
         “University of New York,” he said, “to study physics.”
         “You mean New York University?” said Katie. “They call it NYU.  You’re going to love it.”
         “Ah, yes, New York University,” said the student. “The neighborhood is safe?”
         David smiled. “Getting safer all the time.” He stifled an urge to inquire about the crime rate in Moscow, which he’d heard was very low, then asked. “Listen, do you know this address?”
         The two students looked at the paper and discussed the address in Russian. One seemed to believe it was this way, the other that way. Finally, they told the Americans they would help them find it, and at the end of the block asked an elderly local if he knew the street. The man mumbled something in Russia;  the students thanked him and Katie and David did, too, in English.
         “Okay,” said the tall student. “We go this way.”
         After a few blocks and two or three turns the students pointed to a nondescript apartment building in the middle of a shabby block, indicating that it should be the address the Americans were looking for, although many doorways had no numbers on them.
         Katie desperately wanted to ask the students to knock on the door and speak in Russian to whomever answered, but David was holding her by the arm and shook his head. They thereupon thanked the students profusely, and Katie gave them her business card, telling them to contact her when they came to New York.
         “I wish you hadn’t done that,” said David. “It’s leaving a paper trail.”
         “Oh, they seemed like just a couple of nice kids.”
         “You never know, Katie,” said David. “And I don’t want to find out.” He took a deep breath and said, “You ready?”
         There was a bell, just one, though the building obviously had many apartments.  Katie and David rang it and waited, then rang again, not hearing if the bell was actually sounding inside. Then, from behind the door, they heard a woman’s voice saying, “Khorosho, ya idu, ya idu,” which the Americans assumed was “Okay, I’m coming, I’m coming.”
         The woman, who was quite elderly and acting as the building’s concierge, asked in Russian what the Americans wanted, and Katie had come prepared, reading from a piece of paper, “Ya ishchu mistera Filbi.  Ya ponimayu, chto on zdes’ zhivet”—“I would like to see Mr. Philby. I understand he lives here?”
         The old woman looked at them suspiciously, as she did every visitor, and said only, “Da.”
         Katie had run out of Russian notes, so, using her hands tried to indicate that “We . . . would . . . like . . .  to see him.”
         The woman seemed to nod and said, “Zhdite zdes’” which seemed to mean “wait here.”  She closed the door and could be heard shuffling away and up a stairwell. Several minutes went by, then the sound of steps down the stairs.  Katie and David could hear the concierge speaking with another women. The front door opened halfway and a woman looking to be in her late sixties stood behind it. She spoke English, saying, “You are English, American? What do you want?”
         The look on her face was not one of anxiety but showed disdain for the two Americans. Katie and David knew immediately that the woman was Philby’s wife, Rufina Pukhova, her hair as garishly red as it was in photos from when she’d married Philby in 1971.
         Katie explained in as few words as possible that they’d been informed that Kim Philby was alive, if not well, and that she and David wanted only to interview him for a story they were working on about Graham Greene and The Third Man.
         “Where did you hear that Kim was still alive?” the woman asked.
         “In London, from a man named Leonid Lentov.”
         Rufina Philby smirked and said, “Lentov? I haven’t heard his name in years. Such a fool.”
         David said, “But I understand he was a friend of your husband and that he visited the two of you here.”
         Rufina Philby knew she could not rid herself of the Americans by insisting her husband was dead. She stood silent for a few moments, then said, “Where are you staying?”
         “The Metropole,” said Katie.
        "I doubt that my husband would want to speak to you, but give me your room number at the hotel. If you hear from me it will be by this evening.  If you do not, go home. There is nothing for you to learn here.”         
Katie wrote down her room number and Rufina Philby closed the door without saying anything.


John Mariani, 2016




By John Mariani

To make a generalization about what women prefer about wines is both foolhardy and open to debate. I do know that if it weren’t for women, Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio would not be the success it is in the States, and it is probably not too controversial to say that many (not all) women prefer fragrant white wines to massive reds.  That said, here are several bottlings I’m sure would be welcomed at today’s Mother’s Day table.


Il Ducale Red Blend ($16)—Ruffino might have called this a “Super Tuscan,” but its own historic name has no need of that wholly unofficial publicity name. This is a blend of Sangiovese, Syrah and Merlot, and the second of those is unusual in a Tuscan blend. It spends eight to ten days on the lees for color and concentration and is aged 12 months in casks of various age. The wine is velvety, thanks to the Merlot, and has the traditional dark fruit flavors of Tuscany.


Catena Zapata Argentino Vineyard Malbec 2020 ($100)—Quite a celebratory wine at this price. Catena Zapata was founded in 1902 and has had long experience prior to Argentina’s Mendoza Valley explosion of wine production and helped put the country’s Malbec on the map. Laura Catena in fourth generation and now winemaker. This is a 2020 vintage, so it’s a bit young and will mature over the next five years, but it is a fine example that would go well now with ham and pork.


Flora Springs Soliloquy White 2021 ($60)—Sauvignon Blanc on its own can taste either overly grassy or too much like punch, but Soliloquy blends together 73% Sauvignon Blanc, 12% Chardonnay and 15% Malvasia to make a far more interesting, elegant wine from a heralded vintage, the 41st from Flora Springs at its Oakville estate in Napa.  General Manager Nat Komes took Soliloquy on as a “personal project, experimenting with different yeast strains, fermentation regimes, aging vessels and varietal compositions.” The Chardonnay component added creaminess to the acids and floral components. Super wine for salmon.


G.H. Mumm Cordon Rosé ($55 )—A very decently priced rosé Champagne from one of the region’s classic marques, with a real intensity of flavor based on Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. It’s quite lovely in color, of course, and it has just a touch of sweetness that buoys the fruit. As an apéritif or first course wine with cold food, this will delight everyone at the party. Even with a bag of French fries this would work wonders.


Hahn Appellation Series Chardonnay 2021 ($20)—Arroyo Secco is a very small wine region in California with an impressive reputation, and Hahn is among the best known producers. It’s 99% Chardonnay and, truth be told, at 14.5% alcohol it’s got some power of a kind that will match very well with dishes that have some spice, like crabcakes with a salsa, huevos rancheros or lobster fra diavolo, as well as semi-soft cheeses. Its grapes are sourced from the Ste. Nicolaus Vineyard.


Lucy Gamay Noir 2022 ($30)—Sourced from Santa Lucia Highlands’s granite-rich soil, similar to that in Beaujolais, where Gamay rules, this wine is what the Pisoni family is aiming for as an easy-to-drink style on the order of a Fleurie. True, it’s only a year old, but it is not supposed to age much further, so it is a good spring-summer option, especially with canapés, pork or chicken.


Pio Cesare Barolo 2019 ($75)—Barolos can be confusing because the vineyards differ a good deal within a small area—170 recognized MGA crus—and there is a good deal of variation. Pio Cesare has had five generations, now under Federica Boffa, to establish their classic style by blending grapes from the different family-owned vineyards throughout the appellation for Nebbiolo. The vintage allowed for a late harvest  concentrating the flavors, and although you could keep this beautiful wine for several years, it is quite enjoyable now with all red meats because of its elegance and refinement of flavors.


Landmark Vineyards Overlook Pinot Noir 2018 ($50)—The 2021 vintage is currently released, but I like the age of this 2018, a blend by Greg Stach from cool climate vineyards in Monterey, Santa Barbara and Sonoma Counties. Hand-harvested by night, the grapes stay cool for the crushing. This has several layers of Pinot Noir flavors, a little spicy, a little nutty, with a good texture, and its 14.3% alcohol gives it heft without grit.  Excellent wine for roast lamb.


M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc 2022 ($14)—A definite bargain for a nuanced white wine made from Grenache Blanc, Rousssane, Clairette and Bourboulenc in a classic Côtes-du-Rhône style by one of the region’s biggest producers. The limestone component is evident in its fresh minerality, and it went through a light maceration and spent five months on the lees, emerging in the bottle at an ideal 13.5% alcohol. At this price you could drink it all summer long with pleasure.





"A New Jersey Mystery: Who Dumped Hundreds of Pounds of Pasta, and Why? The police and public works employees responded after '15 wheelbarrow loads' of pasta were dumped in mounds along a creek in Old Bridge, N.J."



 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.



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


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