Virtual Gourmet

  May 21, 2023                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 



Ken Osawa and Hiedji Otaki in "Tampopo" (1985)



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 24 at 11AM EDT,I will be interviewing James Dukis on the Undiscovered Places of NYC. Go to: The episode will also be archived at: almostgolden.


By John Mariani


        Through his TV shows and books Rick Steves  is, to my mind, by far the most useful of guides to Europe, as affable as Ted Lasso and more knowledgeable than scripted TV actors like Stanley Tucci, Eva Longoria and Anthony Bourdain. Fred Plotkin has proven himself the most authoritative food guide to Italy (as well as a highly regarded opera scholar), so the two getting together for a just-published book, Italy for Rick Steves Food Lovers ($22),  which combines his travel expertise with Plotkin’s exhaustive familiarity with Italian food culture. The book explains everything, from why Italian food is different from any other in Europe; how to pick a restaurant in any region of Italy; manners and customs; tipping and not tipping; and recommendations for their favorite restaurants.
     I interviewed Fred Plotkin about how the two collaborated.


How did you and Rick Steves collaborate on this book?

Rick had the idea and approached me in the Spring of 2021. He had done 49 books, with his bestseller being his guidebook to Italy, and decided, for his 50th, that he would return to an Italian theme. He had never done a food book before, and Italian food seemed a natural. I’d appeared on many of his radio shows going back at least a decade. Audiences always seemed to respond to my appearances, and he and I had an easy rapport. Interestingly, we had never met in person and had never traveled together. A few years ago he was in NYC on a quick trip, we had a 30-minute coffee on West 58th Street and did a selfie that I think is in the book. With no one traveling in 2021, with Rick in Seattle and me in NYC, we did this book by writing our own parts and exchanging documents electronically, then reading each other’s work, sorting out details, finding a voice and agreeing when to disagree and saying that “one of this book’s authors believes. . .”  You will see that the voice of the book is mostly “I” and it is us unless we want to emphasize the experience and outlook of just one of us.

But it was not intended to be a strict restaurant guide?

We both agreed from the start that this is not a restaurant guide, because they date quickly. We wanted to create a book that would give the traveler tools to not only to find a good place to eat in Rome, Florence or Venice but to be able to go anywhere in Italy (as is my wont) and find what is local, traditional and genuine. That is why we cover all 20 regions and have a very long glossary that contains foods that the traveler would encounter whether he is in Novara, Macerata or Alghero, or hundreds of other towns.  Rick and I do each list 50 restaurants we like. His are more on the beaten path, mine less so. These are not Italy’s 100 “best “restaurants (I don’t believe in such a thing) but 100 restaurants of different levels that we would be glad to dine at. So, no, it was not about length that had us limit restaurants. It is more that the book’s intention was to have the traveler explore and discover things with my expertise on Italian food culture being their guide.


Your own Italy for the Gourmet Traveler has been the best guide to food and restaurants in Italy. Are you going to do another edition? 

It’s gone through six editions that I assiduously updated between 1998 and 2014, and I’d planned to do a seventh, but my British publisher retired. When Rick approached me, it was during the pandemic and I was not traveling anywhere, so I decided to take the core knowledge of my previous books but not all the listings of restaurants, shops, bars, gelaterie, bakeries, cooking schools and more. Obviously, I researched as if for the first time what I intended to put in print. If the text from Gourmet Traveler worked,  I used it. Otherwise, I created something new that spoke to what I know and believe now.

How did you split up the work?

Everything in the Italian language was my responsibility and, in reading the book since, I have only found two typos in Italian—one a name missing a letter and the other a slight misspelling. These will be fixed when we reprint. 

What is the problem with Michelin Guides’ Italian guidebook?

Italians want you at the table savoring the food, which represents the culture and tradition rather than mere innovation, although they always have innovated, as with the tomato that comes from America. Italy historically has extraordinary ingredients, whereas the French did not have such excellent crops and had to cover them up with sauces.

Why is Italian food so great?

Italian  food is greet because it’s served with love. Around the table you don’t age. A conviviality and family tradition, family recipes and you go to their homes and pull out old books from 1897 how to make a sauce, and they make these recipes that represent their own traditions.


How do you pick a restaurant?

I am led by my nose, I smell something rather magnificent and I ask “Signora, what are you making?” and that leads to a conversation. My books reflect home cooking because I went to school in Italy and had friends’ family dinners. I didn’t learn from cooking school but basically the way the Italian homes teach. If you see  very long menus in many languages, avoid that. You want a restaurant? Ask what's good that day—5 or 6 items. 


The bill. Do we have to tip?

There’s the coperto, a very old term, when you go to a trattoria and you are paying the cover charge for bread and tablecloth—pane e coperto—2 or 3 euros. Beyond that you do not have to tip at all. However, round up, not by much, maybe if your bill is 47 euros pay 50 as an acknowledgement of you’re being pleased.

Do they take  credit cards all over Italy?

More so than before, but some do not take Amex but take the other cards like Mastercard and Visa. Always good to check ahead. 

Traveling with children is a chore, except in Italy.

They and old folks are guests of honor and treated with great love and respect, for some reason Italian children don’t shout. The volume in  restaurants is much  softer than in American restaurants. I don’t want my ears assaulted. 


What should we know about pizza?

In Italy it’s not laden with a ton of ingredients or thick crust, like Chicago-style, which could give you a coronary. Portions here are enough for three persons. In Italy you get a smaller, more digestible portion. Pizza has mozzarella, olive oil, tomato and basil. In Naples they might have friarelle bitter greens that come out only in the winter. A little bit of fish. Elsewhere they add local prosciutto, Speck in the Alps. The  Neapolitan pizza is still the gold standard.








                                               GENESIS HOUSE

                                                                               40A 10th Avenue


   By John Mariani

    Let’s begin by saying Genesis House is one of the most stunning looking restaurants in New York, with a grand second-story view of the lower Hudson River. Set at the edge of the Meat Packing District atop the Genesis car showroom, which is itself beautifully sleek, Genesis House, designed by Suh Architects, is vast without being overwhelming because of the way its 46,000-square-foot area is separated into smaller spaces. Columns and Corten steel hold up a high ceiling whose LED lighting blocks cast a golden glow on the polished wood tables and oak flooring below

            There is a sleek bar area, a section with counter seating, a tea pavilion and an airy library section up three steps, its shelves filled with art, fashion and travel books. It’s all quite serene and the tables are widely separated, set with exquisitely thin Glasvin stemware. There is music, a little too intrusive, but the separation of sections keeps the noise down.
      The restaurant is the first international expansion for Onjium Studios, a Seoul-based cultural institute led by artisans Cho Eun-hee and Park Sungbae, dedicated to creating a “new heritage” based on traditional Korean clothing, food, and housing. The contention is that the restaurant’s cuisine derives from
ancient bang-ga recipes of the royal Joseon Dynasty, which dates to the 14th century (abolished in the late 1800s).
        It is, then, a tad difficult to know how the kind of food Executive Chef Losa Salvieus Yi creates is true to form. No matter: it is true to a sensibility of bang-ga harmony and refined presentation, right down to the diverse ceramics used. The metal chopsticks are lovely to look at, but offer too slippery a surface with which to pick up the food. The stemware, by the way, is elegantly light and thin by Glasvin.
        Yi was born in Korea, moved to New York City to study at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, then trained at Gotham Bar & Grill, Daniel and Aquavit before relocating to London to work at The Savoy. Next stop Vegas, at Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand. Following the pandemic, Yi returned to Korea to immerse herself in the local culture and cuisine of Seoul.
            You may dine à la carte or with a five-course tasting menu at $175, with a $115 wine pairing. The à la carte items are quite expensive and portions not large, so the tasting menu is the better option.
        Burgundy-born General Manager Kevin Prouve has put together a canny wine list that goes well with Yi’s cooking, which involves unusual seasonings and ingredients rarely seen this side of the Pacific Rim.
        All dishes are amply described on the menu, beginning with some Korean snack foods ($14 each): Gim bugak, a fried seaweed chip, along with a delightful pop-in-the-mouth treat called gotcam cheese mari, made of  dried persimmon, Brie Fermier cheese, Brillat Savarin and walnuts.

A fanfare of small plates begins with suranchae ($39) of chilled abalone, scallop, snow crab, octopus, poached egg and crispy pear with a pine nut sauce, based on a dish from a clan in Gyeongju. Abalone makes another appearance in daeha yukjeup naengchae  ($37), along with prawn, Asian pearl mushrooms, asparagus and a deliciously tangy but not-too-pungent mustard meat sauce.  Jinju bibimbap ($35) is subtly flavored moo radish, spinach, bracken fern, mung bean sprouts with a steamed dumpling sauce.
            Large plates are largely seafood and vegetables, as with tongyeong domijjim ($40), a dish from  the port city of Tongyeong made of fleshy sea bream, gochujang red chile paste, shiitake mushrooms and zucchini; goldong myeon ($29) is a mix of nutty wheat noodles rife with shiitakes, onion, zucchini and a soft-cooked egg that brings it all together with a velvety texture. 
Desserts are not as rich or sweet as Western desserts—and very pricey à la carte—but they have their own pleasures, as in baesuk, made with ripe poached pear, pink peppercorn crumble and cream ($19), and pat sirupyeon, which is a steamed rice cake with vanilla red bean crunch  ($17). You’ll end off with “tea snacks” like a yakgwa, a honey and sesame cookie ($11).
            Genesis House’s cuisine obviously deserves the term exotic, but in more subtle ways than more familiar Korean food in New York, which is often based on slices of beef cooked on a fiery brazier set in the center of the table. There are no pyrotechnics at Genesis House, but there is a great deal of individuality and style throughout a meal whose setting is itself quite luminous.


Open for dinner Tues.-Sun.




By  John Mariani


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




            “Doesn’t sound good, does it?” Katie said to David on their way out the front door.
            “Let’s just wait and see. You never know.  Maybe after all these years Philby wants to set the record straight.”
            They took the Moscow Metro back to their hotel just to try to familiarize themselves with the system, then met in Katie’s room to wait for Rufina Philby’s call.  As it got closer to six o’clock Katie was becoming more anxious, while David seemed more resolved that they wouldn’t be hearing from Madame Philby. He sat on the sofa reading the International Herald Tribune.  The Yankees took the American League pennant, the Braves took the National. 
It was ten after six when there was a knock at the door. David answered. A hotel porter handed him a thin package for Katie Cavuto.
            “It’s for you,” said David. “Looks like a book or something.”
            They tore off the plain wrapping to find it was a book of poems by a contemporary Russian poet named Irina Ratushinskaya. There was a slip of paper between two pages with a note reading “Eleven AM tomorrow.”
            The poem on the page, “I Will Live and Survive,” had several lines highlighted in yellow marker. They read: 

I will live and survive and be asked: 

 'Doesn't it hurt you to remember?'  

Not being deceived by my outward flippancy.  

But the former names will detonate my memory –  

Magnificent as old cannon.  

And I will tell of the best people in all the earth,  

The most tender, but also the most invincible,  

How they said farewell, how they went to be tortured,  

How they waited for letters from their loved ones.  

And I'll be asked: what helped us to live  

When there were neither letters nor any news - only walls,  

And the cold of the cell, and the blather of official lies,  

And the sickening promises made in exchange for betrayal. 

            David said, “Looks like Kim Philby’s showing no remorse.”
            “Pretty amazing,” said Katie, “Pretty damn amazing. Well, let’s try to find some dinner and get a good night’s sleep. Oh, I was talking to the chef at the restaurant downstairs. He’s Finnish, but he told me there is one good restaurant we should check out. Called Guria. He said it’s run by a  crazy old lady named Madame Zoya, the food is Georgian, and he said it’s always been a journalists’ hang-out.”
            David said, “That means it’s also a hang-out for Russian spies. That could prove either interesting or contrary to our plans. Well, if the food’s any good, it’s worth a shot.”
            They took the Metro again, out to Park Kulturi, and with little difficulty found the restaurant on K
omsomolsky Prospekt in Gorky Park. The interior was very odd, with inlaid stone and wooden walls, paintings attached to angled ceilings, ornate wooden chairs, a grandfather clock, deer antlers and in one side room a stuffed Russian bear.  As usual in Moscow restaurants, the greeting was perfunctory, customers sat wherever they could find a spot, and it took ten minutes before a waiter came by, slapping down a handwritten menu in Russian.

 “English?” asked Katie.
  Nyet,” said the waiter, who walked away.
    Katie was smiling at the ineptitude of it all; David was not. 
“Well, at least they have a wine list,” Katie remarked. “Pretty cheap, too. Think we should ask the waiter for a recommendation?”
            “I don’t think that’s a great idea,” said David. “Let’s just take our chances.”
            Another ten minutes passed before the waiter came back and the two Americans ordered.  “The chef at the hotel said the garlic and walnut chicken satsivi (right) and the lamb on skewers are pretty good,” said Katie.
            “You don’t mind if we skip the zakuski, do you?” asked David, nodding at a table of tired looking appetizers. “They look awful.” He went with the lamb on a skewer.
            The wine came—from Georgia—and was opened and sloshed into the glasses without asking if Katie or David wanted to taste it first. 
“Ever hear what Hemingway called a wine he once had?” asked David. “He said it was ‘a very Corsican wine and you could dilute it by half with water and still receive its message.’”
            Katie laughed and said, “Well, then let’s toast to Papa Hemingway and try to get this stuff down.”
         “So we’re in Gorky Park,” said Katie.
            “ You never read Gorky Park? It’s a crime novel by Martin Cruz Smith, though he said he never set foot in Moscow. It came out about twenty years ago, about an arrogant Russian cop investigating three murders here in the Park. I forget why, but it involves Russian sables.”
        “Fur coats?”
        “No, live ones, to make into fur coats. Good book.”
           As they looked around the dining room, Katie and David saw it was filled mostly by men dining alone, mostly raucous Russians, with a few others they heard speaking English or French. Katie picked up on one with a British accent who made reference to the London-based Guardian newspaper.  David said, “I suppose you’d like to chat with that guy to see if he knows anything?”
            “Back in New York, maybe. Here, uh-uh. We’ll play this close to the vest, though I’d sure like to know if they could be any help.”
            “Stifle it, Katie. This place could be crawling with spies.”
            “I keep forgetting the Cold War isn’t entirely over.”

        She then noticed a middle-aged woman with her hair half blond, the other half black, wearing what appeared to be folkloric Georgian dress, with plenty of silver bracelets and bangles.  She would talk at a high tone of voice to one table, then, without waiting for a response, move to the next one over and begin again.  All her guests seemed to be on familiar terms with her.
            “I’m guessing that’s Madame Zoya,” said Katie. “Effectively ethnic looking.”
            “Looks a little like a younger Mrs. Khrushchev,” said David. “Hope she doesn’t come  over here.”
            But, of course, Madame Zoya did, booming, “You Americans, yes? Welcome to the best restaurant in Russia!  I am the owner and everyone who comes here is my friend!  Where you from?”
            Katie said New York and Madame Zoya whooped,  “Ah! New York, New York.” She then started to sing—without knowing the words—the melody to the city’s anthem.  “Da-da-dada-da, da da dada da! I want to visit New York before I die.  Maybe I go live there, open a real Georgian restaurant.  You know people who could help me?”
            Katie and David were pretty sure they were not the first Americans Madame Zoya asked this question, but the woman didn’t follow up, saying, “Well, you eat and drink. We talk later.  Buy you a vodka.  How you say it? Over the house?”
            On the house,” said David.
            Madame Zoya snapped her fingers at a waiter and said, “Prinesite im dve vodki!” then swept away from their table to another. Two glasses of chilled vodka of questionable provenance arrived.
         “Well, down the hatch,” David said. Katie’s eyebrows shot up and David shook his head.
            “Whew! I see she gave us her best stock,” said David.   
The food came, along with some steaming hot Georgian bread.
            “How’s the chicken?” asked David.
            “Better than a lot of what we’ve been eating.  Bread’s delicious. How’s the lamb?”
            “As lamb goes—assuming this is lamb—it’s a little chewy but okay. Kind of an antidote for the wine and vice versa.”



John Mariani, 2016




By John Mariani

Winter in the Maipo Valley, Chile


        In 1980 Chilean wine production totaled barely 900,000 liters. In 2022, Chilean wine production totaled 1.244 billion liters, a 7.39 percent decrease from 2021. Likewise, in 2022, Chilean wine export volume totaled 833.5 million liters, a 4.0 percent decrease from 2021. Long dominated by Concha y Toro (founded in 1883), Chile's wine industry began to make fine wines for export only in the 1990s, after post-war decades of heavy taxation and lowered wine consumption. But, after changes in government policy made viticulture profitable, old and new wineries began ripping out weak varietals in favor of premium grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
        Established wine producers from Europe and the U.S. took notice and invested heavily in Chile, including Spain's Miguel Torres and France's Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild, Cos d'Éstournel, G.H. Mumm, and Grand Marnier. In the mid-1990s California wine magnate Robert Mondavi invested $12 million in Chile's Viña Errazuriz vineyards to start up his own Caliterra brand.  There's even a joke among California winemakers that the best place to meet their neighbors is in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel in Santiago.
        This soaring growth in both volume and consistent quality has led some Chileans to aim for the same firmament and prices claimed by Bordeaux and Napa Valley. One of the leaders is
Viñedo Chadwick, whose top Cabernets are selling for $350 a bottle. I interviewed Juan Carlos Pagola (below), managing director of Viñedo Chadwick, as to how such success has been achieved. 

How did Chadwick get such an English-sounding name?


The ancient Chadwick surname originated in Scandinavia during the Viking period. From there, it re-emerged in France and later flourished in England and Scotland before crossing the Atlantic to North and South America. Don Alfonso Chadwick was part of the third generation of the Chadwick family in Chile, descendant from Thomas Chadwick, who was a British mining engineer who headed to the new continent looking for opportunities and settled in the North of Chile in 1820.  Don Alfonso was an accomplished polo player and a visionary in the modernization of the Chilean wine industry, and also considered the father of Puente Alto D.O. Viñedo Chadwick holds his name as it represents the family’s long-cherished desire to honor his memory. This unique wine showcases the family’s heritage and tradition of producing fine wines, with passion for excellence.


Chadwick began plantings in 1992 but took 7 years to produce its first vintage. Were you buying others’ grapes in the meantime? Why did it take 7 years?

Aware of the potential of the Puente Alto terroir, Eduardo Chadwick convinced his father, after his retirement from polo, to transform his beloved polo field into a world-class vineyard, planting Cabernet Sauvignon vines in 1992. The first vintage released of Viñedo Chadwick was 1999. During those seven years in between, Eduardo (below) and the team worked tirelessly to nurture and train the vines to produce the best possible wine, as it takes time and perseverance to handcraft a truly fine wine. With the great quality of this first 1999 vintage, it was clear that Viñedo Chadwick was off to a flying start.



What was the Berlin Tasting and what was the result in the world press?

On January 23, 2004, inspired by the Judgment of Paris, Eduardo Chadwick and Steven Spurrier invited Europe’s most highly regarded wine experts to take part in a historic blind tasting in Berlin. The challenge was to show that Viñedo Chadwick and other fine Chilean wines were at a similar level of quality as the most prestigious wines of the world. The result of this historic tasting proved to be a true eye-opener: Viñedo Chadwick 2000 was placed first, above the First Growth wines from Bordeaux of the millennium vintage, most of which had been awarded 100 points by Robert Parker, as well as the Super Tuscans from Italy. This revolutionary event for the global wine industry, known as “The Berlin Tasting”, turned out to be a milestone for the appreciation of the superb quality of Viñedo Chadwick and led to the discovery and recognition of Puente Alto D.O. Maipo Valley as a world-class appellation.


The number of wineries in Chile rose from 12 in 1995 to over 70 in 2005. What caused this enormous growth? 

Actually, vines arrived in South America in the 1600s with the Spanish Missions, so wine has been part of the Chilean culture for longer. Later in the 1900s some traditional Chilean wineries were established with a more modern approach of winemaking, but it was still for local consumption. And since 1983 Chile opened to exports and that also boosted the growth and modernization of established wineries, as there appeared more business opportunities in addition to the country’s economic growth and investment from abroad that started in the 1990s.

Chile was never affected by phylloxera. Do you have any pre-phylloxera vines in the estate?

In 1992, the fifteen-hectare Viñedo Chadwick vineyard was carefully planted with Cabernet Sauvignon vines from a massal selection. These were entirely ungrafted, as is still common in phylloxera-free Chile, and had been selected on the basis of their age and quality from another estate of the family. New plantings were done in 2015 with Cabernet Sauvignon French clones planted on rootstocks, to add yet more complexity to the blend.

Given that Chile’s Maipo has more consistent weather than Bordeaux, do vintages differ very much at Chadwick?

Vintages do differ at Viñedo Chadwick and we obtain wines that express the terroir in those different conditions. What we have in Puente Alto that is much beneficial for the vines is that rains are concentrated in winter and summers are usually long and dry so we are able to consistently mature the grapes in very healthy conditions until picking time.

Has global warming or El Nino affected your wines?

Global warming is affecting the whole planet, so in terms of winemaking and viticulture, our most important developments are focused on sustainability and water management, which today is one of Chile’s biggest challenges. So we need to be proactive and use it efficiently. At Viñedo Chadwick we recently built a water reservoir to ensure its availability.

Politics once played a decisive role in Chile’s winemaking. Does it still have a part to play?

It was more of a land reform for all agricultural purposes in the past, but it doesn’t have any decisive role in winemaking today.

Chile’s economy expanded rapidly in 2002. How did that affect Chadwick and the sales of your wine?

I don’t believe that had much of an effect. I believe the success of our sales comes from the great quality of our wine that has been recognized internationally and consistently since its first vintage 1999. Its vintage 2014 was the first wine in Chile to be awarded the perfect 100 score by James Suckling.

What are worldwide sales of your wine?

Around 9,500 bottles. It is a very high-end, small-volume production. 

How much is consumed in Chile and how much exported?

Around 7% of our production is sold in Chile. 

Your prices are high compared with most Chilean Cabernets. Is that just supply and demand?

Viñedo Chadwick was born to honor a family’s legacy for excellence. In that sense, it comes from a very small world class appellation, Puente Alto D.O. for Cabernet Sauvignon. The quality of our wine has been recognized by wine critics internationally and consistently since its first vintage. With time, it has become a reference any wine collector must have in its cellar and it has played a leading role in the recognition of Puente Alto as a world-class appellation and the positioning of Chile in the world of fine wine, hence its price. 

Are there plans for expansion into other regions?

No. Viñedo Chadwick is a wine that intends to show this world class terroir of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile. So its production will always be limited to what its 15 hectares has to offer.






A British woman named Sarah Merker (left), 49, was so passionate about scones and U.K. heritage sites, that she spent 10 years on a personal mission to visit 244 sites recognized by the National Trust and to sample a scone at every location.


 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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© copyright John Mariani 2023