Virtual Gourmet

  October 29, 2023                                                                                            NEWSLETTER                              

Founded in 1996 


"Nature Morte" by Cezanne





By John Mariani

By Geoff Kalish

By John Mariani


By John Mariani



By John Mariani

Trevi Fountain, Rome



         In Thailand the government has closed beaches where tourists have caused the destruction of the ecology and coral. In Venice they have banned leviathan-size cruise ships from docking. But in Rome they can’t even manage to pick up the garbage.
         After a decline during Covid,  the number of international tourist arrivals in Italy as of May of this year grew by 15 percent compared with the previous year—about 7.7 million, a million more than last year; about 68 million visitors are expected this year. Overwhelmingly these tourists are engorging Italy’s main attractions, with ferries bringing tens of thousands every day to Capri and caravans of buses to trip over the ruins of Pompeii. Even George Clooney and his family have put up for sale their villa on Lake Como because of the intrusions by tourists. Throngs line up to take silly photos posed against the backdrop of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The once charming town of Amalfi is now little more than a piazza dominated by cafés and pizzerias with a single uphill street lined with souvenir shops selling bottles of limoncello and t-shirts.
Even places once considered of secondary interest to tourists, like Milan, Genoa, Bari, Sorrento and Verona, have become overwhelmed. Also very wealthy: Tourism is Italy’s largest industry; manufacturing is second.
         Nowhere is it worse than in Rome, where it can take hours to get into the Vatican Museum (right); reservations several days in advance to get very pricey tickets to the Villa Borghese; and the crush at the Trevi Fountain makes getting through the crowd a gauntlet of pushing and shoving. The streets are dirty, graffiti is scrawled everywhere on ancient buildings, the buses and trams are unwashed, and the subways are rudimentary.  I asked a hotel concierge which number bus to take for a destination, and he said, “I don’t know. I haven’t taken a bus in twenty years.”
         To be sure, Italy is not alone in having such boom time woes. International tourism is up everywhere, and Paris, London, Barcelona and even Reykjavik are enjoying record numbers.
         One of many post-Covid reasons for the onslaught is warmer— much warmer —temperatures earlier and later in the year, thereby extending the tourism season by at least two months. In already warmer climates like Italy and Greece off-season barely exists any longer, with people traveling year round. Concomitant with such weather are soaring, searing temperatures that cause stifling heat waves in summer. Even those Italians who head for the beaches of Sicily in summer have found the heat unbearable. And air-conditioning is a very rare amenity.
         Italy has been far too successful in attracting people from all over the world, as much for its widely diverse natural beauty as well as for countless cultural achievements that date back to the Roman Empire. The appeal is as much to Asians as Europeans and Americans, and there will be as many Chinese and South Koreans on line to get into Florence’s Uffizi museum or Rome’s Sistine Chapel as Americans these days.
         As someone who has traveled to Italy dozens of times over fifty years, the experience has begun to be more of a slog than a restorative pleasure. Where once I could sit on the Spanish Steps with a cup of gelato, thinking of that idyllic moment when Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck did the same in the 1953 movie “Roman Holiday,” sitting on the Steps is now banned—and well policed —owing to incessant damage done to the monument by tourists.
         There is, though, an irony about the tourist invasion that has managed to keep Italy’s food and wine culture alive and well. The fact is that many tourists arrive in a place like Capri or Venice in the morning and leave in the late afternoon, which is a boon only to the souvenir shops and pizzeria owners. Which means that the visitors don’t sit down midday for a fine lunch or stay through dinner, allowing those of us who do, including the Italians themselves, to relax over a plate of pasta and glass of wine.
         Nowhere, on a trip to Rome this month, was this more evident than at Al Moro (below), a restaurant dating back to the 1920s and once favored by Federico Fellini and his movie crowd. It is still very popular, and the food is excellent—their specials like fettuccine alla Moro—were perfected decades ago. You may still need a reservation at dinner, but at lunch my wife and I found it nearly empty at one o’clock. Yet, just around the corner the bustling, crushing, cacophonous crowds at the Trevi Fountain made getting to the restaurant difficult. These tourists don’t eat at restaurants like Al Moro (below); they eat pizza or an Italian sandwich if they have time at all.
         Over two weeks eating around Italy, from Rome to Sorrento, I dined as splendidly as I ever have. The food, from the glistening fresh seafood displayed on a table inside the entrance to the abundance of autumn’s funghi porcini (below) lavished on pastas and risottos, showed no drop in quality or attempt to cater to a tourist crowd. What’s more, prices have not budged from what they were pre-Covid. A very generous plate of rigatoni alla carbonara or tagliolini cacio e pepe might cost 12€ to 14€ in a trattoria and 16€ to 20€ at a more upscale ristorante. A carafe of good house wine may be 12€, and wine lists have plenty of bottles under 30€. And along with this seeming largess you get starched tablecloths, soft lighting, comfortable, un-cramped seating and a wholly civilized noise level. And service is included, so there’s no need to tip.
         Thus, while I’ve grown weary of battling the crowds on the streets of Italy, I am never happier than when I go through the door of a restaurant—one I know or one that’s new—to sit down, relax and get away from the maddening crowd beyond.
        The grandeur that was Rome is still there, but it takes longer and longer to get to see it. But time still stands still in front of a bowl of spaghetti all’amatriciana.




41 West 42nd Street

By Geoff Kalish

Note: Since my daughter-in-law works at Gabriel Kreuther,
I asked my colleague Geoff Kalish to review this restaurant.—John Mariani


        In celebration of my wife’s birthday, we recently had dinner at New York City’s Michelin two-star Gabriel Kreuther restaurant. Situated across from the New York Public Library and just outside the border of Manhattan’s Times Square, this establishment is a far cry from most pre- or post-Broadway theater dining spots. Opened in 1995, it is named for its chef/co-owner, who has previously held head chef positions at some of New York’s top eateries, including Jean-Georges and The Modern at MOMA, and he has won multiple awards (including the James Beard award as Best NY Chef in 2009).
        The restaurant serves first class seasonal fare with a nod towards French-Alsatian cuisine in an exquisite, rather serene, yet simple space of modernity in shades of gray and beige with exposed wooden beams, featuring booths as well as widely spaced, free standing tables—all with fine signature china, excellent glassware and good silver. Also, upon entering the restaurant, we were struck by the fact that people were speaking in hushed voices (unfortunately all too rare for most New York City dining establishments).
        As to the seasonally changing food choices, there are three-course ($155) and four-course ($165) menus with 4-5 choices in each course as well as a chef’s tasting menus at $165 (three courses), (195 (four) and $265 (tasting men), in addition to a “to share” section including items such as caviar—Kaluga ($270 for 50 grams) and Oestra ($300), both served with nori gateaux and buttermilk éspume—a hen-of-the-woods tarte flamb
ée ($34) and truffled country pâté ($34). And, after some explanation of a number of items on the different menus from a very patient, professional server, we chose the four-course menu and, rather than go with the wine pairing, we chose a bottle of 2014 Château de Sales Bordeaux from Pomerol ($125), with flavors of ripe plum and cherry and a smooth finish with hints of herbs, that made a great match for the food served.
        The parade of artistically presented, flavorful fare began with an amuse bouche of two small mushroom-flavored puffs, a jellied square that had the taste of Alsatian Riesling, and a few other portions of delectable tidbits, each tasting of the French countryside. For first courses we selected a moist aged yellowtail kingfish crudo, its natural buttery flavor enhanced by a citrusy marinade and pickled tomatillos, as well as a generous portion of fois gras terrine served with pickled jackfruit, Riesling gel
ée with notes of tropical fruit and a slice of slightly sweet, nutty-tasting bread, made in-house from emmer wheat.
       For one mid-course item we enjoyed a memorable sturgeon and sauerkraut tart topped with imperial Kaluga that had a combination of smokey, tangy, sweet and salty flavors reminiscent of those previously encountered at restaurants in Alsace; the other consisted of a generous portion of four-cheese agnolotti accompanied by a heady red pepper-olive relish and a sweet Sungold tomato coulis. From a selection of five main courses we opted for an order of hay-smoked, two-week-aged duck breast, two thick cuts of rosy, moist duck served with a portion of scallion-cheddar cornbread, and a slice of medium-rare free-range roasted lamb loin from Thomas Farm in Australia, served alongside sweet tri-color carrots and a portion of spicy merguez sausage.
      We concluded with pastry chef Priscilla Scaff Mariani's coconut and pineapple panna cotta served with dollops of frozen mint marshmallow, and a derby-shaped portion of milk ice cream encrusted with chocolate. And, of course, they served my wife a special over-the-top celebration dessert of a white chocolate cake with a pistachio-caramel-rice crust.
        All in all we thought that the meal was comparable to those we’d only experienced in Alsace at the Haeberlin’s outstanding Auberge de L’ill in Illhaeusern and definitely worth a visit when in New York. And we are already planning to return, without even a special occasion to celebrate.

Open for Lunch Mon.-Fri.; dinner Tues.-Sat.


Dr. Geoff Kalish is a food and wine writer who lives in Mt. Kisco, NY


By  John Mariani

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


        Katie and David saw no benefit in telling Toth anything else, since it appeared his plan was to keep them from ever leaving that room. David said, “It was simpler than that. I just checked the military archives and your name turned up in both the American and British records.”
         “But how did you then make the connection of Neame with me?”
         David was not about to say anything about Kim Philby so he said only, “MI6 had more info on you than you probably realize.”
         Toth sniffed, “I doubt it. Otherwise they would have come after me a long time ago. Of course, I did have my Russian benefactors who kept the British off my trail after I left Vienna. I’m assuming you put two and two together at some point, but it really doesn’t matter. The fact that you are here and know what you know means that I’m not going to let you go back and write one of your award-winning stories about me, Miss Cavuto. I’m afraid your investigation has come to nothing.”
         “So what now?” asked David. “You gonna just shoot us and toss our bodies in the lake? Maybe feed us to the wolves?”
         “Oh, the lake is much too shallow and there haven’t been wolves in these forests for decades. It should be of no concern to you once you are dead. And I have devised a method of your dying with relatively little or no pain. My company has developed a drug that shows real promise in slowing the progress of Alzheimer’s Disease. We’ve been doing clinical trials on animals for quite some time, but we’re not there yet. We haven’t found the right levels or mix with other drugs that counteract the side effects.”
         Katie’s eyes were wide, her frame shaking. David was squinting at the three men in front of him, trying to figure out how to buy time. He said, “I’m afraid to ask, but what might those side effects be?”
         “Mainly, if too much is administered in too short a time, the brain begins to shut down and the synapses stop firing, and, well, it’s all very technical, but let’s just say, you will cease to be you. Not quite the way I ceased being Harold Neame, but you will cease to be. You won’t feel very much. More like going to sleep, losing your bearings over an hour or so.
         “The good thing is that, if such effects take hold in a controlled experiment, we’ve found they can be easily counteracted within the first fifteen minutes by a simple injection of  a compound called acetylcholine, preventing memory loss. Good for metabolism, too. They are also widely used in the food industry, where it’s called, simply, vinegar. One injection and it stops the drug from overpowering the brain’s natural metabolism.”
         “Why the hell don’t you just shoot us?” growled David.
         Toth scoffed at the suggestion. “I’m not one of your Mafiosi, Detective Greco. Plus, I’ve never been able to experiment with the drug on human beings, so I hope to learn something that can be applied to making it fit for humans in the future.”
         “You’re deranged, Toth,” said David. “Probably always have been, and now you’re trying to make us believe your murdering us is some kind of medical experiment, like the Nazis did. What a delusional piece of crap you are.”
         David thought that might get him slapped but Toth just shook his head, as if to suggest he was not a thug like his henchmen.     
The cuffs made it impossible for David to reach out and calm Katie’s shaking but he kept nodding at her and saying, “It’ll be O.K, it’ll work out fine,” not believing a word he said. If only he could somehow disarm one of the thugs and turn the gun on the other, but that was not going to happen.
         “Tell me something, Toth,” said David. “I’m sure you know that speech Harry Lime gives in the Ferris wheel car when he asked Holley Martins if he gave a damn if any of those people below died because of Lime’s activities. I take it that pretty much sums you up.”
         Toth collapsed back onto the couch and laughed. “That was a brilliant little piece of dialog, wasn’t it. Greene certainly had a way with words.”
         “Actually, Orson Welles wrote those lines,” said David.
         “Really? I had no idea. In any case, maybe I did feel that way back then. I had seen so much evil during the war, so much killing and bombing of civilians by the Allies. Dresden just went up in flames like a bonfire. More than a hundred thousand people wiped out at Hiroshima and almost as many at Nagasaki. Did you know
that even the great Churchill allowed Coventry to be bombed by the Germans so that they wouldn’t find out the Brits had broken their Enigma Code?”
         Katie finally piped up, “For what it’s worth, that story’s been totally debunked.”
         “Maybe so, maybe not. Official histories aren’t very reliable.” Toth’s face darkened. “By then I’d seen so much of death, so many people sacrificed on both sides for the almighty ‘cause.’ I was there when the Allies stumbled into Auschwitz—Der Führer’s so-called ‘Jewish solution.’  However horrible to see, I’d been so numbed by then that I saw the camps as just one more insidious form of mass madness that had gripped the entire world.
         “In any case, those experiences soured me, and when it appeared I could make a little money on the black market selling both real and fake penicillin, I managed to distance myself from the effects of the latter.  I didn’t always know which was which, and I never believed the fake stuff did any harm to anyone. I don’t think I was as cynical as Lime, but perhaps I thought the world was turned upside down and I was scrambling to keep my balance in it. You know, Graham Greene once wrote, ‘We'd forgive most things if we knew the facts.’”
         “And the Russians were complicit in your activities and helped you escape the Allied military police?” asked Katie.
         “I’ve already said more than I should.” Then, looking at his watch, he said, “Anyway it’s getting late, and I’d rather have this business behind me.” Toth motioned to his men, who rolled up David and Katie’s sleeves, tying a rubber tube tightly around their arms. Katie struggled and screamed at her captors, while David flexed his arm muscles, causing Toth to say nonchalantly, “Relax, Mr. Greco, it will hurt more if you flex your muscles.”
         Toth went to the refrigerator and brought out two glass vials and two syringes. Katie was screaming, shaking her head violently. Toth extracted the drug from the vials, shot a little from each syringe into the air and said, “Now, who would like to go first? Mr. Greco? Or ladies first?”
         David told Toth to go fuck himself. Toth said, “Ah, you make me wish I were using a dirty needle,” then told his henchmen to hold David steady. “Relax, relax, relax. I haven’t given anyone an injection in a long while, so I don’t want to hit a nerve.” 
The thugs were holding David down with his head tilted and his stomach over the back of the sofa. One of them had him by the neck, the other with his knee against David’s spine. Toth inserted the needle into David’s vein, and, like a pediatrician speaking to a frightened child, said, “All done. I don’t think I need to wipe it with alcohol. You won’t have time to develop an infection.”
         The henchmen let David up from the sofa and shoved him back down on a chair.  Katie was watching intently for any signs of the drug taking hold.
         “It will be very gradual,” said Toth, who was now taking notes on a pad. “And, I assure you, it will all be painless. Just drifting off to sleep really. And now, Miss Cavuto, if you would stop struggling, please. I don’t want my men to have to hold you down.”
         The men did hold Katie in her chair, and somehow she had managed to calm herself down and catch her breath. Toth came over to her with the syringe and lifted her bicep.


John Mariani, 2016



By John Mariani

"Dionysius" by Caravaggio


        Fifty years ago, when the wines of California stirred worldwide interest for their sun-rich body and big flavors, many of the state’s vintners made their overnight reputation on the basis of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, with alcohol levels above 14.5% alcohol, in contrast to Bordeaux models that were almost always blends of varietals in addition to Cabernet Sauvignon and with alcohol levels that rarely topped 14%. The California style could be impressive—very fruit forward, massive tannins and alcohol that after one glass could fatigue the palate.
         Over time many of California’s red wines remained big and bold but, led by the so-called Meritage Society members, blending Cabernets with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot has become commonplace and has made for far better balanced wines. Still, there is a large audience for muscular reds, which in some cases, like Italy’s Amarone dell Valpolicella, had always aimed for massive body and high alcohol, though modern-day Amarones have toned down.

         The playing field is somewhat more even these days, not least because global warming is creating hotter, bigger wines with more sugars to turn into alcohol. If you like that style, here is an array I think you’ll find very appealing. But, as my notes below show, not every big wine needs to have big alcohol. 

JOHAN VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR ESTATES 2021 ($36)—Produced in the Van Duzer Corridor of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Johan’s wines are strictly based on biodynamic farming “using a range of homeopathic applications to promote healthy and holistic growth,” maintained over 30 acres of a biodiversity preserve, composed of calcareous sedimentary soils with non-native erratic granite rather than iron-rich volcanic soil. Winemaker Morgan Beck and Vineyard Manager Nathan Wood  took advantage of 2021’s climatic virtues, and used ten grape clones to come up with the balance they sought. 

FERVORE SINGLE VINEYARD MAGLIOCCO DOLCE 2018 ($27)—Very slowly a group of young vintners have been upgrading the image of hot climate Calabrian wines, away from bulk to single vineyards. Brothers Giuseppe and Nicola Chiapetta and enologist Gianfranco Fino use 100% Magliocco Dolce to produce this unusual indigenous red (sometimes confused with Gaglioppo). It is late ripening, which builds up the flavors and tannins. After about 12 months of aging, the wine is bottled without the aid of clarifiers and without tartaric precipitation. After about 36 months of aging it is released. “Dolce” means “sweet,” but, although it is fruit forward, the fruit has a dark intensity that proves a 13% alcohol red wine can have remarkable power.


MAYACAMAS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2019 ($185) and 2009 ($300)—Mayacamas of Mount Veeder, dating back to 1889, has released these wines separated by ten years to show how their long-lived Cabs mature and achieve balance. Both 2019 and 2009 were similar vintages, says winemaker Braiden Albrecht, “Healthy winter rains, followed by a warm but consistent summer and mild weather at harvest, yielded fruit with great freshness and integrity.” The 2019 spent 14 months in barriques before bottling. The 2009 is, of course, more mellow but has wonderful harmony, both based on formidable fruit and softening tannins.  In July 2013, Mayacamas was purchased by the Jay Schottenstein family, positioning the historic winery for the future by introducing fully organic farming and an extensive restoration and replanting of the estate vineyards.



MIGUEL TORRES CORDILLERA CARMENÈRE 2020 ($21)—A very good price for a forceful but nuanced Carmenere from Chile’s Valle del Cachapoal. Macerated for 20 days, fermented for 15, and aged in French oak and Austrian foudre, it was released in May of last year. It was a very hot, dry year, but the weather seems to have concentrated flavors and acid at 14% alcohol for a red wine good to drink with any meats.



LARKMEAD SOLARI 2019 ($200)—If you like ‘em big and bold, this is a fine example of that Napa Valley style of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 78% new oak. The alcohol is 14.9% and the wine can use some age to settle things down, but this is a formidable example of old-style California red wine making, with spice and firm tannins. Only 946 cases produced.



BIONDI-SANTI TENUTA GREPPO ROSSO DI MONTALCINO 2020 ($91)—Rosso di Montalcino is the little brother of Brunello di Montalcino and is usually a quaffable, dependable Tuscan red. But since this one is from the illustrious Biondi-Santi estate, which created Brunello in the 19th century, there is a lot more power and finesse. Like Brunello, it is made from 100% Sangiovese from a high altitude, and 2020 was a cool year (including snowfall in March). The grapes were from the estate’s youngest vines, and the wine was aged for 12 months in Slavonian oak. It has lovely herbal notes, a Tuscan finesse and at 13.5% alcohol eminently drinkable right away. 



CHÂTEAU MONTELENA ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2019 ($200)—The vintage produced big berries and clusters, and flavor, color and texture took longer to develop. Winemaker Matt Crafton ages his estate Cab for two years in barrel before further bottle aging. The wine has obvious structure and power right now, but it needs time to knit together. There’s 1% Petit Verdot and even less Cab Franc to build up the pretty fruit, and 14.1% alcohol is a remarkable level that will be to the wine’s advantage in years to come. Indeed, Crafton says, “It is one-of-a-kind in that it can be enjoyed at any point in its life cycle—from release to 40 years old.”



QUIVIRA BLACK BOAR ZINFANDEL 2018 ($55)—It’s good to see some age on this Zin, and for those who like massive, voluptuous reds, this Sonoma County version will do the trick handily. Its grapes are from Anderson Ranch and Wine Creek Ranch, its name “inspired by the wild boars that are apt to roam our hillside vineyards who simply can’t resist our tasty fruit. They are wild and savage like our impeccable, bold Zinfandel.” It’s a blend of 78% Zin and 22% Petite Syrah, which adds a lot of bright fruit flavor and color to the depth of the Zin. It’s aged for 18 months in French and American oak. It’s also sold in 1.5 liter bottles for about $150.


ZENATO AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2018 ($70)—The leathery, somewhat oxidized taste of old-fashioned Amarone is pretty much a thing of the past, with Veneto producers making far more nuanced but still bold reds from a traditional blend 85% Corvina and 10% Rondinella, with 5% each of Croatina and Oseleta.  The grapes are dried for 4 months, turning them raisin-like and sweet, then crushed in January, with slow fermentation with skin contact and 36 months aging in Slavonian casks. Ideal with roast pork or pasta with funghi porcini.



KENEFICK RANCH CABERNET SAUVIGNON, CHRIS’S CUVÉE 2019 ($65)—Founded in 1978 by neurosurgeon Tom Kenefick, this has been a labor of love. A whopper at 15.3% alcohol, this 100% Cab (with 7% Malbec and 6% Petit Verdot) from Calistoga has benefited from three years of aging to moderate the tannins and provide more levels of flavors, spice and dark fruit. It will work well with venison, duck or goose this fall. If you’re lucky enough to obtain grouse, no wine would be a better match. The Chris in question is Chris Kenefick, who took over as CEO in 2021 when his father, Dr. Tom, passed away.




"Is This a Taco Bell Party or Am I Having an Existential Experience?—Dave Holmes, Esquire (8/3/23).


 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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