Virtual Gourmet

  November 19,  2023                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 




Casino Royale

By John Mariani


By John Mariani

By John Mariani


By John Mariani



By John Mariani


        After decades when the James Bond character’s connoisseurship was always an essential part of his modus operandi, the producer and scriptwriters for the entries of the ‘80s and ‘90s, in which Timothy Dalton, then Pierce Brosnan played 007, paid little attention to their hero’s tastes in food and wine—beyond the obligatory appearance of the iconic shaken-not-stirred Martini.
         Bollinger Champagne continued to get product placement in Licence to Kill (1989) and Talisker 10-Year-Old Scotch is featured in Goldeneye (1995), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002), but for the most part Bond refrains from wining, dining and making his usual quips in those movies.
         The re-booting of the character in Casino Royale (2006), wherein the moody Daniel Craig took on the role, deliberately indicated that Bond had yet to develop a worldly, connoisseurship that might actually help in his work. As his superior, M, (played by Judy Dench) tells him, “Any lout can kill somebody.” A British 00 number needs to be much more.
         Casino Royale was based, fairly closely, on Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel in 1953, wherein the rudiments of Bond’s finicky food and drink preferences were laid out and in which he concocted the famous vodka-and-Lillet Vesper Martini, shaken not stirred, naming it after love interest Vesper Lynde, with whom he dines while at the Splendide casino’s Roi Galant nightclub in Monaco on caviar with minced onion, grated horseradish and grated egg; grilled kidneys with pommes soufflés and wild strawberries; she eats rare beef tournedos with Béarnaise sauce (right).
          Bond is there to target a rich Greek named Le Chiffre at the card table, where they drink Veuve Cliquot Brut. Bond at first loses badly but is bankrolled by CIA colleague Felix Leiter and comes back to beat Le Chiffre, winning 80 million francs. Afterwards Bond dines again with Vesper at the Roi Galant on scrambled eggs and bacon with more Cliquot.
       Le Chiffre captures 007 and Vesper and tortures him in his dining room at his villa named “Les Noctanbules” outside of Royale-les-Eaux (right). The session is interrupted by a SMERSH agent who kills Le Chiffre for losing the gambling money, but leaves Bond and Vesper alive.  Bond recovers in a hospital and, after Vesper tends him daily, he proposes marriage. But a few days later she commits suicide, leaving a note that she’d been a double agent and had helped Le Chiffre capture Bond. Distraught, Bond vows vengeance on the entire SMERSH organization.
         The plot of the first Casino Royale movie, which had five directors, and eight writers, was sheer farce, complete with SMERSH arriving in a flying saucer, atomic pills and a Keystone Cops-like battle at Casino Royale with everyone ending up dead and Bond ascending to heaven. The film rights had escaped Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli, the producers of the first Bond movies made from Fleming’s books, and, by a quirk of copyrights, was made by Charles Feldman and Jerry Bresler, into a very silly, only occasionally funny spy satire in 1967, wherein there are several James Bonds flitting in and out, principally David Niven as a retired 007, as well as Woody Allen and Peter Sellers. But aside from Niven having a nice dainty afternoon tea, Bond’s connoisseurship is wholly missing from the film.
         The second Casino Royale movie, made forty years later, reverted to serious form, at a point when a young Bond (Daniel Craig)has just earned his 007 status. M sends Bond to Nassau’s Paradise Island, and meets a corrupt Greek official named Alex Dimitrios, from whom he wins the man’s Aston Martin, a DB5 —the auto company provided five cars for various stunts and crashes—in a poker game, seduces his wife Solange and kills him. Le Chiffre thereupon tortures Solange to death.
         Le Chiffre organizes a Texas hold’em tournament at the Casino Royale, not in Monte Carlo but in Montenegro, which was actually filmed at the Grandhotel Pupp (left). Bond meets Vesper Lynd onboard a train to Montenegro, where they dine on a green salad, lamb shishkabab and a bottle of Château Angélus, a Grande Cu Lasse Bordeaux largely made from Merlot.
      At the casino Vesper finds Bond exhibits poor taste in dinner jackets and has another sent up. They then go to the casino tables and Bond orders his famous martini, shaken, although he does not use the phrase “shaken, not stirred.” Oddly enough, and seemingly out of character, Bond later snaps at a barman who asks if he wants it shaken, not stirred, “Do I look like I give a damn?”
        Bond loses $10 million playing against Le Chiffre, but, backed by Felix Leiter, wins it back and more, causing Le Chiffre to kidnap Vesper and Bond to get the money back, taking them to an abandoned ship, where he tortures a naked Bond (beating his testicles) to reveal the password to the bank account holding the winnings. A Ugandan named Mr. White (in the book a member of SPECTRE, but that name was copyrighted) rescues 007 and kills Le Chiffre.
Bond, shaken by his experience, resigns from MI6 and sails to Venice with Vesper.
A scene on the 54-foot masted yacht Spirit, built in the UK, required the boat’s masts to be taken down to fit under Venice’s canal bridges. They check into the Hotel Cipriani (left). But Vesper betrays him, meeting with SMERSH agents. Nevertheless Bond attempts to save her from drowning in a collapsing building at Campiello del Remer.
Still in shock and recovering from his ordeal, Bond goes to the Villa del Balbaniello (right) in Lenno on Lake Como for recuperation. He then decides to avenge Vesper by returning to MI6 and making it his mission to destroy SMERSH, tracking Mr. White to Villa La Gaeta in Sant’Abbondio (below). He shoots White in the leg and pronounces the famous line, "The name's Bond, James Bond."
            Although Bond’s epicurean character finds its way into many of the post-Fleming Bond novels written by a number of writers including John Gardner, Kingsley Amis and Robert Markham, the cinematic Bond played by Daniel Craig never again exhibited
any degree of connoisseurship in Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012)—whose villain offers him a 12-Year-Old Macallan Scotch—Spectre (2015) and No Time to Die (2021), in which 007 does actually get blown to smithereens in a rocket attack.
        What comes next and what kind of James Bond we may see in the future may revert to the kind of wit and worldliness that made  Fleming’s character so much richer and nuanced than the typical spies onscreen these days. It’s hard to imagine Jason Bourne or Ethan Hunt giving a damn about whether his Martini is shaken or stirred.




12 East 12th Street

By John Mariani


         Upon opening in 1984 Gotham Bar & Grill was a flop—not because it wasn’t one of most stunning new restaurants in the city, with its vast size and ceilings, long bar and a down-sized Statue of Liberty but because the food was full of the clichés of the so-called New American Cuisine movement.
         After a shake-up, however, chef Alfred Portale took over the kitchen with his own wholly imaginative, bold cooking and Gotham B&G reemerged among the top fine non-French-or-Italian dining establishments in New York. When, after four decades, Portale left to open his own restaurant, Gotham again foundered under a chef whose ideas ran counter to all that the restaurant’s faithful clientele cherished.
         Then came Covid, and Gotham B&G’s doors were shut; many feared they would never re-open. But, in November 2021, it did reopen, with new owners under the simpler name Gotham, with a fresh look by architect James Biber that built upon the space’s best elements, carefully modulating the lighting and hanging the walls with rotating exhibits of contemporary artists’ work. Sadly, Lady Liberty has been mothballed.
         Managing partner Bret Csencsitz (right), once an actor and director, had been at Gotham since 2007, so he knows his clientele. He took an admitted leap in elevating pastry chef Ron Paprocki to the role of executive chef after ten years at Gotham, with Sebastián Cacho as chef de cuisine. Together they have fashioned a menu that epitomizes fine dining à la New York that avoids current clichés and distinguishes Gotham from its direct competitors. 
It was also good to see the affable Daniel Sanon as general manager, formerly at The Four Seasons until it closed in 2020. (Had that restaurant had a menu anywhere near as interesting as Gotham’s, it might still be open today.) The room itself allows for easy conversation, and, rather than have intrusive canned music, the Dal Segño Trio plays smooth New York jazz on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
         The house-made bread and cultured butter ($6) make for a good start, and for something simple and straightforward, the Island Creek oysters ($26 for six) with a rice wine vinaigrette and cocktail sauce do the trick. Velvety and cool is the kampachi crudo ($28) with a tangy aji dulce gremolata, lush avocado mousse and cucumber that shows the balance of Paprocki’s technique. It is wonderful to still see fresh foie gras (right) on menus in New York, and Paprocki’s version, very lightly seared and rosy inside, takes well to an apricot mostarda, walnuts and a sharp-sweet Champagne gastrique ($48). Fresh cavatelli—a rather small portion—got lost under a complex thatch of mushroom duxelles, pesto Genovese, marinated tomato and chanterelles ($29). (First rule of Italian pasta: stay simple.)
Among the entrees is some terrific trout ($46), a fish largely ignored on menus because the farmed example is often inferior. This, from Green-Walk hatchery in Bangor, Pennsylvania, had a perfect, meaty texture and fine flavor, matched with romano beans, sweet corn, hon shimeji, smoked vermouth nage—a dish I would order again and again. Plenty of lobster meat is incorporated with tender carnaroli risotto, confit fennel and spicy mussels paprika ($56), none of which overpower the lobster’s essential, briny flavor.
         Too many chefs soak their pork chops far too long in salty brine, but Paprocki’s Niman Ranch pork (below) gets the ideal degree of cooking, so the juiciness and the fatty taste of this superior product marry well to a salsify purée, bitter-salty broccoli rabe, crispy fingerling potatoes and peppercorns ($46).
         By the way, there is also a substantial bar menu listing items like Comté-filled croquettes with aioli, verbena and bonito flakes ($24); duck rillettes with mustard, pickles and toast ($24); trofie cacio e pepe ($25), and a cheeseburger with fries ($34).
         Gotham’s wine list, always one of the very best in the city, now has more depth and breadth than ever.
         Given Paprocki’s background, desserts are created with the same care and precision as what precedes them, including flourless chocolate cake with dark chocolate and salted almond ice cream ($18); a delightfully tangy Calamansi lime tart on a shortbread crust with  yogurt ice cream ($18); “dark passion” of dark chocolate, crémeux, passion caramel cocoa nib wafer, passion fruit sorbet ($18)—
Csencsitz and Paprocki also founded their own Gotham Chocolates company—and an apple tarte Tatin for two with vanilla ice cream ($35).
         And so, after fears that we would never see the likes of Gotham Bar & Grill again, a new Gotham now carries on at the same level and with a new spirit wholly expressive of a special New York sophistication not easy to find outside the city’s borders. (A good number of gentlemen were wearing jackets, by the way.)
        Gotham joins other restaurants—some, like Gotham, re-cast—of a civilized mode, like Essential by Christophe Bellanca, 15 East Tocqueville, Le Coucou and l’Abeille, whose clientele well knows the difference between good food and fine dining.


Open for lunch Tues.-Fri.; Dinner Mon.-Sat.



By  John Mariani

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



         After learning that their demise had apparently been prevented by the Russian agents from Moscow—the one David wanted to give the finger to at the airport and the one who never spoke—Katie and David became almost giddy, slapping each other on the shoulder and knee, whooping with the sheer joy of being alive. They momentarily even stopped wondering where they were being taken, which was eastward, along highway M1. Not until they saw a roadside sign reading “WIEN 200 KM” did they start to believe they were headed to Vienna, but the driver would not confirm that prospect.
         “How the hell did our Russian friend and the other guys know we were at Toth’s?” asked Katie. “And why the hell did they kidnap him at the exact moment we were going to get killed off?” David had never heard Katie use the word “hell” quite so much.
         Still very tired but getting some of his color back, he said, “I have no idea. We never let the Russians know we were coming to Budapest. Hell, we didn’t even know it until we got back to London and found Neame’s name on the prescription Philby gave us.”
         “It’s absolutely bizarre,” said Katie. “And why would the Russians care if the two Americans they threw out of Moscow came to a dead end, literally and figuratively?”
         David yawned and said, “I think I’m on the mend, but I need some sleep. If I drift off make sure I’m still alive."
         “And if you’re not?”
         “Float me away in the sewers of Vienna.” Then he dropped quickly off to sleep.
         Vienna was about two hours’ away. The driver kept checking his rear view mirror frequently and the man with the Bizon kept looking behind them. They had been going at a fast clip but not enough to be noticed by a highway police car on watch for speeders.
         As the Adrenalin drained from her body Katie herself drifted off to sleep. She slumped against David and dozed for an hour or more. Upon awakening she saw a sign reading “WIEN 50 KM.” She checked David’s breathing, which seemed normal. Then, for no reason except to seem like everything was returning to some degree of normalcy, she applied some lipstick and looked into the rear view mirror, just as a black car seemed to be coming up behind the Mercedes.
         The driver noticed it, too, and signaled his companion, who turned around then clicked off the safety on his weapon. The driver sped up a little and it was obvious that the other car, a BMW, was accelerating fast to catch up with them. The driver told Katie to get down below the rear window line.
         Katie shook David awake and told him what was happening.
         “Who do you think they are?” he asked the driver, “Do Hungarian police drive BMWs?” He got no response. David figured that if it were a police car, it would have set off its lights and siren by now.
         The driver spoke very clearly and deliberately to the man with the Bizon, keeping a steady speed, wanting the BMW to get within a certain range.  Then he saw the right window open and a man sighting a pistol on the Mercedes. The driver pushed the Mercedes into fifth and crushed the gas pedal to the floor, jolting the Americans hunkered down in the back.  The car shot forward, straight as an arrow, leaving the BMW behind for only a few seconds. Then it was gaining on them again. With forty kilometers to go, the driver knew this was a race he might not win.  Then the pistol cracked behind them four times. Two bullets hit the car, one snapping off the driver’s side view mirror, the other puncturing the trunk.
         The driver gave an order to the other man, who turned and shot a fusillade of bullets at the BMW.  At a range of fifty yards the Bizon was not as effective as it would be closer to the car, and the driver of the BMW must have known it, for he kept that distance, revving up so his man could fire then braking, downshifting and dropping back to lessen the chances of being hit.
         Another bullet clanged into the trunk, then one through the rear window, scattering glass into the car and onto the Americans. The driver shouted in English, “Hold on!” The Americans braced themselves as best they could in the cramped space behind the front seats.
         The driver dropped the Mercedes into fourth gear, then third, slowing it down so as to force the BMW to within twenty yards of their rear.  Then the other man whipped the Bizon around and let go a ten-second blast, seeing his bullets were hitting the front of the car and windshield.  The BMW swerved violently to the right, then left, then zigzagged again and drove off the side of the highway into an open field. Either the engine or steering mechanism had been shot out.  The car was smoking but not on fire.
         As the Mercedes sped up again, the four inside could see the two men in the BMW get out of the car and move away from it.
         “Jesus Christ!” said David, “This is the first time we almost got killed twice in one day!”  Katie punched him in the arm.
         Hey, that’s where I got the injections!”
         The Mercedes didn’t slow down by much, and the driver was now on the phone speaking to some authority. Owing to the length of the driver’s conversation, David began to think that maybe their rescuers were actually the Hungarian police, probably federal, and that the driver had just called his colleagues to go round up the men in the BMW.
        The remaining miles ticked away and within minutes they were in sight of the security checkpoint between Hungary and Austria.  The Mercedes slowed down and drove off to the side, where several men in security uniforms were assembled.  The driver turned to the Americans and said, “Please, stay in the car.” He then proceeded to speak at length to the security men, which went on for at least ten minutes. 
Katie and David could see that a car with Austrian colors of red, white and blue was pulling up, a VW SUV.  Two officers got out and began speaking with the Hungarians.  Another, endless ten minutes went by, then the Mercedes driver came over to the car, opened the door and said, “Welcome to Austria. These men will take you to Vienna.” He handed back Katie and David’s passports.
         Without another word, he summoned his assistant, who was surveying the damage to the car, and the two turned around and drove back into Hungary without saying goodbye.
         Two Austrian officers—both spoke perfect English—were far more forthcoming, telling the Americans they would be in Vienna shortly and that a doctor would arrive to meet David to check him out.
         In the SUV the Austrians offered the Americans bottled water and said, “I’m sure you have many, many questions, and I would like to answer them, but I have been told only to take you to Vienna and everything will be explained there.”
         Katie looked at David and said, “I hope you’re feeling better. I’d hate to tour Vienna all by myself.”
         “If I can get a beer into me,” David replied, “I think I’ll be raring to go.”
         “Maybe you should mix it with a little barley malt vinegar.”
         In fact, David was feeling quite well, still a little tired but the effects of the drug seemed to have dissipated. His mind had stopped racing and, at least for the moment, he was just happy to be alive and very happy to be with Katie.


John Mariani, 2016




By John Mariani

Still Life by Paul Cézanne



      The disparate sweet, sour, meaty, vegetal flavors of Thanksgiving dinner, from the turkey to the cranberry sauce, makes choosing a wine ironically easy. There are actually few wrong choices, although a big, tannic California Cabernet Sauvignon, or ultra-expensive white Burgundy, doesn’t make much sense unless you have avid wine lovers at the table. So here’s a variety of wines with satisfying flavors that will complement a turkey dinner for both the connoisseur and the guy who likes a glass now and then. 


JOSH CELLARS CABERNET SAUVIGNON ($17.99)—You won’t find better quality Cabernet Sauvignon at this price, from Josh Cellars, whose founder, Joseph Carr, started in 2005, selling wine from the back of his truck. He sells 11 varietals today, overseen by winemaker Wayne Donaldson. Because it is so fruit forward, with just a little toastiness from oak, it goes well with so many meats and poultry, comparable to Cabs three times its price.


BOUCHAINE ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2021 ($40)—Founded in 1983,  Bouchaine stands as the oldest continuously family-run estate in the Carneros AVA, where the San Pablo Bay’s foggy mornings temper the Northern California heat. The 2021 vintage, according to Bouchaine president and winemaker Chris Kajani, was “neither too cold nor too hot, but with the challenge of a multi-year drought. This led to small, concentrated berries at harvest. Moderate summer weather ensured a gradual, even ripening process.”  Shesed seven clones from various vineyard blocks to create the superb layers of flavor in the bottle, and its acid keeps it fresh and lively beneath the velvety fruit.


FIDDLEHEAD PINOT NOIR SEVEN TWENTY EIGHT ($46)—Chicagoan Kathy Joseph, with degrees in microbiology and biochemistry,  applied her knowledge—and very little funds—to Fiddlehead Cellars in Lompoc, California, as of 1989, becoming “head fiddle,” that is, head honcho, in her vineyards in the Willamette Valley, Santa Ynez and Santa Rita Hills, whence comes this charming, well-structured Pinot Noir with slight woodsy notes, earthiness and softness on the palate and an applaudable 13.7% alcohol.


LE SERRE NUOVE DELL’ORNELLAIA  2020 ($82)—From the great Tuscan estate of Ornellaia comes this second label, to be drunk earlier. Yet, it has all the qualities that distinguish the estate under director Axel Heinz. Winemaker Olga Fusari uses the same varietals in a blend of 44% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc and 13% Petit Verdot in a Bordeaux Italian-style, with 14.5% alcohol that does not feel too heady. The grapes were hand-picked, with each parcel separately vinified and fermented in both stainless steel and concrete vats followed by a two-week maceration to give color and body then racked into barrique for 12 months before blending, spending 24 months total aging.


ATTEMS TREBES RIBOLLA GIALLA COLLIO 2021 ($36)—Owned by the Frescobaldi family since 2000, Attems was established in 1964 by Count Douglas Attems, whose goal was to make this white Friulian varietal from northern Italy better known by giving it more body and aromatics from vineyards in the Lucinico area of Collio Goriziano from sandstone soil called ponca. Vinification is by the old "alzata di cappello" ("raising the cap") process whereby after two days at 15 °C, the weak fermentation naturally pushes the skins up to the top of the tank; it is then separated and fermented in 20 hl acacia barrels; ten percent underwent malolactic fermentation, yielding a wine at 13% alcohol with a lovely balance of citric acid, minerality and faint sweetness.


CHARLES HEINTZ WAYPOINT HEINTZ CHARDONNAY ($60)—At this price, I’d save this for friends who truly love wine and appreciate how good a well-made Sonoma Coast Chardonnay can be. This is from Russian River Valley, where tropical flavors vie with acidity that keeps it from being cloying or too oaky. Winemakers Matt Sands and Philippe Melka aim for nuance and medium body, making this a fine white with turkey as well as mushrooms, seafood and mild cheeses.


MT BRAVE MERLOT 2019  ($95)—Again, at this price, not everyone will appreciate the refinement of this Merlot from Mt. Veeder, whose underpinning of a seabed’s mineral-rich soils and cooler climate make this Merlot multi-dimensional with a delectably long finish. From winemaker Christ Carpenter, who established the Mt. Brave project in 2007, the berry flavors have concentration, not too tannic, and quite ripe for this vintage.




"A Deep-Fried Pho Sparks Scandal at the State Fair of Texas: A Debate over who gets credit for inventing a dish proliferates on and off the Dallas fairgrounds" by Ella Quittner, NY Times (10/14/23)


 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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