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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essential guide to Ligurian food and wine, a treasure that's worth every penny
David Downie has written a Bible for authentic Ligurian food, worth the modest investment for both gastronomes and brief-stay tourists -- anybody eager to get the most value for their euros on the Italian Riviera. To experience the freshness, the aliveness, the heights of Ligurian cooking, you really must go one step beyond the seaview restaurants that dish up mediocre...
Published on March 25, 2009 by La donna delle scale

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Information, Poor Design
The information provided in this book is excellent for anybody who is traveling to the Italian Riviera. It offers input to places that are off the beaten path and with more depth than found in other guidebooks for Italy. Taking that into consideration, I do recommend the book.

The negatives are the horrible contrasting in the font, along with the font's small...
Published 7 months ago by NJzan


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essential guide to Ligurian food and wine, a treasure that's worth every penny, March 25, 2009
This review is from: Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides) (Paperback)
David Downie has written a Bible for authentic Ligurian food, worth the modest investment for both gastronomes and brief-stay tourists -- anybody eager to get the most value for their euros on the Italian Riviera. To experience the freshness, the aliveness, the heights of Ligurian cooking, you really must go one step beyond the seaview restaurants that dish up mediocre fare to day-tripping tourists. This is the best guide.

It's a sophisticated, thorough handbook to all the very best the region produces. Not only does does David Downie have educated taste buds -- making his recommendations reliable -- he has gone to the trouble to provide detailed directions to each of the places he recommends (a must in alley-strewn Liguria) as well as all the opening hours (yet another must on the summery Riviera, which adheres to its own clock).

Unless you know a Ligurian family and can be invited to eat at their home, following in David Downie's footsteps through Liguria is the most efficient and budget-friendly method for tasting the pure delights of Liguria's Mediterranean cuisine.

I've never met David Downie but, all put together, I have spent at least five of the last ten years exploring the nooks and crannies of the Italian Riviera during repeated long stays. I've lingered in many of the places he's lingered, so I can say from first hand experience that this new guide to the food and wine of the Italian Riviera and Genoa is a fantastic achievement, absolutely essential for every visitor who wants to eat and drink memorably without spending a fortune -- that is to say, to live as the Ligurians actually do themselves.

Not only is the writing witty, economical and a pleasure to read on its own, this book includes page after page of truly touching, evocative color photos of small-town Liguria, photographed by Alison Harris. These are not the usual guidebook Riviera pictures of sky, sea and flouncy flowers. These are intimate pictures of the people, the places and the traditions that sustain the Ligurian soul -- the open-air markets, the cooks, the bakers, the fisherman, the olive cultivation, the historic caffes, the atmospheric piazzas and winding walkways beloved by locals. It's great documentary material -- and great to look it.

This guidebook goes beyond the tourist menus touted by lazier generalized guide books to help visitors to discover the town-by-town specialties of Liguria, a region still so dependent on handed-down family recipes, century-old bake shops, special cooking pans, once-a-year treats. It champions Liguria's still secret "entroterra" -- the dramatic, atmospheric hilltowns, sometimes only a half-hour's bus ride from the jam-packed beaches -- where the food is sublime, the silence is mystical, the landscape unspoiled, and the fascinating traditions date back, unchanged, forever.

This past weekend I took a friend -- who has lived in Genoa for more than 20 years -- to one of this book's recommended restaurants. He was immensely impressed with the book's section on Genoa, citing places only known to the most savvy locals. Similarly, I recently followed this book's advice and entered an almost ridiculously tiny bake shop in a wayside village -- and it was a revelation to eat the pine-nut cookies recommended by the book. Only in this tiny corner of Liguria could I taste these light, crunchy, aromatic cookies, packed with the flavor of the pine trees all around me -- and I would never have found them without Downie's help.

This thorough guide book is a wonderful investment, unlikely to be surpassed, and bravo to the author and photographer, and the publisher! It supersedes Fred Plotkin's books on Liguria, which are now -- alas -- dated. This is a fresh as Liguria's cooking itself.

I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed if they purchase it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food Wine Murder Riviera, June 27, 2009
This review is from: Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides) (Paperback)
Some people rush to review a guidebook without test-driving it first. Not this food-loving reader and traveler. While planning my spring trip to Italy a few months ago, I picked up a copy of Food Wine Italian Riviera & Genoa and started reading. And I couldn't believe what I read: good writing. Great writing, and all kinds of tips and info on food and wine that I had no notion of, even though I've been to Italy and the Genoa area a couple of times. I had been meaning to go the Cinque Terre, but because of this book I added in Chiavari. Chiavari? No, I had never heard of it. The author warns that the marina is unattractive, and most visitors pass this place by, but that off the highway in the heart of town there's wonderful food and architecture to be found. And boy, is he right. So I loved Chiavari, a medieval gem with fabulous food and great atmosphere. I had the best ice cream I've ever had anywhere at a local hangout in Chiavari. I had the best garbanzo-bean tart (made with chick peas), a farinata, fresh out of the oven, in Chiavari. Then I hit Santa Margherita Ligure and Camogli--also recommended by Downie, over many other glamorous places (such as Portofino, which he downplays, thank goodness). Again, bingo, a perfect time, great food. A restaurant called Nonna Nina in a perched hamlet called San Rocco. Amazing! I also learned about the history of the region (more interesting than you'd think--lots of pirates and naval victories and valiant struggles against foreign oppressors). Then we took a train south to Rome, which I hadn't visited in a hundred years. And we walked into an English-language bookstore somewhere near the Spanish Steps and low and behold, there was Food Wine Rome. Though I was already carrying about 100 pounds of luggage and books, I bought it. And if you go to that item elsewhere on this site you'll see the continuation of this review. To conclude: I love this book, I adore this book, I cannot believe someone took years and years to do the research and craft such a fantastic book. Buy it and read it even if you don't go to Genoa and the Cinque Terre this year, and even, I'd say especially, if you already have Fred Plotkin's guide to food on Italy (it's so so out of date that some of the prices are in Lire--the Euro came in in the year 2000, hello, and I want my money back because half the addresses in that guidebook are gone!). I'm not done yet. Because when I got back home to my broadband connection and checked on this Downie guy, I found he'd just written a thriller... set in... Paris. Yes, he lives part of the year in Paris, the rat. The book is called Paris City of Night and I am test-driving it now, and will report. Secretly I am hoping to hate it. So far, I am loving it as much, maybe more than the food/wine guidebooks. Who is this author? Why haven't we seen him all over the place before?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reluctant praise, March 3, 2009
This review is from: Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides) (Paperback)
I picked up this book at a local book store, and I am amazed at how good it is.
It is accurate, authoritative and insightful. A "must have" for the thinking gourmand visiting Liguria.
However, I praise this book reluctantly because it is just too good. Secret little restaurants where you would never see a tourist are revealed and accurately described. Specialties that only someone from the city appreciates are touted. A potential disaster if it falls in the wrong hands!
So, please promise me. When visiting these restaurants do the following.
Eat like an italian. Appetizer, first dish, second dish and coffee (dessert is not mandatory, but have it before coffee, not during).
No sharing anything. Ask for half portions.
Never order a cappuccino after 10AM. Never.
Follow Italian not American tipping customs. We do not want to spoil a good thing.
If you are unsure of the item on the menu, ask for advice from the host and take it. Do not ask for too many details and make them feel that they have to display photos of the food on their menus. I would never be able to go back there.
I say all this tongue in cheek, but remember, you promised.....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Armchair Traveler, February 17, 2009
By 
Scrounger Mama (Berkeley, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides) (Paperback)
Armchair travelers will enjoy the nice layout and great photos of places like Genoa and Portofino, but not just the fancy and famous things that seem out of step with the world of the recession. We enjoyed the way the author went out of his way to be on our side, and provide lots of affordable addresses for delicious focaccia, pesto and the kind of food the locals eat, in atmospheric little trattorias. The reviews don't fawn, they're entertaining and informative and sometimes withering. We discovered things about the Italian Riviera we didn't know, and learned a lot about the wonderful food (and wine, which is surprisingly good). Before buying this one, we'd read other books by Downie -- on Paris and Rome -- and weren't disappointed. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into local treasures!, September 12, 2009
By 
H. Hadley (North Palm Beach, FL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides) (Paperback)
As one who spends several months each year along the Italian Riviera, I eagerly purchased this guide. True to form it has helped me find the best restaurants and shops in my area. Some of them I knew firsthand and many were new finds. I now carry this guide with me when I travel to nearby towns to help me locate the best places to eat and purchase foods and wines quickly. It is so reliable I have purchased Mr. Downey's Rome Guide to use on my next trip there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting Ready for a Trip to Italy, September 12, 2010
This review is from: Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides) (Paperback)
I'm planning a trip to Italy - my first time in the Genoa area - and a friend recommended "Food, Wine, The Italian Riviera & Genoa". I'm going to use it as my "Bible". It's full of the kind of insider tips that make all the difference between an OK trip and the trip of a lifetime.

What I love about this book is that it's so well written. Never a dull moment and teeming with insight and wisdom.

I'm leaving for Italy in October for a full month. If the weather is good, I know I'm going to have a great experience, thanks to David Downie. This book is like having an Italian friend at your side!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for any foodie, July 12, 2009
This review is from: Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides) (Paperback)
David Downie has captured the food and wine of this region. Excellent maps show the small villages along the Riviera. But it is the essence of each shop and their specialty where Downie shines. I was introduced to many new foods and the photos are mouthwatering. The first chapter breaks down the food of the area including foccaccia, farinata, and testaroli. And even though I am a sommelier, Downie brought to my attention many Ligurian wines that are new to me. A must read for anyone curious or passionate about Italian food, even if you are not planning a trip there, this is a great resource.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars food and wine in liguria, November 27, 2010
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This review is from: Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides) (Paperback)
lists some wonderful and mostly unknown places in Liguria.... I just hate to recommend it to too many people because they may go and change the atmosphere of this little known region.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great Information, Poor Design, January 7, 2014
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This review is from: Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides) (Paperback)
The information provided in this book is excellent for anybody who is traveling to the Italian Riviera. It offers input to places that are off the beaten path and with more depth than found in other guidebooks for Italy. Taking that into consideration, I do recommend the book.

The negatives are the horrible contrasting in the font, along with the font's small size. I could only manage to read for 10 - 20 minutes at a time without feeling great strain on my eyes. Furthermore, in order to read it, you practically have to break the binding the hold the pages open. I do not find the weight to be excessive for travel purposes as others have mentioned.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book, September 14, 2013
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This series of books is great. You get a very good idea of what the local cuisine is like, as well as great recommendations on restaurants, wine, and great salumerias and pasticcerias to check out.
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Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides)
Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides) by David Downie (Paperback - November 18, 2008)
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