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Food Wine The Italian Riviera & Genoa (The Terroir Guides) Paperback – November 18, 2008
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"Outside of general guidebooks to Italy, few individual regions have had single volumes dedicated to their gastronomy, and this, one of a series of 'Terroir Guides,' is both thorough in its listings of places to eat and drink, from ristoranti and focaccerie to pasticcerie and chocolate shops, as it is a well-written depiction of what makes Liguria so very special--and heretofore underrated--as a territory for wonderful food and wine, with its rippling, seafood-rich coastline, its famous basil that goes into making pesto, and its ties to the cooking of Southern France. Excellent, evocative photos too." -John Mariani
"Getting to the heart of regional cuisine can be a tall order, but The Terroir Guides ably examine the interplay between markets, local food artisans, winemakers, and chefs on a town-by-town basis, taking the reader from field to plate and making a great companion for any food-obsessed tourist...packed with local history, food lore, and useful translations." --Sherman's Travel
"I love The Terroir Guides. They give me everything I want. They're a tactile pleasure, compact, meaty. They're lovely to look at, elegantly laid out, mutedly and tastefully colored...positively overflowing with the Who, What, Where and How even an intrepidly independent traveler should know...The Little Bookroom has a knack for putting guidebooks into print that are as useful as they are beautiful." --Wine News
About the Author
Alison Harris has worked throughout the world shooting photos for travel books, cookbooks, advertising campaigns, book covers, and magazine stories. Her latest books, Markets of Paris, The Pâtisseries of Paris, and Chic Shopping Paris, are published by The Little Bookroom.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.....