Virtual Gourmet

  January 27, 2019                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 


Seating arrangement at NYC's La Caravelle, circa 1965



By John Mariani


By John Mariani

By John Mariani



By John Mariani

     One would be hard put to find a resort anywhere in the real world that looks at all like Jade Mountain on the island of St. Lucia in the southern Caribbean. One must evoke fantastical images like Piranesi’s vast vaults, the endless Krell underground in Forbidden Planet or the Golden City of Black Panther. 

    Set within proximate sight of the island’s beautiful Piton Mountains—a World Heritage Site—and reachable only by bumping along a rocky road through deep, dark tropical forests, Jade Mountain is the dream of architect-owner Nick Troubetzkoy, who insists that his resort must fit organically into the natural world around it.  This translates as soaring columns of stone and Gaudi-like tiled bridges leading to 24 secluded suites (some called “Sanctuaries”) in four price categories, each with its own private infinity pool made of recycled glass completely open to the trade winds.

    How local workmen fashioned this extravaganza, which included hauling 20 species of tropical hardwood up the hillsides, is bewildering, all of it to create rooms with 15-foot ceilings, massive poster beds draped in gauze (with no fourth wall in the room, mosquitoes can buzz on in), massive armoires and an open bathroom with every amenity.

    Down below are two white sand beaches covering 600 acres and offering an array of water sports and activities, including a catamaran that takes you under the shadow of the Pitons, which are named Gros and Piti.

    St. Lucia, in the Lesser Antilles, is independent, though for centuries it was ruled by the French and British—each seven times!—earning it the nickname "Helen of the West Indies.” In 1836 slavery was abolished, by which time the black population already far outweighed the Europeans.

    Owing to its southern location, St. Lucia is below the Caribbean hurricane zone, and the trade winds keep average summer temperatures below 90 degrees, with the rainy season arriving in autumn.

    There is some industry on the island and its agriculture sector is growing, but tourism still drives the economy, with the high season January to April, when people come to visit the drive-in volcano, the springs at Soufrière, the Botanical Gardens and even to climb the Pitons. Most hop on and off the island from huge cruise ships that dock at the capital city of Castries.

    Troubetzkoy and his wife, Karolin, began as visitors to St. Lucia and eventually bought the Anse Chastenet resort adjacent to Jade Mountain, which is a far more personalized and truly eccentric property with a secret logic behind it.  I am not the first to report that Jade Mountain is not for everyone. That very rocky, jolting road is meant to keep non-guests from getting to the beaches, and, once you’ve entered the premises, you are unlikely to face that rugged road trip for the length of your stay. (Boats will take you to other parts of the island.)

     Also, the rugged and often unpaved roads and staircases on the property take a good deal of stamina to navigate, and the route to the beaches is a trek down hundreds of uneven steps. Fortunately, the resort has vans and SUVs to pick you up throughout the premises and get you back to your suite. You need only to dial up a personal butler on a phone you carry with you.

    Then there is the total absence of TV, video and movies (iPhones, however, do work pretty well). The intent is to allow guests to zone out completely, but I’ve always felt that such people simply need not turn on TVs or movie channels if they don’t choose to.  The rest of us might prefer to zone out watching TV or movies. Most of us, I would expect, also would prefer the option of air-conditioning, which is installed in only one room.

    Not that the eager visitor will lack for things to do. There is a scuba center with full diving program, a Jungle Biking Center (not for the unadventurous), coastal kayaking, sunfish sailing, windsurfing, tennis, a Cybox Fitness Studio, and the opportunity to visit the property’s ever-growing tropical organic farm. One of the loveliest of activities is a cruise on the resort yacht Searenity [sic] or  a “Jazzy Sunset Cruise” on a 60-foot catamaran (below). The sunsets can be dazzling and for the first time in my life I got to see the fascinating “green blast” that sometimes occurs at the last split second of the sun’s dropping below the horizon.

    Good restaurants in the Caribbean are rarities, largely because of the unavailability of ingredients, including seafood. So my wife and I were happy to find that Allen Susser, whose sterling career I’ve followed and applauded in Florida for more than twenty years, is onboard as consulting chef, along with Executive Chef Jonathan Deardon, who has worked for years to grow as much provender as possible and contract local farmers and fishermen to guarantee the best that is available.

    Susser also began the resort’s own Chocolate Lab, using the property’s cacao beans, which are roasted, fermented, ground and made into a variety of desserts and chocolate bars for sale at the resort. Each year they hold a Chocolate Festival, which includes tours, excursions and chocolate-centered dishes throughout.

    The two best restaurants at the resort are the Jade Mountain Club (below), which is exclusively for the use of resort guests, and Apsara, down at the beach, serving delicious Indian/Caribe cuisine. 

    After a long flight from New York and an hour’s ride to the resort, my wife and I were ready to be pampered. So, having cocktails on the terrace of the Jade Mountain Club allowed us to slip into Island Time that evening, followed by an excellent dinner that included curry-and-cumin spiced farm-raised prawns with shaved cucumber, green banana salad and lemon sauce; a crispy chicken roll with chorizo escabeche, local potatoes and pineapple compote; perfectly cooked spiced mahi mahi with coconut rice pilaf, baked pumpkin and seafood bisque; and a superb seared red snapper with leek risotto, sautéed Malabar spinach and a saffron nage. For dessert there was mango baked Alaska and a lemongrass and ginger cheesecake with dark chocolate ganache, beetroot bubbles and caramelized bananas. It was a blissful evening.

    We also enjoyed a simple lunch on the beach at Anse Chastenet of grilled lobster, accompanied by cold Piton beer.

    Breakfasts, full of fresh fruit, were very good, but, sorry to say, service on Caribbean Time meant interminable waits for the food to arrive.

    On that first night at Jade Mountain, we looked up at the star-spangled sky and saw a vivid crescent moon lying on its bottom rim. Where I live crescent moons stand upright, but by its position in the equatorial sky it seemed as if it were cradling a star in its arms as the trade winds blew gently across the room.


Jade Mountain is an all-inclusive resort.


By John Mariani

323 West Broadway (near Canal Street)

    Buzz, like the irresistible smell of a new car, does not last forever, but a finely tuned, good-looking car can be a joy to those who appreciate the consistent delivery of  what it was they loved about it the day they bought it.
    Mamo in Soho seems to have achieved that same effect on regulars, who once might have come for the celebrity clientele when it opened three years ago and for its association with the original Mamo in Antibes on the French Riviera, but who now come back for the loveliness of the décor and the consistency of its food, via Chef  Salvatore Marcello, who has pretty much maintained the opening menu.
    The lights seem a little lower now, casting a soft glow against white brick walls hung with brightly colored Italian movie posters. The upholstered leather chairs are among the most comfortable in New York. The music also seems to have been turned down a bit from its previous cacophony, though I visited on a wintry weeknight.
    Sorry to report that the prices on the wine list are insanely high for no good reason, with few bottles under $100 and most running north of $150.   Chȃteau Gloria 2009 sells for $40 in a NYC wine shop; at Mamo it’s a cough-inducing $200; Pio Cesare Barolo 2013 is $50 retail, at Mamo $175.
    Just about every restaurant is selling pizza these days and Mamo makes some very good ones, especially the “Milana” ($22),  with Cantal cheese, burrata, tomato, cherry tomatoes and basil, a good starter for a table of four.  Right now, as the white truffle season draws to a close, there are several dishes, including pizzas, that include them, but be prepared for sky-high prices.
    There are a number of other good openers, including fried artichokes with pepper and grated cheese ($18) and warm eggplant parmigiana ($19).  The full portions of pasta are very hearty and may be split, not least rigatoni all’amatriciana ($19) and the gnocchi are perfect small dumplings (too often they can be large and lumpish) with a rich Gorgonzola sauce ($21).  Maccheroni al ferretto ($20) is made with fresh Calabrian-style macaroni graced with butter, sage, a little lemon and Parmigiano.
        Main courses are more sumptuous than elsewhere around town, beginning with a halibut baked in foil with a truffle fondue ($38) and the veal alla Milanese ($46) is sided with salad and cherry tomatoes, which, if placed on top, would cause the meat’s crispy crust to become soggy. There’s a fine 12-ounce New York strip steak with sautéed potatoes and herbed olive oil ($44), and by all means share the MAMO meatball ($42), the size of a baseball, riddled with truffles with a creamy four-cheese polenta.
    The Italian desserts are fairly predictable, but no less appealing for that. The panna cotta with apple crumble ($12) and the vanilla torta ($12) are all fine, but the chocolate mousse for two ($22) comes with a large container of whipped cream that a table of four may not finish.
    I wouldn’t judge a restaurant’s service on a post-holiday mid-week evening, but slow and inattentive would describe our experience that night.
    Mamo’s culinary appeal is too admirable for the owners to keep on their website  celebrity sightings three years old of Magic Johnson, Jay Z and Beyoncé at the restaurant. If Mamo hasn’t seen such buzz in a while, it’s because it has now settled down into being a better restaurant.


Mamo is open for lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner nightly and brunch Sat. & Sun.





By John Mariani

    Few winemakers of whatever sex have in so short a period of time achieved the respect and honors of Argentina’s Susana Balbo, whose wines I have long counted among the best coming out of the Mendoza territory.
    Early on, Balbo sought to pursue a career in nuclear physics, which her parents thought a “very unconventional choice for the time” and refused to let her leave Mendoza. So she knuckled under and became involved with the family’s viticultural business and in 1981 became the first woman in Argentina to receive a degree in enology. She then devoted herself to researching the Torrontes grape at the Michel Torino winery, then worked at
Martins and Catena Zapata and began consulting at wineries in South America, Europe and Australia. In 1999 she founded Susana Balbo Wines in Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, and today her son, José, graduate of UC Davis, and daughter, Ana, graduate of University San Andrés (Buenos Aires), have joined her in the family venture (above).
    To date she has won a wide array of awards.
In 1997, she was elected Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by the Argentine Organization of Businesswomen; between 2006 and 2016, she served as president of Wines of Argentina, and last year made The Drink Business magazine’s list of "The 10 most influential women in the wine world.” Space alone prevents me from listing so many more achievements.
    As you’d expect from a woman with such energy and drive, she has opened her  winery to agro-tourism, with two restaurantes on the property, Osadia de Crear and  Espacio Crios.
Of course, the ultimate proof of quality is in the bottle, and Balbo has said that  “the winery is like my third child, a dream come true.” In that regard there are many siblings, though not so many as to make me question whether the winery is straining to please everyone. I’ve tasted several that are now in the market and here’s what I found. 

Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec 2018 ($20)—Rosés have made considerable headway in South America, and this one, made from 60% Malbec and 40% Pinot Noir, has real finesse to it, with just enough alcohol (13.2%) to bolster its fruit flavors. It is cold macerated with dry ice for one hour. An ideal apéritif that can go with any seafood that comes afterwards. 

Susana Balbo Brioso White 2017 ($24)—This is a white blend of 45% Semillón, 30% Torrontes and 25% Sauvignon Blanc, the last enriching the fruit component, with the Semillón providing the lush aroma. The grapes are pressed without maceration, and after fermentation the wine spends a month on the lees, spending 4 months in 60% first -use French oak and 40% second-use. There’s a light, pleasing grassy edge along with a good acid content and alcohol of 12.9%. 

Susana Balbo Brioso Agrelo Red 2016 ($45)—This is the winery’s top-of-the-line Bordeaux-style blend, with 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc, 16% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot. It undergoes extended maceration of 35 days, then spends 15 months in new French oak barrels, coming out at a fine 14% alcohol, so it is neither plummy nor hot on the palate. Instead, you have a smooth, multi-faceted red that shows off the cool Mendoza terroir. 

BenMarco Expresivo 2016
  ($35)—General Manager Edgardo “Edy” Del Popolo is in charge of Balbo’s BenMarco vineyards, where the terroir is allowed to speak with as little intervention by the winemaker as possible. Prices are amazingly reasonable. This blend of 75% Malbec and 25% Cabernet Franc, with just 13.5% alcohol, is a red wine of brightness and earthiness without being overpowered or out of balance. Terrific with steak. 

BenMarco Malbec Valle de Uco 2016 ($25)—Malbec is currently the darling of Argentine viniculture, and this bottle contains 100% of it, at 13.5% alcohol. Unlike its often inky French cousin Cahors, made from the same grape, this is a softer, silkier version that is ideal with pork, roast chicken or veal Milanese. 

BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($20)—On the other hand, if you like more tannin, this 100% Cab, at just 13.8% alcohol, shows how vivid the grape can be if not allowed to ferment into a one-dimensional blockbuster. Char-grilled anything, spicy sausages, Italian pasta sauces will all be enhanced by this excellent offering.




As of January 1st, a dinner for two at NYC's
Per Se costs in excess of $700 before wine, tax, or supplements. At Eleven Madison Park a wine-paired dinner now costs $1,100. Housing for detained immigrants at the Mexican border costs $200 per day per person.



"Fluke Crudo Is a Scourge That  Must Be Stopped"
—Chris Crowley, NY Magazine (12/4/18).


Wine Column Sponsored by Banfi Vintners


   Wine is a joy year-round but in cooler weather one grape varietal has really taken center stage in my daily activities – that most Italian of grapes, Sangiovese, and its ultimate expression – Brunello di Montalcino.
    From mid-September through mid-October, the Sangiovese grown for our various styles of red wines are be harvested, culminating with the top selection for Brunello di Montalcino.
    Second, cooler weather here means it is time to start enjoying more red wines and especially Sangiovese based wines.  That includes Banfi’s cru of Brunello, Poggio alle Mura, literally the cream of the crop of our Sangiovese vineyards. Alongside our Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino, this year we introduced two more wines from the cru Poggio alle Mura – a Rosso di Montalcino and a Riserva of Brunello.  Rosso is sort of like the younger brother of Brunello, also made from 100% Sangiovese grapes but usually a selection from younger vines and the wine is aged only two years compared to the four required for Brunello.  The Riserva, on the other hand, is an even more selective harvest of Sangiovese, and ages for an additional year before release.
    What is so special about this cru Poggio alle Mura?  Well, it is the result our over 30 years of ongoing research at my family’s vineyard estate, Castello Banfi.  When we first began planting our vines there in the late 1970s studies from the University of Bordeaux indicated which strains of many varietals we should plant, based on the soil type and microclimate of each vineyard.  But when it came to the region’s native Sangiovese, there was only local lore, no scientific research.  So we took it upon ourselves to figure out this vine, and set off on three decades of incredibly detailed research.
    We started with 600 apparent variations on Sangiovese, because it is so susceptible to variations in weather and soil, and narrowed that down to 160 truly genetically different clones.  We planted a vineyard with two rows of each type, made wine from each of them, and charted the differences – remember, you only get one chance a year to make wine, so this took time.
    It took about ten years to get some concrete results, though we continue to experiment today and always will – you never stop learning in science and nature!  Once we determined which were the best, complementary clones that could be planted together to make the best Brunello, we chose to plant them in what we determined to be the optimal vineyard sites.  Coincidentally, the best soils and climate conditions are in the slopes surrounding the medieval fortress today known as Castello Banfi, known since Etruscan times as Poggio alle Mura – the walled hilltop.  Hence the name of our most special “cru” of Brunello, representing a synthesis between tradition and innovation.
    Though the focus of this study was our Brunello, all of our Sangiovese-based wines, including the super Tuscans SummuS, Cum Laude, and Centine, benefitted from this work.  And that’s the third reason for celebrating Sangiovese this month, for the range of wonderful reds that usher us into autumn!  One wine in particular was inspired by our research – the BelnerO, a Sangiovese dominant blend with what I like to call a kiss of Cabernet and a whisper of Merlot.  We grow the grapes a little differently for BelnerO than for Brunello, make the wine with less oak aging and released it earlier from the winery, providing a counterpoint to Brunello and a lovely terroir-driven wine in its own right.
     If you know Italians, you know that by nature we are multi-faceted, varying in mood, and always passionate.  As a nation, we span from the hot sunny beaches of Sicily near the African coast to the rugged mountains and Alpine ski slopes of Trentino-Alto Adige in the north.  Sangiovese is grown in almost all of Italy’s regions and reflects the unique nature of each; it is most famous (rightfully so) in Tuscany, yet even there it reflects the nuances of each hilltop, valley and subzone.  It has something a little different to say in Brunello than Chianti, Morellino than Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montalcino than Super Tuscan blends.
    Here is a smattering of Sangiovese-based wines that you may wish to get to know better, reflecting a spectrum that appeals to every occasion, every taste, and every budget.  We can assure you that the conversation will never become boring.

Recommendations for Celebrating Sangiovese 

BelnerO Proprietor’s Reserve Sangiovese – A refined cuvée of noble red grapes perfected by our pioneering clonal research. This dark beauty, BelnerO, is produced at our innovative winery, chosen 11 consecutive years as Italy’s Premier Vineyard Estate. Fermented in our patented temperature controlled French oak and aged approximately 2 additional years. Unfiltered, and Nitrogen bottled to minimize sulfites. 


Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino – Rich, round, velvety and intensely aromatic, with flavor hints of licorice, cherry, and spices. Brunello di Montalcino possesses an intense ruby-red color, and a depth, complexity and opulence that is softened by an elegant, lingering aftertaste. Unfiltered after 1998 vintage. 

Castello Banfi Rosso di Montalcino – Brunello's "younger brother," produced from select Sangiovese grapes and aged in barrique for 10 to 12 months. Deep ruby-red, elegant, vibrant, well-balanced and stylish with a dry velvety finish. 

Poggio all’Oro Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – A single vineyard selection of our most historically outstanding Sangiovese, aged five years before release, the additional year more than that required of Brunello including 6 months in barrel and 6 months more in bottle to grant its “Riserva” designation.  Incredible elegance and harmony. Intense with lots of fruit and subtle wood influence. Round, complete, well balanced with hints of chocolate and berries. Unfiltered after 1998.

Poggio alle Mura – The first tangible result of years of intensive clonal research on Montalcino’s native Sangiovese grape.  Estate bottled from the splendidly sun drenched vineyards surrounding the medieval Castello from which it takes its name.  The Brunello di Montalcino is seductive, silky and smoky.  Deep ruby in color with an expressive bouquet of violets, fruits and berries as well as cigar box, cedar and exotic spices. The Rosso di Montalcino is also intense ruby red.  The bouquet is fresh and fruity with typical varietal notes of cherry and blackberry, enriched by more complex hints of licorice, tobacco and hazelnut.  It is full bodied, yet with a soft structure, and a surprisingly long finish. The Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is deep ruby red with garnet reflections and a rich, ample bouquet that hints of prune jam, coffee, cacao and a light balsamic note.  It is full and powerful, with ripe and gentle tannins that make it velvety and harmonious; this wine is supported by a pleasing minerality that to me speaks soundly of that special hillside in southern Montalcino.

SummuS – A wine of towering elegance, SummuS is an extraordinary blend of Sangiovese which contributes body; Cabernet Sauvignon for fruit and structure; and Syrah for elegance, character and a fruity bouquet.  An elegant, complex and harmonious red wine. 

Cum Laude – A complex and elegant red which graduated “With Honors,” characterized by aromas of juicy berries and fresh spices.

Centine – A Cuvee that is more than half Sangiovese, the balanced consisting of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Vinified in a firm, round style that easily accompanies a wide range of dishes, this is a smooth and fragrantly satisfying wine with international character, and a perennial favorite at my own dinner table. 

Banfi Chianti Superiore – The “Superiore” designation signifies stricter government regulations regarding production and aging requirements, as compared to regular Chianti.  An intense ruby red wine with fruit forward aromas and floral notes.  This is a round wine with well-balanced acidity and fruit.

Banfi Chianti Classico – An enduring classic: alluring bouquet of black fruit and violets; rich flavors of cherry and leather; supple tannins and good acidity for dining. 

Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva – Produced from select grapes grown in the "Classico" region of Chianti, this dry, fruity and well-balanced red has a full bouquet reminiscent of violets.

Fonte alla Selva Chianti Classico – This is our newest entry into the Chianti arena, coming from a 99 acre estate in Castellina, the heart of the Chianti Classico region.  The wine is a captivating mauve red that smells of cherry, plum and blackberry with hints of spice.  It is round, full and balanced with very good acidity.  

Col di Sasso – Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Luscious, complex and soft with persistent notes of fruit and great Italian style structure.





 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.



FEATURED LINKS: I am happy to  report that the Virtual Gourmet is  linked to four excellent travel sites:

Everett Potter's Travel  Report

I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the  web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury  Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and  a frequent contributor to National  Geographic Traveler,  and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their  travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special  places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of  staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star  places as five-star experiences."  THIS WEEK:

Eating Las Vegas JOHN CURTAS has been covering the Las Vegas food and restaurant scene since 1995. He is the co-author of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants (as well as the author of the Eating Las Vegas web site: www.eatinglasvegas. He can also be seen every Friday morning as the “resident foodie” for Wake Up With the Wagners on KSNV TV (NBC) Channel 3  in Las Vegas.


MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Publisher: John Mariani. Editor: Walter Bagley. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani, Robert Mariani,  Misha Mariani, John A. Curtas, Gerry Dawes, Geoff Kalish, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographer: Galina Dargery. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.


If you wish to subscribe to this newsletter, please click here:

© copyright John Mariani 2019