Virtual Gourmet

  January 28, 2024                                                                         Newsletter

Founded in 1996 


Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward




By John Mariani


By John Mariani

By John Mariani


By John Mariani


By John Mariani

        The opening almost two years ago of Fasano Restaurant (above), which immediately became one of New York’s finest and certainly most glamorous Italian restaurants, begs the question of why it took so long. Starting in São Paulo in 1902, the Fasano Group  joined with José Auriemo of  JHSF, one of Brazil’s leading developers, which allowed the Fasano brand to expand further into Brazil and internationally, with hotels in Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro, Angra dos Reis and Salvador, along with several other Italian restaurants with other names.
        Today the Fasano Group is headed by Rogério (“Gero”) Fasano, whose grandfather, Vittorio, opened the family’s first restaurant and bakery in Sāo Paolo and whose father, Fabrizio, refashioned the restaurant in the 1950s (left; since closed). There were many obstacles along the way, but today the company operates 28 restaurants, 10 hotels and employs 1,500 people worldwide.
        I sat down with Gero over plates of beef tartare with white truffles at the New York Fasano Restaurant, designed by Isay Weinfeld, after Gero took over the former Four Seasons restaurant in a Park Avenue skyscraper. I was particularly interested in why he opened such a lavish restaurant in a failed space at a time when New York’s food media seem to have largely lost interest in the fine dining segment.     

As the child of a wealthy family, your main interests were la dolce vita, punk rock and getting into the movie business.  (You invented a watch whose hands only showed PM hours.) But when your father went bankrupt you returned to Brazil to help load trucks with the closed restaurant’s furnishings for sale. Were you miserable or challenged?

It definitely was challenging, but it led to a lot of opportunity and both personal and professional growth. When I reopened Fasano at the age of 20—which belonged to my grandfather and was sold by my father in 1968—I had a great challenge of reviving and reimagining a brand that was previously well known in a certain way from the past. When Fasano was sold, the brand was part of the negotiation. At the time, the buyers were a giant Italian company that bought it for the property, with no plans to continue the restaurant, impressive ballroom or brand identity. So, when I went back to negotiate and solely purchase the “Fasano” branding, the CEO responded that since they were a public company on the stock exchange, they couldn't give anything away for free but was authorized to sell it back. I explained we were not in a good financial situation, and he said he could sell it back to me for the price of an ice cream. And there you have it! 

Where did your knowledge of food and service come from once you decided to go into the restaurant business?

I learned a lot about the business from my grandparents. I lived with them for two years during my childhood, and that’s where my curiosity about my past really came from. I was born in Brazil, but it was during those years I really connected to my Italian roots. Both my grandparents and my father were Italian, and that really ignited my love for Italy, leading me to spend months at a time there when I was younger. Today, I try to go to Italy at least three times a year.
     My grandfather had six restaurants in São Paulo; following the closing of his restaurants, I followed my intuition and opened my own. There really isn’t a playbook to become a restaurateur. It’s challenging, and also completely fulfilling. 

How did the New York restaurant come about?

Following the closure of the Four Seasons, the owner of the building, Steven Roth, was looking for a new restaurant to occupy that space. He traveled the world and came to visit me in São Paulo. After this trip, he told me: The restaurant is yours! I started crying, I was so happy and I remember him saying, “Don’t cry, you deserve it!”

The corridor between the two dining rooms at Fasano, NY.

Were you concerned that luxurious Italian restaurants had become passé in the eyes of the media, after Covid and the multi million-dollar Del Posto closed? 

I wasn’t concerned about this; in fact, I firmly believed—and continue to this day—that there was an opportunity to bring our Italian heritage and hospitality to the Italian restaurant scene in NYC. I still see the desire for fine dining, perhaps in a more simple way, but there’s appetite for having that memorable experience.  

Do you believe that Italian fine dining is dying in New York or across the USA?

Not at all. I see the opposite, not only based on the feedback we receive from our guests, but with other great NYC restaurants, such as Marea and Casa Lever.

Are your guests fazed by the prices?

Our clientele understands the different standards of our restaurant. I suppose some people feel discontent when they don’t get what they pay for, but we consistently strive for the highest standard so our guests don’t feel that way.

How would you distinguish Fasano in terms of food and service from the numerous trattorias in Manhattan and the other boroughs?

We specialize in Northern Italian cuisine. Since I entered the restaurant industry over three decades ago, we’ve had an acute focus on both gastronomy and service. We approach the experience at our restaurant as “understated luxury,” emphasizing quality and attention to detail. My family is originally from Milan and first opened a restaurant in Brazil over 120 years ago. That heritage is steeped in what we do every day, to this day. Additionally, I also always dreamed about taking our know-how to the hotel world, and in 2004, I opened my first hotel in São Paulo.
     Italian cuisine tends to “travel badly” because, while it is simple, it is also very sophisticated and takes on different forms. We do everything we can to make authentic Northern Italian cuisine, using the most current techniques and concepts to make it as light as possible. An example is that garlic is not used in northern Italy, and we don't use it in our kitchens! We also do not use truffle oil; it doesn't authentically reflect the flavor of truffle and can taste chemical-like.

You said you tried to serve the Italian boiled dinner called bollito misto, but couldn’t sell a single one. What did that tell you?

It was a bit surprising, but it appears that the bollito misto is just not as accepted yet in NYC as it is in São Paulo, which is the biggest Italian city after Rome in population. Also, I believe that many of Brazil’s immigrants mostly came from Northern Italy, and that fact may have impacted the dish’s popularity there. 

Fasano, San Salvador

Do you feel the economy here and in Europe and South America is strong enough to sustain this kind of posh restaurant and hotel? How about Asia and the Middle East? 

Certainly in South America, our hotels and restaurants are received with great enthusiasm. For now, Asia and the Middle East are not part of the expansion plans. 

Have you and your partners decided to expand still further?

Yes, we’re incredibly excited about the group’s future. Our partnership with JHSF, which is one of the biggest, most prestigious real estate companies in Brazil, has allowed us to carry our philosophy to other cities in the world. Our next project is a hotel in Miami, set to open by the end of next year, and one in London, in 2025.

You’ve had some health scares. How has that changed your attitude toward life within the very arduous restaurant

Yes, absolutely. It’s impossible not to change after two liver transplants! I was very lucky; it had so much of an impact on me that I even changed my name from Rogério to Gero. I felt reborn. I really focus on taking care of myself, and that includes rest. I used to only sleep a few hours a night and go to bed at 5 a.m.; now, I wake up at 7 a.m. It’s like what David Bowie said: I learned that mornings do exist.

                                                     Fasano with the season's white truffles.




211 West Broadway

By John Mariani



      Recently I wrote of a long-time favorite and influential Greek restaurant, Periyali, re-opening in mid-town Manhattan, and this week I’m happy to report that the new Paros, named after an Aegean Island, shows the evolution of Greek food and style with a handsome 3,500-square-foot space with a 100-seat dining room and a 40-seat outdoor patio, when the good weather returns to TriBeCa.
         Owners George and Nicholas Pagonis have taken a decorous clue from the vast space of Milos Estiatorios uptown with soaring ceilings and white walls reminiscent of Cycladic architecture, as well as a reed-like ceiling that lends a note of rusticity. The bar is of white marble, the seat fabrics blue and white, the lighting soft, the sound level not too high, though it would be nice to hear some true Greek music instead of the thudding techno piped in.
         George and Nicholas began their hospitality training while working at their family’s diner in Alexandria, Virginia. George went on to work at Anassa Taverna in Astoria and to become culinary director of Kyma Hudson Yards and Kyma Flatiron in New York, where Nicholas was general manager. Now together, with George in the kitchen, they have taken the favorite dishes of Greek food culture and given them a sharp edge and presentation.
         The best way to begin, of course, is with a selection (piklia)  of mezzes ($6 each), served with puffy, warm pita bread, including chickpea hummus with tahini of a fine texture and temperature and the spicy tzatziki in rich yogurt and dill.  Skordalia is a garlicky spread for that pita, and taramosalata is topped with potatoes and carp  and sturgeon roe. Best of all is the delicious melitzanosalata of sweet, lightly smoked eggplant.
      There’s also a raw bar of oysters ($24-$46),  jumbo crab ($25), shrimp ($24) and lobster ($40) cocktails, as well as a selection of four crudi “cooked” in acidic fruit juices ($24-$29).   
The appetizers begin with a terrific rendering of shrimp saganaki ($29), spiked with a dash of anise-like ouzo, oregano and other herbs and ripe tomato with feta cheese and a sprinkling of chili flakes, and you definitely want to share a plate of kolokithokeftede zucchini fritters with lemon yogurt ($20) that are far more enjoyable to nibble on than to pronounce.
        Sharing the hefty portion of the slowly braised lamb shank yuvetski ($50) is requisite, for it’s a sumptuous dish brimming with tomato-laced orzo pasta and melting mizithra cheese that gives it a tang.
         There are three grilled whole fish, and I’d hoped for more variety, but the Mediterranean lavraki ($43) and fagri ($52) and meaty mid-Atlantic black sea bass ($48) are all impeccably cooked for maximum succulence, as are the fat tiger prawns Madagascar ($49). The big slices of lemon-drenched potatoes  ($12) go with these splendidly.
         I love Greek desserts, and the ones at Paros—baklava ($14), the orange-soaked portokalopita ($14) and the semolina pudding galaktoboureko ($14)—have just the right honeyed sweetness and flakiness, while the thick yogurt ($12) is a balm for digestion after all the rest of the meal.
         The wine list is more than adequate to convince you of the excellence of Greek wines in this century.
         Downtown Manhattan has several worthwhile Greek restaurants, though most are tavernas or pubs. Paros has a panache that is both novel and exciting in this neighborhood, and, while prices are higher than most of the competition’s (except the ultra-expensive Milos), its grandeur and stylistic appeal prove the Greek saying, “
Boukia kai syghorio”—“One bite and all is forgiven.” 

Open for lunch and dinner daily; Brunch Sat. & Sun.



By  John Mariani


       “Well, the first incident had to do with a girl in the high school, a sophomore, I think, so she would have been about fifteen. And the word was that she had gotten pregnant and was going to have to leave the school. Now, believe me, this was not the first instance of such an occurrence at Sacred Heart, just as it isn’t in any other school in the world. Girls get in trouble, the family doesn’t know what to do, conferences are held with the priests for guidance, and the girl usually leaves school to have the baby. Sometimes she comes back. 
“We had a lot of wealthy parents at Sacred Heart, so most of these girls were well taken care of, medically and every other way. But what made this instance different was that something about it was being kept very secret and the girl left campus very quickly.  And she was never spoken about. There seemed some shame attached to the incident.”
         “Did you ask what was going on?”
         “Several times,” said Joseph. “At first I just knew she was gone—she’d been in my English class, very good student—and the word was, yes, Celia had unfortunately gotten pregnant and had to leave school. More often than not in these cases, the name of the boy who got her pregnant was known. Not always a kid from the school, and sometimes an older guy from somewhere else. But this time, any discussion about Celia would be cut off with a shrug that, well, you know these things happen and the parents want to keep everything and everyone in the dark.
         “I suppose I was being naïve, Katie. I knew some of the priests were probably gay, though it was never a subject for discussion among us.  One or two left the priesthood, but they usually did so to marry a woman in the area or back in the States.”
         Katie interrupted, cautiously. “Well, assuming you were all trying to keep a vow of celibacy, did that subject come up?”
       “Oh, a great deal!” said Joseph. “I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how difficult celibacy is to keep. Fact is, we all considered it unnatural, this idea that by shunning marriage or women we were more completely devoted to Christ. We talked about it all the time, and everybody—myself included—needed to talk about it with each other, as well as to our confessors, who must have heard so many stories and such suffering under the vow that they rarely expressed much concern for transgressions as mortal sins. And you know the worst part of it, Katie? We never had any real human contact beyond quickly hugging a kid or his parents. The warm touch of another human being was lost to us.”
        As a young Catholic girl Katie had endured the same pangs of doubt and guilt about celibacy through puberty, high school and even into college, where she herself had determined that her sexuality was both natural and part of being a woman in the twentieth century.  In her own experience she knew of at least two girls who’d dropped out of high school to have babies out of wedlock.
         “So, did you find out what happened to Celia?” she asked.
         Joseph rubbed his temples and said, “Yes, yes, I did.”
         He went quiet, and Katie showed the palms of her hands to say, “So? What was it?”
         Joseph said slowly, grimacing, “She got pregnant by one of the priests.”
         Katie shook her head and said, “Oh, Christ.”
         “Yeah, well, Christ had nothing to do with it. His name was Father Raul Jimenez—I shouldn’t even dignify him by calling him ‘Father’—and, as the story went, Celia seduced him, he succumbed to temptation and she got pregnant.  Sent her away somewhere. Never returned to school.”
         “How old did you say she was?”
         “And they said she seduced him?”
         “That’s what we were told. Of course, there was never any actual investigation of what happened, and most of us didn’t believe a word of it. Worst of all, Jimenez never lost a beat. Kept teaching in the high school. No reprimand, no being sent off to repent, not even a three-day retreat. Like nothing happened.”
         Katie was more sickened than horrified. The idea of a pedophile priest was not something entirely new to her, and she’d heard of some being passed from parish to parish or school to school. Such instances were never spoken about among church members and no reason for a priest’s transfer was ever given, on the assumption that he was simply keeping to his vow of obedience, to be sent wherever he was needed by his superiors. 
“And that’s why you left the Church?” Katie asked her old friend.
         Joseph sighed and said, “I wish I had. But, no, I accepted the incident as a rancid little story made up to protect Jimenez, and I accepted it as a moral burden I had to bear. I couldn’t prove anything different from the official story line, so I kept my mouth shut and went on with my work.”
         “What was Jimenez like after that?”
         “Just the same. Not a bit different than before. I still saw him with the students, giving them all a hug, patting them on the butt, even giving them a little kiss on the forehead. Like nothing’d happened.”
         Joseph shook his head. “But a lot more did happen. And every time a girl, or sometimes a young boy, left the school without reason, I began to have suspicions of what was going on under my nose—and the noses of all the other good priests and administrators—but everything seemed to be clamped down. The Philippines is overwhelmingly Catholic, you know.
         “There was this Franciscan priest named Hendricks, worked in Naval, who was said to have young boys over to his residence and order them to take baths with him.  Then he’d molest them in bed. No one said anything.
         “After two or three years of this, there were a couple of instances when certain priests would leave the community about the same time as the girl or boy did. They seemed to be tied in together, and it was beyond anyone’s comprehension that, if there had been a sexual incident, it couldn’t possibly be the fault of the student.”
         “You never discussed this with your colleagues?” asked Katie.
         “I knew enough not to bother to pose such questions with the superiors or the administrators, who would simply say that each incident was a sad story and had been handled as discreetly as possible. They refused to point fingers and told us all to pray for both parties.”
         “And the priests within the community?”
         “Yeah, after one too many such incidents we did speak about it to each other, tentatively at first, then with some strong concerns that the priests we were living with and teaching with might be pedophiles and rapists.  If they were only gay, nobody gave a rat’s ass. Those priests had to deal with their sins by themselves. But if they were preying on children, that was becoming an issue many of us needed to contend with.”
         “So what’d you do?”
         “As a community? Nothing. But then one day about six months ago, I went into the gym to get something and heard sounds in the locker room.”
         “What kind of sounds?”
         “Moaning, crying, one adult voice, one a young person’s. I heard the young one say, ‘Father, I don’t want to do this,’ and the older one whispering, ‘Ssshhh, it’s all right, my son, it is nothing wrong.’”
         “What’d you do?”
         “ I walked in quietly, turned the corner, and there was a priest, a guy named Father Ryan, with a fourteen-year-old student, a boy, on his lap, trying to unzip the boys’ pants.”
         Katie’s eyes rolled. “Oh, My God! So what happened?”
         “Ryan—his first name was Francis, who’d been the priest who showed me the ropes when I first arrived at the school—stood up quickly, turned the boy, whose name was Miguel, away from my sight and said, ‘Joseph, can I help you with something?’ I glared at him but didn’t want to make a scene in front of the boy, so I just said, ‘Miguel, come with me. I need you to help me with something.’ He ran to me, then right out the door, fumbling with putting his shirt back in his pants, and I shoo-ed him away. Then I turned back to Ryan and demanded to know what was going on.  And, Katie, he just looked at me and said, flat out, ‘I was just helping Miguel get into his tennis uniform, that’s all.’ Then he raised his voice and said, ‘What the hell do you think I was doing?’”
         Joseph shook his head violently, as if to get the image of that moment out of his head.
         “So what’d you say to him?” asked Katie.
         “Katie, I just said, ‘Francis, you disgust me,’ and turned on my heels and walked out. I was shaking as much from anger as from a kind of terror, as if I was at a crisis point in my life and would have to beg help from God to figure out what to do.”
         “You mean you didn’t go to your superiors? Even go to the police?”
         Joseph snickered and said, “Honestly, Katie, what had I really seen? I knew what was going on but had not a shred of evidence of anything improper.”
         “What about speaking to Miguel?”
         “Yeah, I thought of that and I found him a little while later in an empty classroom, crying on his desk. I asked him what was the matter and he said, ‘Nothing.’ I asked him if Father Ryan had hurt him in some way, he just shook his head.  And when I tried to press him on it and tell him I might be able to help, he screamed at me—‘Let me alone, let me alone!’—and ran out the door.”


John Mariani, 2018




By John Mariani

The Mendoza Valley of the
Andes Mountains, Argentina
(courtesy of Altasur)


         In a world glutted with too much wine from too many countries, Argentina’s wine industry is suffering more than most. According to the new president of Wines of Argentina, Alejandro Vigil, chief winemaker at Bodega Catena Zapata and creator of El Enemigo Wines, “Argentina [recently] has gone through a complicated economic process, with an extremely backward dollar and serious supply problems. Therefore, in this situation we have been hit, especially in markets like the United States at the base of our pyramid, in wines that are below $35 per case, which is practically impossible to export, given the dollar we currently have. This situation is leading to a very strong setback in the Argentine wine industry. Added to a situation also in the United States where wine consumption has decreased sharply, especially for countries like ours.”
         Yet, Magdalena Pesce, elected in 2021 as the first female CEO of Wines of Argentina, is more optimistic, saying, “The situation of the Argentine wines for the year 2024 in the United States is promising, according to the forecasts of the experts. The U.S. wine market is expected to grow annually by 5.85% , generating revenues of $56.65 billion in 2031. The wine consumption per capita is estimated at 12.68 liters in 2031. Of course, we have to face many challenges, but we trust that we are resilient and creative to find the right solutions as we always do.”
         There’s no question that Argentina’s wines can, on the basis of quality, compete with other South American wines, as well as with Spain, New Zealand and Australia’s. Argentina’s size and geography, with many micro-climates and terroirs, have been well adapted for sustainable wine production, and Wines of Argentina (founded in 1993) has launched the Sustenta-Vitis project, which involves a series of lines of action whose implementation will positively impact wineries in the country.
         Malbec, an unpopular Bordeaux varietal best known in Cahors, thrives in particular in Argentina. “A
rgentina is the only country in the world where great wines can be made from Malbec,” insists French enologist Michel Rolland, “and this is due to its 'hyper continental' position, where the vine-growing areas are close to the Andes cordillera, and therefore there is no oceanic influence, neither from the west nor from the east.”
         Malbec may be part of a blend as well, and fine examples exported to the U.S. offer excellent value against red wines of the same quality from California, Spain and France selling for much more. Here are some Argentine wines well worth seeking out. 

Gran Pulenta Corte 2020 ($47). Like many of Argentina’s best, this one comes from the higher altitudes of the Mendoza Valley, specifically Lujan de Cuyo, and is a blend of 50% Malbec, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and a bit of Tannat, all of which give complexity to the principal grape.  It’s a big red at 14.5% alcohol and it is just now showing its maturity.

1853 Old Vine Estate Heritage ($21). The Malbec vineyards located in La Consulta, Uco Valley, Mendoza, are a hundred years old, and experience counts heavily in producing a wine of such good breeding at such a very good price. It gets rounded out by 24 months aged in barrels and 12 months in the bottle. A very good, well-fruited red with pork. 

Secreto Patagonico Rebel Pinot Noir ($12.95). Patagonia has been achieving a reputation for making fine wines, and this Pinot Noir from San Patricio del Chanar, Neuquen, is lightweight, with a lot of fruit, reminding me of Beaujolais, and with 13% alcohol and at this price, you can enjoy it with anything from burgers to ribs, even a grilled cheese sandwich. 

Trivento Reserve White Malbec ($10.99). Trivento’s name commemorates three winds, Polar, Zonda and Sudesta, and while white Malbecs are not all that rare, not many come to the U.S. market. This one, from grapes grown in Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo, has some luscious body with tang and ripe fruit flavors. 

Susana Balbo Brioso White 2022 ($35). Susana Balbo is the First Lady of Argentina’s wine industry, having pursued a career in nuclear physics before getting into viniculture in 1981.  At first devoting herself to researching the Torrontes grape at the Michel Torino winery, she then worked at Martins and Catena Zapata, founding her own namesake winery  in 1999.  The Brioso is a white blend of 38% Sémillon, 28% Torrontes and 34% Sauvignon Blanc, a lush wine with pronounced varietal flavors whose grapes spend a month on the lees, four  months in 60% first-use French oak and 40% second-use. There’s a light, pleasing vegetal edge along with a good acid content and alcohol of 12%.

Doña Paula Altitude Series 1350 2020
($18). This bottling begins with 50%  Cabernet Franc and 45% Malbec, with 5% Casavecchia added. This last, of Campanian origin in Italy but now very rare there, provides some tannin and slight earthiness.  The alcohol is a high 14.8% and it’s a wine with its levels of fruit, acid, spice and tannin just now coming into balance. 

DiamAndes de Uco Cabernet Sauvignon  2020 ($21.99). Containing 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this aims for a big-bodied impression. It comes from a single block of vineyards in Clos de los Siete at the foothill of the Andes, and winemaker Ramiro Balliro emphasizes the dark berry fruit and intensity, at 14.5% alcohol, that goes so well with beef or lamb. 

Durigutti Proyecto Las Compuertas Malbec Cinco Suelos 2019
($32). This 100% Malbec shows how classics are made, with deep color and richness throughout, along with a lovely floral bouquet and satisfying long finish. Winemakers Hector and Pablo Durigatti source five different parcels, cold macerate the grapes for four days and it then goes through malolactic fermentation in concrete eggs in which it ages for eight months.  At 13.5% alcohol, it is fruit-driven and delicious with veal dishes and game.

Altasur Malbec 2021 ($17). Winemaker Joaquin Martin works with grapes, including Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from French clones grafted onto American rootstocks. They are grown in sandy and rocky soil with a highly permeable structure over 321 acres, resulting in a low yield of small berries with high density that makes for rich wines but tannins that will mellow in a year or two,  but at this price feel free to enjoy them right now.




"Fancy a trip to the gulag? Putin plans mass tourism to Russian far East?"—London Times (1/24)


 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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