Virtual Gourmet

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Founded in 1996 


Meryl Streep as Julia Child in "Julie & and Julia" (2009)




By John Mariani


By John Mariani

By John Mariani


By John Mariani



By John Mariani



      In the TV series “La Côte Basque, 1965” about Truman Capote’s infamous 1975 fictional article published in Esquire that thinly disguised the doyennes of New York society—whom he called “swans”—who lunched at the pricey midtown French restaurant La Côte Basque, including Slim Keith (left), Babe Paley and C.Z. Guest. Keith, played with delicious venom by Diane Lane, vainly declares that the people in the restaurant “come here to see us, not to eat here.”
         However snobbish that sounds, Keith was not way off the mark, for in those days the deluxe French restaurants like La Côte Basque, Le Pavillon, Café Chauveron and The Colony and others were so noted for being showcases for such women—paparazzi waited outside to snap their pictures—that many people did indeed go there to see them flutter in, sit at the best tables and, having house accounts, leave without paying a bill they’d never see.
         Still, those restaurants—all of them in Midtown, where the women lived—were noted for their fine French cuisine and deep wine cellars among those who did go for the food, which widely mimicked the menu items at Le Pavillon, which set the standard as early as 1945 with its red banquettes, abundance of roses, tuxedo-clad captains and cowing to the social elite. Chefs trained in France in the strict traditions of classic cooking labored to make the clearest of consommés, the silkiest of reduced sauces and the lightest of soufflés. Yet, many of the male guests had a three-martini lunch—not least Capote himself—chowing down on lamb chops and steaks. But to go by the scenes  in the TV show, the Swans, ever restrained by dieting, seemed to eat little of anything. 
How good was the food at La Côte Basque, which was an offshoot of Le Pavillon, owned by Henri Soulé? Details are sparse because restaurant critics were sparse in 1965, with gossip columnist reporting on who went where with whom. At the time, the New York Times food columnist, Craig Claiborne (below), gave short reports on the restaurants of the day, without awarding stars—no one did back then. On June 29 that year he wrote, “A towering superlative, like a little knowledge, is a dangerous thing. But the present temptation is to state without equivocation that Henri Soule's recently reopened La Côte Basque at 5 East 55th Street is the handsomest restaurant in Manhattan.”
He goes on to describe “the physical charms of the restaurant rest in the fact that it is all of a piece—from the [Provençal] murals by Bernard Lamont to the velvet banquettes, and the napery with the green, white and red colors of the Basque flag.”
He says the kitchen “has considerable distinction, and yet it lacks the fire that transforms mere excellence into exquisiteness, the noble to the exalted.”
         He goes on to praise highly a filet of beef Niçoise and the “gossamer” sole au Champagne, and the grilled pigeon americaine and escalope of liegoise and striped bass Armenonville”—all straight from  the classic Escoffier repertoire of haute cuisine.  Only one dish he tasted “caused genuine disappointment,” a turbot Basquaise whose texture “lacked the delicate nature that is customary to the finest European restaurants.”
         The review seems to indicate he didn’t bother trying the dessert, getting  straight to the bottom line: A complete lunch was $7, an evening meal $9.50.
         By the time of Capote’s publishing his story ten years later, La Côte Basque had maintained its position in the front ranks of French dining salons, and still drew the ladies who lunch, including Jackie Onassis, though by then a newcomer named Le Cirque, led  by the suave Sirio Maccioni (below), formerly maître d at The Colony, began to steal La Côte Basque’s thunder as the place to be seen, attracting royal heads of state, the new fashion designers and actors that included Sophia Loren.
         In 1979 La Côte Basque was bought by chef Jean-Jacques Rachou (right), formerly at The Colony, who brought fresh ideas to the menu and more gourmet diners to the dining room as interest in gastronomy grew right along with a young food media. By then, the Times was giving out stars, and La Côte Basque earned two (very good) to three (excellent) as the years went on. By then, Rachou said he was spending more than $2,200 a week on flowers and more than $3,000 on linen. He was also mentor to some of the most important young chefs like Charlie Palmer, Rick Moonen and Waldy Malouf who would go onto make their own mark in New York.
As a college student with a budget for pizza and burgers, I never ate at La Côte Basque in the 1960s, but began to do so in the late 1970s, after Rachou took over. Those murals were indeed very beautiful and restful, the timbered ceiling comforting and there was an air of joie de vive rather than Gallic snobisme.  My own notes from those years were generally very positive, this at a time when cream and butter still reigned deliciously in most dishes, so I was delighted by dishes like
duck foie gras with minced black truffles over a salad of mâche lettuce; quail en croûte in buttery puff pastry stuffed with more foie gras and truffles; lobster packed into ravioli with a ruddy shellfish broth. There was a dish of sweet bay scallops in Sauternes-laced beurre blanc, and the dessert cart, joyfully wheeled over at meal’s end, was groaning with sweets too difficult to choose among, so the waiter would serve three or more on a plate.
         If there were any Swans left at La Côte Basque in those days, it wasn’t evident. By then the restaurant was clearly an attraction to people who truly loved to eat and drink well. Women like Slim Keith and the anorexic ladies Tom Wolfe called “social x-rays” had by then gone over to Le Cirque, where they were pampered by Sirio Maccioni (above) as they were accustomed to be. I recall Barbara Walters once showing up there because she just wanted to show off her new hairdo. Paloma Picasso might dine with the King of Spain, and Woody Allen drank expensive Bordeaux.
         As for La Cȏte Basque, which had moved to the west side of Fifth Avenue, the elderly Rachou, frustrated after failing a health inspection, closed the restaurant in March 2004, described in the Times as “a former high-society temple of French cuisine.” By then, all the Swans—Slim Keith, Babe Paley, C.Z. Guest—had passed away.
         And what of Truman Capote? As the TV series and history show, shunned by his Swans and often alone, he sank further into alcoholic and drug dissipation, never following up with anything worth reading after “La Côte Basque, 1965.” Which is how I once saw him years later, around 1984, the year he died. He was sitting at midday, all alone, at a restaurant in Amagansett, wearing his usual sunglasses and a large brimmed hat, summoning the waiter to bring him another Martini, “please.”



1 West 67th Street

         Outside of the major European cities like Rome, London and Paris, no city has more historic landmark restaurants than New York. Which is hardly surprising since the very first full-service restaurant in America was Delmonico’s, which opened in 1827 on Wall Street. There are so many others still in operation—Barbetta, Grand Central Oyster Bar, Tavern on the Green, Keen’s Chop House, and, one of the most beautiful, the dining rooms at the Hotel des Artistes on West 67th Street, whose wealthy and artistic inhabitants dined downstairs at the Café des Artistes, whose gorgeous 1930s murals by resident Howard Chandler Christy  of nudes gamboling in what looks like Central Park have for more than a century have been among the city's most exquisite interiors.
         Since it’s just a block from Lincoln Center, you can imagine that its clientele includes some of the big names in the music and dance world.
         For many years the space was run by restaurateur George Lang as a swank bistro; then in 2011 Paula and Gianfranco Sorrentino refurbished it all and turned it into one of New York’s most elegant and finest Italian restaurants: The Leopard at Des Artistes. The Sorrentinos also co-own with chef Vito Gnazzo the equally fine Il Gattopardo, across from MoMA.          The bringing in of a new executive chef, Vincenzo Adamo, is reason enough for me to re-visit, and I found the premises as romantic as ever, the lighting adding to the conviviality of a dining room where guests don’t roar and no loud music is played—at least not till Sunday, when a very popular jazz brunch is in full swing.
         The Leopard has for some time steered its menu to Italy’s southern regions, so Adamo, born and raised in Naples, brings his expertise in that cuisine after working from the Amalfi Coast up to Venice and he  showcases the disparate foods of Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, Apulia, Sardinia, and Sicily.
         Our party of four left the meal up to Adamo, and he soon dispatched a slew of antipasti that included squares of Parmigiano with walnuts and acacia honey; grilled octopus on skewers with a pistachio pesto (left); and a glistening tuna tartare with radish and rossa di Milano onions.
         All the pastas are sumptuous and generous as a first or main course, so prices are high. We ate family-style with pastas apportioned on our plates, beginning with tender spinach cavatelli (right) with saffron, broccolo Romanesco, roasted leeks and mussels ($36) and fusilloni abundant with Maine lobster with fusilloni (curly spaghetti made by Setaro in Campania since 1939) in a rich lobster reduction, Corbarino tomatoes and parsley ($45).
We could hardly refuse a chance to have this Neapolitan chef’s ragù napoletano ($38), which he makes with fat, flat paccheri in a long-simmered sauce of tomatoes, pork ribs, short ribs, Italian sweet sausage, pecorino cheese and fresh basil (left). Risotto, impeccably cooked, combined the creamy, salty blue cheese of Gorgonzola with sweet ripe pears for an ideal balance of flavors (MP).
         The main courses included the Mediterranean halibut with the charming name of ippoglosso, served with grilled bitter endive, caramelized baby carrots, cherry tomato and thyme sauce ($59). Big,  plump, very sweet roasted sea scallops was enhanced with crispy guanciale bacon, honey squash and a light counterpoint of vinaigrette ($59).
         We are still in venison season, so a roasted loin was full of lightly gamey flavor ($60) with sautéed porcini and a reduction of red Aglianico wine from Campania.  An eight-ounce rack of very juicy lamb in black truffle reduction was made for nibbling the charred, meaty bones served with a roasted potato cake ($72).

    The four of us somehow retained room for chocolate mousse over hazelnut gianduja cake ($21) and a caramelized pistachio semifreddo with chocolate sauce ($21).
         The wine list at The Leopard is, as you’d expect, a match for the grandeur of the food, and there are a great number of Southern Italian wines below $100 you should take a look at.
         A room with The Leopard’s history and link to New York’s artists, musicians, sopranos and tenors demand that its food, wine, service and atmosphere become part of something uniquely New York in spirit. If you can take your eyes off those beautiful women on the walls, close them and you become part of the legend and a sense of belonging to it forever after.


Open nightly for dinner; lunch on weekends;  jazz brunch on Sun. 


By  John Mariani



       Megan Sullivan sniffled and apologized for her emotions, and Katie and David just nodded and said they understood.
         Tommy picked up the narrative: “David, you know the way shit goes down with certain cases, how you bring them in and how they can get thrown out, just like that. Sometimes by a judge, sometimes your own brass.  But, David, I swear, whenever one of these pedophile or abuse cases came in, no one wanted anything to do with them.
         “You remember Mike Kerry, big tough Irish street cop, made captain busting heads in the South Bronx? Never caved in to pressure. Well, lemme tell you, Kerry caved in every time with those molestation cases by those scum priests. Never even bothered to send one up the line of command. It was like there was just a tacit agreement that the priests and brothers and nuns were never to be brought in or indicted. That’s the way it was. Still is.”
         “Didn’t you even get to report these incidents to the archdiocese?” asked David.
         Tommy shook his head. “I’d hand in my report, never see it again. What I did know is that some of these scumbags were quickly transferred out of the parish and out of our precinct. Never heard what happened to them. Nobody asked where they went after they left.”
         Katie was flustered and shocked. “I’m sorry to ask, Tommy, but didn’t any of the cops try to go to the oversight board?”
         Tommy looked at David and said, “You go to what you call the ‘oversight board’ when a cop’s being accused of wrongdoing. Not when your captain ignores a complaint about priests.”
         David broke in, asking, “You think the original complaints might still be in the precinct files, Tommy.”
    Tommy shook his head. “What files? There were never any files kept on those things.”
         Katie said, “I assume you know of cases like this outside of New York?”
         “Oh, I knew they were going on everywhere. Probably in the next parish,  in the next state, where they’d ship these creeps.”
         “How about in Boston?”
         “Boston? Well, it’s a big Catholic town, run by the Irish clergy, just like here in New York.”
         “Well, are there any cops like yourself on the Boston vice squad you might know?”
         Tommy was puzzled by the question, thinking, “Haven’t I told this woman enough to make her want to investigate New York City crimes?” 
What Katie had in mind was the story her colleague who’d been on the Boston Globe had told her about the newspaper’s killing of an investigation into predatory priests. She thought she might be able to speak to a reporter who might remember the details and to a cop like Tommy Sullivan who was working the vice squad at the same time.
         “There is a cop—he’s older than I am and retired years ago—who’s actually a cousin of mine, who was on the Boston force.  Good cop, and I remember him telling me similar stories to mine that went back even further.”
    “Think he’ll talk to me?” asked Katie.
         “If David’s along, I don’t see any reason why not. I’ll give him a call and see what he says.”
       The two couples said their goodbyes, thanks for the tea and cookies and the rest of the niceties, and as Katie and David headed for her car, Tommy shouted after them, “If you two could nail just one of those bastards, you should get a special place in heaven.”
         But Megan Sullivan stood in the door, her arms crossed, wondering if God could care less.

                                                                                               *                *                *

      The next morning David got a call from Tommy telling him his friend in Boston would talk to him but not to Katie. His name was Pat Foley, and he told Tommy he’d never trusted reporters after the Globe quashed the molestation story he’d helped with. David understood that and, while defending Katie’s integrity, felt he should make the contact and leave Katie out of it for the time being. Besides, Katie didn’t have an assignment to do any story at all, so it would be better if she stayed to the side for the time being. David felt that if anything came of calling Foley, then he’d tell her.  He didn’t want her listening in on the call.
         Upon picking up the phone and hearing David identify himself, Pat Foley said, “Yeah, Tommy Sullivan called me about you. You used to work for NYPD, mob squad?” It was the rasping voice of a chain smoker.
         David told Foley he was now retired, lived close to Sullivan and had been speaking with him about the pedophile cases involving Catholic prelates.
         “Yeah, Tommy handled a lot of those cases in the Bronx and Manhattan,” said Foley, who had a flat South Boston accent. “Never got  any further with any of them than I did.”
         “That’s what he said. He also said you worked with some Globe reporters on an investigation of such cases.”
        David heard a long sigh on the end of the line. “Yeah, I helped them with some names and contacts, but after what I thought was going to be some real progress on nailing those priests, the Globe just dropped it. Cold. Same treatment we cops got when we stuck our noses into the dirty business.”
         David wanted to know if any of the people from those days back in the seventies were still around.
  “You mean the reporters?” asked Foley. “No idea. Some of the priests may be, but most of them were shipped out to other parishes. Maybe a few nuns. They never seem to die off.  The current cardinal, Bernard Francis Law” (above)—Foley seemed to spit the name into the phone—“only took over in ‘84. He must have known what was going on in the archdiocese in the seventies, and since the abuse still goes on, Law is as guilty as any of them for keeping every dirty secret.”
         “So you don’t think there’s any reason for me to come up to Boston and poke around?”
         “David, I’ve been out of it for ten years. Your friend Tommy knows more than I do. For me it’s very old history. Not that it doesn’t still bother me. But it’s a dead end for anyone trying to pry open that sewer cover.”
         David started to thank Foley for speaking with him when the older ex-cop said, “Y’know, there is somebody you might want to talk to, a guy named Richard Sipe (right). A very angry ex-Benedictine monk, who’s been raising hell about sexual abuse among the clergy for years. Hasn’t gotten very far, but he’s compiled a lot of data from what I understand. Lemme get his contact number.”
         David was now anxious to report in to Katie and glad he didn’t have to go up to Boston alone to see Pat Foley. This guy Sipe sounded like the next logical step in their investigation together. His area code was in La Jolla, California.
         After hearing the news, Katie said she’d immediately try to find info on Sipe, using McClure’s on-line search system. David was glad she didn’t ask him why she was not included in the phone call to Foley, so he told her, “Good, Katie, you handle that contact. You take it from here.”   
The first thing Katie did was to call Joseph Evangelista and ask if he’d ever heard anything about this man Richard Sipe.
         “The name sounds familiar, Katie,” said Joseph. “Let me check around. Something tells me he wrote a book on the subject.”
          With further research Katie found Sipe had indeed written a book—two of them—together with his wife Marianne Benkert: In 1990 A Secret World: Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy, followed by Sex, Priests and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis five years later. Oddly, neither book had received very much press coverage when they appeared and were never reviewed in the New York Times. There were, however, copies in the New York Public Library, where she headed next.


John Mariani, 2018



By John Mariani

      Most spirits have a proud regional history—Russian vodka, Scottish whisky, Kentucky bourbon—but none quite so complex or as romantic as rum, which is intimately tied to the history and the colonial development of the Caribbean.
       Indeed, rum was the world’s first widely consumed spirit because seafarers from the Caribbean brought it with them to every port on the globe. It made fortunes for the English, the Spanish, the French, and, later, the Americans (rum was for a long time made in New England).
      In those days it was drunk straight, or watered down for grog onboard English and American ships, while on the plantations of the Caribbean and the South, punch became what was perhaps the first party drink (below).
       Most rums used to be either dark or amber colored, indicating a longer fermentation time, or that the spirit was strengthened with a residue of the distillation process called dunder. But the popularizing of white rum in the 1960s as an easy mixer in the Cuba Libre, El Presidente and frozen daiquiris vaulted the liquor well above so-called “brown spirits” like bourbon, rye, Scotch, and other whiskies.
         But now brown rums from both well-established and brand new producers are making a big comeback. Rums vary from island to island, but it hasn’t much to do with regional topography or climate. In fact, Bacardi, based in Puerto Rico, makes about 85 percent of all the Caribbean rums sold in the U.S.  By the same token, the sugar used to make the molasses to make the distilled product was grown on other islands, principally Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.  One distinguishing factor about Puerto Rican rums is that the law requires even the white rums be aged in oak for a year; rarely is this done elsewhere.
         Here is a look at both well-known brown rums and new ones diverging from older styles.


BACARDI GOLD ($20) is fairly light in flavor and color and has just enough of the vanilla-caramel scent and the good smooth finish that makes it perfect on the rocks or in a cocktail. Its smoothness is due to a “secret” blend of charcoals. Bacardi Black ($23) has a fuller body and a smoky finish. Bacardi 151, bottled at 151 proof, was a powerhouse, but it was discontinued in 2016 because it was actually a fire hazard!


APPLETON ESTATE is the oldest rum maker in Jamaica, dating to the 17th century, now owned by J. Wray & Nephew Ltd. Its Appleton V/X ($24) has been an award winner, a blend of 15 aged rums that offer a great deal of complexity. Its Appleton 21 is made from rums at least 21 years old and aged in Old Nassau Valley casks. (I’ve seen it priced anywhere from $130 to $170.) 


RHUM BARBANCOURT was founded on Haiti by a Frenchman in 1862 and is still double distilled, like Cognac, to give it a smoothness with only a short bite. The  Réserve du Dumaine ($65) is aged 15 years in Limousin oak, and is definitely to be savored in a brandy snifter. It has a nice burn on first sip and many layers of sweetness, floral and spice qualities.


RON BARCELO in the Dominican Republic since 1930  has just introduced three new expressions as part of their ultra-premium Rare Blends Collection, aged for an extended time in barrels from different latitudes. Barceló Imperial Porto Cask is aged in Tawny 10 port wine barrels, which imparts some delicious sweet, dried-fruit notes ($60). The other two, Imperial Maple Cask and Mizunara Cask,  will be on the market later this year.


PLANTATION XAYMACA SPECIAL DRY ($29) from Jamaica has medium body, at 86 proof,  and I think it’s ideal for a (non-frozen) daiquiri or rum punch. It is 100% pot still rum in the style of the 19th century, and Master Blender Alexandre Gabriel says he emphasizes its “animal intensity and “rum funk.” There’s a definite signature flavor of molasses and black pepper, and it does have a kind of effective raw naturalness about it.


GOSLINGS FAMILY RESERVE OLD RUM RYE BARREL FINISH ($91), aged in whiskey barrels, is a new iteration of their bold, dark Bermuda rums, aged 16 to 19 years. It is of a style long favored by seamen for more than two centuries, updated by rum maker Malcolm Gosling Jr., using charred American oak.


PICCADILLY CAMIKARA 8 YO ($45) takes its name from the Sanskrit meaning ‘liquid gold.’ It is 42.8% alcohol and contains no added flavors, colors, spices, or sweeteners. Unusual for its provenance, this is a good example of a rum to be enjoyed on its own on the veranda. Piccadilly also makes a 12 YO ($86) and a 24 YO ($60) aged in Sherry casks. All are limited editions. According to the company’s Siddharta Sharma, “Our inspiration came from the history of the local households of the area where they have been distilling cane juice to make a local brew called Laahan. It has been part of the culture and customs of the Punjab region for thousands of years. Our goal was to revive this age-old tradition and we even went a step further by maturing it in American oak casks, to bring it up to international standards.”


PILAR LEGACY EDITION 2023 ($109), named after Ernest Hemingway’s beloved boat on which he is said to have composed some of The Old Man and the Sea, this limited edition dark rum has just been released. Crafted in Key West by seventh-generation Master Distiller Ron Call, rums from the Caribbean, North and South America are blended in Bourbon barrels and Spanish Sherry casks and finished in once-used Apple Brandy French Limousin oak casks. A small amount of the rum is also finished in apricot and orange bitters casks. Complexity is the key word, with many layers of flavor you should let flow through your palate and enjoy all on its own. Just 3,000 bottles, set within a canvas canteen, were made, in honor of fearless surfer Greg “the Bull” Noll.




In the small Australian town of Leongatha three people died after eating a family meal suspected to contain poisonous death cap mushrooms. Police arrested Erin Patterson (left), who hosted the lunch in late July whose four guests quickly fell gravely ill. The menu included a beef Wellington dish.


 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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