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Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa [Paperback]

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Item description for Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa by Matthew Fort...

Fort examines Italy through its food and the people who produce it. He discovers a land where regional differences are still alive and uncovers the rich connection between history, tradition and cuisine. The enticing sum of these parts--the food, producers, ingredients, consumers and eating occasions--is nothing less than a contemporary portrait of the country.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   296
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 4.75" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 25, 2006
Publisher   Centro Books
ISBN  1933572027  
ISBN13  9781933572024  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Transportation > General
2Books > Subjects > Travel > Europe > Italy > General
3Books > Subjects > Travel > Europe > Italy
4Books > Subjects > Travel > General > Essays & Travelogues

Reviews - What do customers think about Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa?

Superb writing and a delicious experience  Aug 18, 2007
The traveling by Vespa in Italy idea is what first attracted me to this book. I'm both a Vespa nut and a lover of Italy. My wife and I have a home Puglia and have traveled quite a bit elsewhere in that grand country. I fell in love with both the charming scooters and a cuisine that's close to heaven on earth. I'd enjoyed Peter Moore's "Vroom with a View," his story of traveling by Vespa from the north to the south of Italy. Eating Up Italy happens to be the story of a man traveling by Vespa in the exactly opposite direction, but it's really not about traveling by Vespa at all. This lovely, classic scooter (Fort rode two different ones on his trip) is only incidental to what this book is really about.

Eating Up Italy is about food, Italian food, an amazing cornucopia of food, prepared in a dazzling variety of ways by people who relish it and to whom food is part of their identity, their heritage and their culture. Fort follows the track of the famous unifier of Italy, Garibaldi, who traveled with his army from Calabria in the South of Italy to Turin in the North around the time of our Civil War. As Fort scoots from town to town and region to region he experiences the amazing patchwork quilt of local cultures, customs and cuisines that make Italy unique. This astounding diversity among people is held together by their common passion for eating and food, wonderful food in all its forms. This book is a love song to the unrivalled quality of the Italian gastronomic experience in the face of changing times, global agrobusiness conglomerates, and the pressures of standardization pressed up the member of the European Union "for their own good."

Fort recognizes the unique value of the individualism he discovers in people and in the food they treasure. Each chapter is also followed by recipes for many of the dishes he savored, so the book is also a mini cookbook of joys celebrated by people whose towns are as different from one another as nations are, yet who are made Italian by a culture that has grown in much part from what they harvest and consumer from the land and the seas around them.

Fort is an Englishman and he writes with the clarity, richness and imagery that makes English Literature great. This is no trivial travelogue. It is a book I will keep in my library. A very tasty treat indeed.

Bella! Bella!  Apr 11, 2007
Matthew Fort's infatuation for all things edible and Italian are wonderfully palpable in this gastronomic treasure. Heady and sumptuous as a fine red wine, EATING UP ITALY: VOYAGES ON A VESPA -- part travel memoir, part specialty recipe book -- recounts Fort's journeys all over the stunning Italian countryside, while lavishly showcasing each region's own unique culinary "nuances".

Italy's romance and mystique lay in its beautiful language, hearty people, culture, fascinating history...and, of course, its wide array of mouth-watering edible delights. One would be hard-pressed to find a better qualified author for the task. Fort, one of Britain's most renowned food critic and writer, formed an enthusiasm for Italy at the tender age of 11. The love affair with the country and its cuisine has only deepened with time, as Fort, at age 50, takes a "gastronomic tour" of the beautiful country from its southernmost tip at Melito Di Porto Salvo to the northern region of Turin.

Fort brings the tastes, aromas, and regional culture of Italy directly to the reader, in stunning clarity, coupled with a signature wit. EATING UP ITALY is a bonafide travelogue on its own merits -- nonetheless, Fort doesn't rest on his laurels, expecting us to take his word for it. The tried-and-true age old recipes, generously peppered throughout, involve the reader and add an inimitable richness to Fort's personal experiences, on his travels.

From regional delicacies to every-day local cuisine, Fort's selected recipes and instructions, layered amidst engaging anecdotes teaming with insight into the lives and food of the locals, are easy to follow and tempting to try. Fortunately, many of the recipes are `formalized', using easily recognizable standard measurements, as many Italian cooking techniques are known to use vague measurements such as "a little bit of this, a little bit of that." Some recipes may be easier than others, as some call for ingredients that would be challenging for a typical North American `foodie' to find at their local market.

The book, itself, is bound beautifully with a `foodified' rendition of Venus di Milo. Its lovely thick buttery paper and dark brown ink, lends itself an "old world" feel. At the back of the book is a comprehensive index, in case a particular recipe or notation requires reference on a whim.

Truly a voyager's enchantment and a food lover's bible, EATING UP ITALY captures the incredible country that has it all, and will have any food lover or travel enthusiast shouting "Bella! Bella!"

One can only wait with bated breath - and grumbling stomach - for Fort's upcoming labour of love, EATING UP SICILY.

My rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Your will want to travel Italy for sure!  Mar 5, 2007
Reviewed by Cherie Fisher of Reader Views (2/07)

If you were not hungry when you start reading "Eating Up Italy" you will be by the end of the first chapter. This story is about the author, an Englishman, who has had a lifetime affair with Italy finally following his dream of touring the country from the southern tip to the northern border on a Vespa. It must have been a comical scene with him slowly and carefully navigating his Vespa on the road with crazy speed demons.

The book is more than a recipe book. It contains wonderful descriptions of the people that he met along the way, the food that he ate and the places that he visited. His writing style is very colorful and descriptive and you often feel like you are traveling with him on this journey. I would have loved to try the ice cream in Pizzo, the self-proclaimed ice cream capital of the world, or the wonderful sweet charms in Sulmona. Also wonderful are the descriptions of the pastas, cheeses, and on and on...... This book really has it all!

Each chapter is about a different area that the author visits. He gives vivid descriptions about the area and discusses the food specialties of that area. Each chapter has a recipe section for recipes from that area. Most of the recipes look wonderful, but some of them would probably not appeal to Americans as it uses ingredients that are not used often here. I figured the best way to get a really good appraisal of the quality of the recipes in this book is to pass them by the critical eye of the Italian Chef from Milan that I am dating. Overall, he found them to be excellent recipes and he has promised to make me a few of them!

"Eating Up Italy" is a very well written book and would make an excellent gift for anyone who loves the culture, passion and food of Italy. It would also be a book for anyone planning a trip to Italy. And if you weren't planning a trip to Italy when you start the book, you probably will be by the end of it.
Combo of travelogue and recipes  Dec 8, 2006
This as an estheticaly beautiful, artsy-looking book with high quality pages, cover, illustrations and a gorgeous cover design.

Well written, the food descriptions will make your mouth water; the descriptions of places will make you feel as if you're there.

What's unusual is that this book combines recipes with the travelogue, about 50/50.

Recommended for all foodies with an interest in Italy. And for everyone interested in Italy who also appreciates good food.
Fantastic!  Oct 23, 2006
I only read really good non-fiction books -- and this was one of the best I've read in the last 10 years. Made me seriously want to visit Italy, and not as a tourist but as a hungry person. I tried some of the recipes and they're really good. If you want to understand something deeper about Italy and her cuisine -- which is really just good food -- I highly recommend this book!

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