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Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa Paperback – 20 Jun 2005
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'Elizabeth David meets Jack Kerouac – around the table and on the road, this is a brilliant insight into Italian gastro-culture.'
‘Lemon blossom and freshly baked bread waft up from every page. The most intensely greedy, fragrant and sensuously written travelogue I have ever read. A glorious, glorious feast.’
'A beautifully written, humorous account of a talented food writer controlling what seems to be a midlife crisis by travelling around Italy on a Vespa.' Jamie Oliver
About the Author
Matthew Fort has nursed a passion for the whole of Italy and its foods since his first visit at the age of eleven. Whilst pursuing a career in advertising he started writing about food in the Financial Times and eventually became Food & Drink editor of the Guardian in 1989. As well as continuing to hold that post, he writes for Esquire, the Observer, Country Living, Decanter and Food Illustrated.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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.
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.