OP: Flavors of the Riviera
Bantam Books, 1996. Hardcover. Fine in Near Fine, clipped jacket. First printing.
One of the founders of Saveur magazine, Colman Andrews (1945– ) has had a long career in journalism with a notable focus on food, chefs, and travel. He has contributed to Bon Appetit and Food & Wine and became the restaurant critic for Gourmet in 2006 after leaving his Editor in Chief role at Saveur.
Andrews’ 1996 book, Flavors of the Riviera, reads, as so many others on the region, like a love letter. To spend time on the Riviera is to be hopelessly seduced by coastal breezes and sunshine, or so Andrews would have us believe by his account. Behind the glamorous appeal to the beau monde who vacation on this sliver of land bordering the Mediterranean and straddling the French-Italian border, however, is a robust history of shifting political control and a humble cuisine born out of making do with limited resources.
Well-researched and aided by black and white photos, Flavors of the Riviera is a dynamic cookbook. Andrews’ headnotes and contextual interludes make the recipes all the more enticing. Some worth mentioning in particular:
- ravioli alla Genovese—a special occasion dish filled with escarole, sweetbreads, calf’s brains, marrow, and ricotta
- funghi e patate—a dish of layered porcinis and potatoes, baked slowly, allowing the potatoes to absorb the mushroom flavor and become indistinguishable, an example of frugally “doubling” the volume of mushrooms
- tarte au citron—a lemon tart, reported by Andrews, to originate in Monaco’s now vanished Jewish ghetto