This book is a must-have if you have any interest whatsoever in traditional German cookery. Do not hesitate for a moment to buy this book or give it as a gift. If you've been looking for a book on the gastronomic history and culture of Germany, this is it. I've spent a very long time waiting for a book like this. This is just a completely stunning volume. It breaks the country down into 16 separate geographic regions, and highlights the gastronomic contributions from each of these areas. A great reference if you are going to try to incorporate more traditional German ingredients and skills into your own cooking style. The photography is the best. It is lush, colorful and absolutely gorgeous. Although this is not exactly a 'recipe book' per-se, the recipes that they have included for examples are lovely, traditional recipes. (Including twelve kinds of dumplings!) Luckily enough for us they have resisted the damnable tendency of American food writers to try and "lighten up" traditional recipes for "modern tastes". Bravo! And, they have thankfully included both US and Metric measurements for us poor Americans. The entire book has a lovely European feel to it, with superior printing and binding (of course, since it was bound and printed in France.) This is the cream of the 'Culinaria' series, and without a doubt, the best book of German gastronomy I've ever seen. It will be on my shelf for a long, long time. I loved it!
UPDATE: Here we are, 11 years later and now there's a paperback version of this book available as well. For those of you trying to decide between them, I originally had the hardbound version, which unfortunately was destroyed when my basement got flooded last year. I bought the paperback version to replace it (it was significantly cheaper), and I must say, while the content is exactly the same, it is a good bit smaller print, and the pictures are smaller. I would recommend that you buy the hardback version if you have a choice. Actually, if you're looking at any of the Culinaria books, I would recommend buying the hardbound versions over the paperback versions if you have a choice.