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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful and Delicious, 15 Oct 2004
By A Customer
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Matthew Fort's epic scooter ride up the thigh-boot of Italy is a truly delicious read. Every aspect of the fascinating and varied Italian life he encountered is amusingly reflected upon in his lightly erudite prose. I thought his acknowledgement of feeling homesick (unlike Thesiger et al) was particularly endearing and the description of his amateurish Vespa riding in Naples most entertaining.Mr Fort was the restaurant critic for The Guardian, a foodie professional, but the gusto with which he describes the various meals he was presented with en route shows a boyish enthusiast peeping through the culinary afficionado. The recipes, which are added to each chapter-ending, are splendidly simple but totally mouthwatering.What Mr Fort has managed to do is deftly mix an amusing travel diary, rich with incident & character, with a gourmet's guide to the regional idiosyncrasies of Italian cooking. YUMMY!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the best of its kind, 3 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. M. A. Williams (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Matthew Fort has assembled a kind of culinary Ark of Italian country cuisine in this book; it is an important book because, like Elizabeth David, he detects the tendrils of homogenisation creeping into Italin food and society, and that they will, leach away these simple guiding principles of Italian cookery.
Thios is definitely not a book of recipes - there are plenty of recipes but it is a book about the philosophy of Italian peasant cooking. It is utterly delightful but, for you to make his efforts wothwhile, make a few of the recipes and reaffirm his words
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars food from fort, 10 Aug 2004
By A Customer
Are you, like me, tired of all these remorselessly microscopic, one-theme books? You know, three times as much as you ever wanted to know about socks, and their previously unregarded, unrevealed and crucial impact on world civilisation and culture, that sort of thing? Do you ever pine for a bit of grand discursion, an anecdote here, a fascinating fact there; for an amiable companion rather than some zealot of minutiae or lazy hack padding out the best they came up with at lunch with their publisher? I must say I didn't hold out much hope about Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa. Another foodie boring on about fancy sausages, I thought. And on a Vespa: a miserly, fit sort of foodie to boot, I thought. And he writes for The Guardian. What a splendid surprise, then, to come across Matthew Fort, fat and flabby and over-50 by his own account, and a mesmerisingly entertaining man to travel with the length of Italy. A man, true, obsessed by food far too much than is good for him or his poor Vespa; but a man, too, who can convey that passion, make the sex life of the snail a thing of fascination, and, yes, even make fancy sausages interesting: read his encounter with the five sausage butchers of Salmona if you don't believe me. Add to this some memorable facts - did you know that Goethe was a foodie, or what excess carried off Cavour? - and accounts, particularly of scootering in Naples, accomplished with wit and not a little confided wisdom. Fort even tells us why the Italians talk so much, a condition he clearly shares and relishes. There are well laid-out recipes for the stuff he so lovingly describes, although I felt "sauce of castrated lamb" also lost something in the translation. Va voom bene!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect reading while in Italy, 22 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa (Paperback)
I bought this book to take on my short walking holiday in Italy. We were based on the Amalfi Coast which Matthew didn't visit during his travels, but we flew in to Naples and were collected by a taxi before a nerve jangling journey to our first hotel. So, reading Matthew's description of driving his moped around Naples was both resonent and hilarious, I tip my hat to anyone who can drive those streets!
Reading the excellent descriptions of ingredients, meals and landscapes, while eating Italian meals or after walking through similar landscapes, was wonderful. The book really did add something to my holiday. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Italy or food even if you're not visiting the country, because it captures the essence so well that you can imagine yourself there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Charming book, 16 July 2013
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This review is from: Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa (Paperback)
For people who know Italy well or those who want to be introduced. It's a recipe book with a difference.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read, 25 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa (Paperback)
Now then , I believed that spaghetti is spaghetti. No, not so. - But I do admire the author for his courage to travel in Italy on a "Vespa". - Although it is unlikely that I'll try to eat any snails; castrated sheep might be a bit difficult to find but assume lamb(!) might do. It's nice to have the recipes for the some of the meals Matthew Fort consumed. - The last stretch of the journey, from Ancona to Turin, seems a bit rushed. However, don't read the book in public places.....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kept me awake!, 19 Jan 2013
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I started reading this in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep and it kept me reading for at least the next two hours. I was meant to be reading something a lot more heavy going, but succumbed to the easy style of Mr Fort and thoroughly enjoyed the whole book. I am now going to buy his Sicilian one and no doubt will be reading that into the early hours! Granted I am a foodie, but I think anyone would enjoy his self deprecating manner and unsentimental insights into the country. What a relief to read of built up agglomerations and tatty seaside developments instead of the usual tourist gush.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed, 10 Oct 2012
By 
Lynne Bradley (Eccles. Manchester) - See all my reviews
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I like food and travel so really enjoyed this. Its a bit middle class. That might recommend it to a lot of people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Journey, 10 April 2012
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This review is from: Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa (Paperback)
I spotted this in the book store and just couldn't resist. Loved watching Market Kitchen when Matthew was on. It was a fantastic read and loved the storytelling of the journey.

I loved the way Matthew writes and describes the regionality of Italy. Especially poignant was when he arrived in Bra and the meeting with Carlo Petrini about his [then] new University of Gastronomy because my partner and I are off to Italy where she is going to study at the University. I read that Matthew even teaches at the University sometimes so with any luck she may even get to meet Matthew. I can't wait to get to Italy and experience first hand some of the things that are described in the book, especially the markets in Turin and Asti.

The book has inspired me to plan a similar Italian trip but on a bicycle, great way to see the country and experience the food.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great Read, 17 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa (Paperback)
Exactly as described, arrived quickly. If you have an interest in Italy and it's cuisine this book is a must. Must say though, a few of the recipes are not dishes you'll find in Trattorias' or Restaurants' but rather dishes Italians' would eat at home (my OH is Italian).
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Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa
Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa by Matthew Fort (Paperback - 20 Jun 2005)
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