Once hooked, followers of Alistair Sawday remain committed for life. They doubtlessly will welcome his new book Go Slow England with booking forms to the ready, but for the uninitiated, let me explain.
Alistair Sawday is to where to stay as Nigel Slater is to what to cook. In other words both are enthusiasts, know, love and care passionately about their respective worlds, never - or hardly ever - put a pen wrong and - here's the salient point - understand the wants, needs and desires of their fans. As travellers, we all are faced with certain choices. What really matters when booking a hotel or B&B is as much about lifestyle and taste as it is about budget.
Certainly I'm not adverse to a bit (well, actually more than a bit) of luxury but there are other important considerations. As Nigel Slater writes in the foreword, "....it means everything that the building is made of local stone or wood or brick, that it has a history and has been restored or repaired with sympathetic materials. It matters that the vegetables on my plate were grown in the owner's garden or allotment, that lamb came from the farm over the hill and the proprietor had a hand in making my supper. .......I need to know the effect that my choice of accommodation will have on the local environment; how it enriches the community and the lives of those who work there".
Go Slow England encompasses all these values and more. Divided into seven areas, it details, with very alluring photographs, 48 houses selected because they are "especially beautiful or slow or inspiring or all three" where travellers can rest their weary heads. Each region also includes Slow travel - places to visit and Slow food - producers, shops and markets, most of whom are FoodLovers Approved.
This is travelling at its slowest and its best. Chosen with authority and conviction and highlighting local distinctiveness, it cannot fail to make every Food Lover a committed fan