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Barolo (At Table)
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After a childhood of microwaved meat and saturated fat, Matthew Gavin Frank got serious about food. His "research" ultimately led him to Barolo, Italy (pop. 646), where, living out of a tent in the garden of a local farmhouse, he resolved to learn about Italian food from the ground up. Barolo is Frank's account of those six months. At once an intimate travelogue and a memoir of a culinary education, the book details the adventures of a not-so-innocent abroad in Barolo, a region known for its food and wine (also called Barolo). Upon arrival, Frank began picking wine grapes for famed vintner Luciano Sandrone. He tells how, between lessons in the art of the grape harvest, he discovered, explored, and savored the gustatory riches of Piemontese Italy. Along the way we meet the region's families and the many eccentric vintners, butchers, bakers, and restaurateurs who call Barolo home. Rich with details of real Italian small-town life, local foodstuffs, strange markets, and a circuslike atmosphere, Frank's story also offers a wealth of historical and culinary information, moments of flamboyance, and musings on foreign travel (and its many alien seductions), all filtered through food and wine.
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At once an intimate travelogue and a memoir of a culinary education, the book details the adventures of a not-so-innocent abroad in Barolo, a region known for its food and wine (also called Barolo).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 1. The Fewest Idiots 2. Dialing for Raffaella 3. The Boy Brings Me 4. Enough 5. Four Sips 6. All You Have to Do is Say, "Si" 7. Grape-Shaped Ball of Light 8. Between the Bell Beats 9. Red-Beard's Silent Deal 10. Dixieland Basement 11. Pruning 12. Follow the Steeple 13. Limbo on the Landscape 14. Slow 15. Halves 16. Luca Sandrone Enters Shakedown Street 17. Chandelier, Carpet, Mariuccia 18. Orange 19. The Bleary Music of Wineshop Franco 20. Breadstick Hydra 21. Raw Meat and Barry White 22. When She Draws It, She Draws It 23. The Unfinished 24. Trust the Pear 25. Italian Butcher Shop Blues 26. Instructions of Ercole 27. Laundry 28. The Other Side of Tonight 29. Billboards, Booths, and Cameras 30. Valentina and the First Taste 31. Six Barolos, Four Figs 32. From Barolo to Vinegar 33. The Truffle of the Barn 34. Sleeptasting 35. One More Song 36. Heroes and Villains Commune Over Ceci 37. Nightpicking 38. La Partenza della Filovia 39. The Dateless Label 40. Something Small to Tide Me Over 41. Late 42. He Was Right

About the Author

Matthew Gavin Frank worked for over fifteen years in the food and restaurant industry in positions ranging from dishwasher to sous-chef, server to sommelier, menu consultant to catering-business owner, farmhand to janitor. An assistant professor of creative writing at Northern Michigan University, he has published essays in Gastronomica, Creative Nonfiction, and Best Food Writing 2006 and is the author of Pot Farm (Nebraska, 2012).

Reviews

"A misfit in America, an unhappy cook in a series of second-rate restaurants, Frank seizes a chance to escape into a better world. We never learn how he first met Rafaella, or convinced her to let him pitch a tent behind Il Gioco dell"Oca, her bed-and-breakfast near Barolo. But there he is, struggling with minimal Italian, working the grape harvest with Luciano Sandrone, plunging headfirst into a world of mysterious, overwhelming sensations." Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator "Besides conveying the sensuality of the place, Frank offers insight into the region's history." Booklist "Aaahhh ... ! Here are all the joys of being young and exuberant and passionate and in love with women, and life, and better yet ... in Barolo. This remarkable and enchanting tale makes me want to set the clock back many years and to book passage to Italy and to the sips of the world's greatest wine, and to be inspired by all the things that make life such a wonderful journey! Kudos to Matthew Gavin Frank for reminding us what really makes life worth living!" Charlie Trotter, chef, author, and host of PBS's Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter "One swig of this book, and you're hooked". Napaman.com "If you love red wine, you'll love this book. And it's just as hard to put down this book as it is a glass of good red. This irresistible story takes you to the real Italy and its rich fragrant wine region where Barolo is made. I want to live in this book forever." Gale Gand, executive pastry chef and partner of Tru in Chicago and host of the Food Network's Sweet Dreams "In his memoir, Matthew Gavin Frank has truly captured the essence of this enticing region of Italy through his evocative descriptions of the landscape, the cuisine, the local characters, and his multifaceted experience with the Nebbiolo grape. This book transported me right back to Piemonte; wherever you are, as you read, you will start to smell the tartufo, the vineyards, the salumi, and of course the red wines of Barolo!" Belinda Chang, wine director at The Modern in New York City

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