From Publishers Weekly A superbly photographed compendium, this newest in the Culinaria series explores the pleasures of the French table. Having consulted with a myriad of food and drink experts--alongside top chefs, gardeners, farmers, cheese makers and vintners--editor Domin and photographer Beer capture the essence of regional culinary traditions. Organized into 12 gastronomic provinces, the book features foods, condiments, confections, wines, spirits and liqueurs indigenous to each region. Lavishly illustrated historical sketches and sidebars expound upon French staples--baguettes (Paris), oysters (Poitou, Charentes, Limousin) and champagne (Champagne, Lorraine, Alsace)--as well as such coveted delicacies as andouillettes (chitterling pork sausage). Discussions on livestock breeding, hunting, fishing, butchery and vineyards illustrate how each region best capitalizes on its natural resources. Readers also learn about lesser known regional specialties, including Orl ans vinegar from the Loire Valley, premium Echir butter from the Poitou and Charentes region and C vennes honey made from chestnut blossoms. Incorporating local and seasonal ingredients, the recipes highlight such regional cookery as Coq Au Vin de Bourgogne, Macaronis et Truffles d'Ici (chicken cooked in Burgundy wine with macaroni and local truffles) and Bas Rond de Lapin la Gaillarde (braised rabbit, Brive-style). Tapping into a splendidly varied gastronomic landscape, this cookbook is an erudite reference that goes beyond coffee-table prettiness. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.