Monday, September 09, 2013

The Food of Love Cookery School – Nicky Pellegrino – reviewed by The Bookman on Radio New Zealand National

This is Nicky Pellegrino’s seventh novel and I reckon it is her best yet. All her titles have been popular and successful with sales growing for each successive title but my pick is that this one will outstrip sales of the previous books.

Although free-lance journalist and writer Pellegrino resides in NZ she is published in the UK by Orion Publishing which is a division of the Hachette Group.

Her books are all set largely in Italy and this one is no exception being set in the Sicilian mountain town of Favio. Four women ranging age from 30 to 65, two from the UK, one from the US and one from Australia arrive in Fabio to attend a live-in one week cooking course From England there is Moll who is passionate about food, and Tricia, a successful divorce lawyer. From New York is Valerie, the eldest, and from Sydney comes Poppy, the youngest who is making her first visit to Italy and will eat anything but offal.

The Food of Love Cookery School has been owned and operated for over 10 years by Luca Amore. Generations of his family have cooked in this kitchen  at the top of Favio’s steepest flight of steps but now his grandparents have gone and the place is his. To him cooking is a joy and he loves his job.

In her acknowledgements at the back of the book the author says : 
When I wrote this novel I wanted the reader to feel like the fifth person on holiday with Poppy, Tricia, Valerie and Moll. Although the story and its characters are fictional, the good news is that it it’s possible to go to the cooking school that inspired me. At Love Sicily ( in the beautiful town of Modica, I had the best ever research trip and my thanks are due to Katia Amore (how could I resist that surname !) and her helpers Angelo and Pinurcha. Thanks also to the new friends I made there – Hillary, Sally & Maureen”.

 So we know then that the Food of Love Cookery School is based on a real cookery school. This is a novel that foodies in particular will enjoy because it contains a huge amount about food, recipes, flavour  and of course the preparation and eating of the food that Luca teaches the women to make. And as a bonus there are several detailed recipes with instructions at the end of the book for readers to try for themselves.

I guess this is a book particularly for women readers but I have to say that I really enjoyed it – you get to know very well each of the principal characters and the issues in their lives and why they are attending the school. Each of the women tell their own story as does Luca, I thought this a good technique employed by the author.

The story is compelling and often heart-warming, it is a story of love, romance and friendship and of course a story of delicious food, not just dishes they made and ate at the school but also the meals they enjoyed and the wine they drank on their various day trips. A mouthwatering novel.

About the author 

When Nicky Pellegrino's Italian father came to England he fell in love with and married a Liverpool girl. He brought to his new family his passion for food and instilled in them what all Italians know - that you live to eat instead of eating to live. This Italian mantra is the inspiration behind Nicky's delicious novels. Every summer the family left their home in Merseyside and returned to her father's home town, near Naples, in southern Italy. 
When Nicky met and married a New Zealander she moved to Auckland where she works as a journalist and edits a woman's magazine. She hoards her annual leave so that she and her husband can return to Italy to meet up with her family and to eat the best mozzarella and research her books. Author photo - NZ Herald.

Previous Books: Delicious, When in Rome, The Food of Love Cookery School, Recipe for Life, The Italian Wedding, The Villa Girls

The Food of Love Cookery School
Orion - $36.99

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