THE FOOD LOVER'S GUIDE TO FRANCE by Patricia Wells

THE FOOD LOVER'S GUIDE TO FRANCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Admirers of Wells' The Food Lover's Guide to Paris will again find neatly packaged ""service"" information for travelers, handed out with practiced vivacity and occasional astuteness. Under 17 headings (for major regions of France, from Champagne to the pays basque), cities and villages of interest are listed in alphabetical order. Individual entries under each location are further grouped by category (""Restaurant,"" ""Confiserie,"" ""Boulangerie""), with addresses and phone numbers, hours of service, etc. Sidebars supply general travel information, lists of produce markets and seasonal fairs, the odd recipe (60 in all), and brief guides to local cheeses or mini-essays on regional treasures (e.g., Languedoc anchovies, Basque hot peppers). Within an economical compass, Wells skillfully provides a tremendous amount of carefully researched information for globe-trotting foodies in search of authorized cachet. Her stated aim is to deal with present realities rather than extinct glories. She does not try to survey regional cuisines in their traditional scope (for that, stick to Waverley Root's The Food of France). She frankly selects what she is interested in--which tends to be either sweet or trendy. The indexes are skimpy and uninformative, the photographs pleasantly undistinguished. Wells' writing rarely rises above cheerful burble. The real sharpness of her eye becomes clear in an introductory discussion of the forces for change that are bringing Hungarian foie gras to French restaurants. All told: tidy, professional, well-gauged, and now and then just a little more.

Pub Date: June 20th, 1987
Publisher: Workman