Matthew Gavin Frank Reads From Barolo

Sep ’10
7:00 pm


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). 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, and musings on foreign travel, all filtered through food and wine.

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. A visiting assistant professor of writing at Grand Valley State University, he has published essays in Gastronomica, Creative Nonfiction, and Best Food Writing 2006.

“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 The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter

“Suddenly you are in Italy, suddenly you are in love, suddenly you are picking the delicate Nebbiolo grape under a burning sun—and in a moment Matthew Gavin Frank has captured your unwavering attention, with a firm grasp that continues for all three hundred pages of this delightful and incisive book.”—Lee Gutkind, editor of Creative Nonfiction magazine and author of Almost Human: Making Robots Think

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