22.12.19

GARLIC, MINT & SWEET BASIL, by Jean-Claude Izzo

Delightful! Deeply personal, sensuous, tasty essays about life, love, food, and the art of living by a native of Marseilles. The writer's love affair with the city and its culture makes this a must-read for anyone who plans to visit the area, and a delicious memory-teaser for those who have stopped in this ancient and bustling metropolis. I had just been in Marseilles the month before and mourned that I hadn't read this first.
But this is more than a mere travelogue by a gifted writer known for his evocation of Mediterranean life, or even a ruminations on food (although it's perfectly fine for that intent). It's an evocation of experiences by a writer who was intensely proud of his immigrant heritage (the Greeks in 1000BC were the first wave of immigrant settlers in the huge, perfect harbor) and delighted in its food and flavors. The essay on garlic is priceless, the tidbit on street markets brought me right back to the ones I had visited.
The perfect companion on a cold winter night: Marseilles sunshine and the scent of herbs will keep the cold wind in another realm.
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, Europe Editions, for an advance copy of this unique, richly-evocative book. It whisked me back to my too-short visit and has put Marseilles back on my next Mediterranean itinerary. The book is available for pre-order and will be published in July, 2020.

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