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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Food Wine Burgundy based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
A mixed review for this book. It is remarkably informative with deep information. (therefore a 5 *) However, the structure is very frustrating. Maps are a great invention, somebody should introduce them to the author. (therefore a 1 *) Therefore, I find that I have to use the book along with another. In this book I may read about a place that is very interesting then have to pull out another book (or a map) to determine if it is practical to eat at the recommended place. Nonetheless, the information is remarkably deep. The opinions are -- well opinionated, very opinionated. However there is never any doubt where the author is coming from. If you love Burgundy, the food and the wine, you will love this book. If you have a casual passing interest, you will find this a frustrating book to use.
This is an amazing travel and food book, with so much research and passion in it that I don't know how the author survived. I admit up front that I have not been to Burgundy in several years, and that I bought the book to prepare for my next trip to France. I usually review books that I have "test driven" (though I hardly drive at all), but I can't help giving it a rave right off the bat. And I also admit that I am not a wine expert and rarely drink. But the title has "Food" in it, and "Burgundy," and those two were the main draws for me, plus the fact that I've bought Downie's two other Terroir Guides (to Rome and the Italian Riviera) and loved them. Just from the standpoint of armchair travel I can wholeheartedly recommend Food Wine Burgundy. The book is beautiful as an object, and the photography by Alison Harris (who has a great website, alisonharris.com) is outstanding. As in the couple's other Terroir Guides, the writing here is witty and wry, and I just love Downie's take on tourism, food, history and people. There's a critical edge, which is a relief after so many guides that seem to have been written by the local tourism office. This is definitely an insider's view (though it also lists the must-sees and must-does and must-tastes). I was furious but delighted to find that a couple of places I thought no one else knew, from way back, are still around, and are listed here (and probably nowhere else). The reviews seem spot-on to me. I'll give two examples from the Morvan, the part of Burgundy most people never see, even though it's green and beautiful (but has almost no wine, which is probably why...). The first is a restaurant called Le Vieux Morvan (in Chateau Chinon), where former French president Mitterrand used to hang out (beware, he was a socialist!). The second is L'Auberge Fleurie (in Chissey-en-Morvan), a hotel-restaurant lifted from some French novel of the 19th century, with fabulously old-fashioned but never heavy food. At least it seemed light to me, and that's why I fear returning, afflicted as I am by "the impossible lightness of eating" syndrome. I am saving my $ as of now so that when I visit Paris later this year I will have enough euros to get on a TGV and rent a car and explore the places Downie lists. A magnificent job.