Culinaria France (book review)...

"Culinaria France"
by Gunter Beer

Paperback (468 pages)

Chapters:  Foreword, Paris & Ile-de-France, Champagne & Lorraine & Alsace, Nord-Pas de Calais & Picardy & Normandy & Brittany, The Loire Valey & Central France, Burgundy & Franche-Comte, Lyon & Rhone-Alpes, Poitou-Charantes & Limousin, Bordeaux & Perigord & Gascony & Pays Basque, Toulousain & Quercy & Aveyron & Auvergne, Rousillon & Languedoc & Les Cavennes, Provence & Cote d'Azur, Corsica.

This isn't a cook book as we know it - it's more than that. Culinaria has created a whole series, so you can find not only France, but other countries like Spain, Greece, Russia, Canada, Italy etc. ... It's a book about a specific country, but looking at it from the "kitchen's" point of view ;) Culinaria tells a story, a story of how each region of given country was 'created' by it's food. How life is still surrounded by local produce, regional traditional cuisine and it's people - people with, sometimes disappearing, professions in food industry.

Culinaria France is my personal favourite (I have few other books from this series). It takes you on a journey throughout all of the French regions and its special dishes. In Normandy and Brittany we have Calvados, Galettes and Andouille de Vire. In Provence and Cote D'Azur we have Pastis, Truffles and Calissons D'Aix. Author didn't forget about Corsica either, with its famous fish dishes, local spirits and brocciu. There's also a whole chapter devoted to Paris - famous Parisian breakfast, coffee, patisserie and Paris' grand hotels.
If you're a wine lover you'll find a detailed information about wine in each region, its specific taste, history and today's vineyards. And of course what goes well with the wine - cheese, on which you will learn a lot - again, throughout a journey from one region to another. All together there are somewhere around 400 French cheeses, so there's lot to learn and eat!

As it is a book about food, there are some recipes, followed by beautiful photos, but not a lot of them. It's not a cookbook as such, so if you're looking for a bare collection of recipes - it's not a book for you. This is more of a tale, introduction to a world of French food.

If you're passionate about a particular country or region of the world, I think that 'Culinaria' books will be a perfect start to learn about that country's cuisine. I think that 'Culinaria' will be also a great present for some passionate foodie/traveller.

About the author:
Günter Beer lives and works in Barcelona, Spain. He is a photographer, journalist and chronicler. Germany's most well- known food magazine, DER FEINSCHMECKER ("The Gourmet") writes that "his life reads like an adventure novel."
In 1982, he accompanied Joseph Beuys on a project called 7000 Eichen ("7000 Oaks"). He worked as a journalist in Rio de Janeiro for Jornal do Brasil, and reported on the civil war in Nicaragua crossing back and forth between the Sandinistas and the Contras.
Günter Beer sat in the mud with Venezuelan gold panners, he published the latest news from US military laboratories, took fashion photographs in Mexico, Majorca and atop the Matterhorn.
For Könemann Verlag in 1994 he photographed 255 culinary specialities from all over Europe in 180 days. His work has since focused on more than 20 international cookbooks. - by