James Vasey – Cooking up a Country
When two worlds collide with a passion for cuisine.
For anyone who appreciates food, fine wine, history and travel, the latest edition of Cooking up a Country by James Vasey is an essential read. Vasey’s feelgood, lock-down antidote for foodies is an appetising addition to the world’s collection of contemporary romantic fiction. And, the first clue lies in its subtitle, Fiction for Foodies: An Italian journey to warm the heart and whet the appetite.
Like everyone’s best-kept secret recipe, Cooking up a Country is a gem of a book to be devoured by everyone. The two main protagonists (damaged and from different backgrounds) are drawn together by a shared passion for food and wine. Ben is a feckless but decent English academic escaping his past, while Alessandra is a talented, yet bitter, Italian chef. Their enchanting love story unfolds in the stunning surrounds of the ancient Principality of Seborga on the beautiful Italian Riviera. Vibrant descriptions and a captivating narrative breathe life into this charming tale of intrigue, politics, local cuisine and culture. When Ben discovers love he also finds loyalty and joins forces against a new wave of globalisation that threatens Alessandra’s family and the local food producers. Will Ben win Alessandra’s heart and a place in the heart of the community he seeks to protect?
Cooking up a Country is an artfully created romance with an ingenious mix of themes covering love, local traditions, anti-globalisation and ancient history: “…the scallop shell later became the symbol of the crusaders of the Order of the Knights of St James.”
Such nuggets of Italian and French historical knowledge, combining cuisine and culture, continue throughout the book: “Baking bread has the draw of a powerful magnet in most cultures…” and “…until as recently as the unification of Italy in the nineteenth century, Nice belonged to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia and so also retains many Italian-influenced foods, including rice and pasta.”
The fusion of food and travel transports readers to taste Seborga and beyond: “…one could find menus containing couscous, tagine-like aromatic stews and spicy kebabs alongside well-known French dishes.”
The author is clearly a food connoisseur and his specialities are spelt out in each Chapter’s title. There is a moral message too, promoting the importance of sustainable food production which emerges in Ben’s resistance against the wealthier Monaco community and Ben’s defence of Seborga’s artisan producers.
Like a slow-cooked tagine, Cooking up a Country is a wonderful story which has been lovingly prepared and penned like an unrivalled three-course meal. It is an inspiring read with the perfect ingredients for a winning work of romantic fiction.
Review copies of Cooking up a Country by James Vasey
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“Cooking up a Country has something for everyone. Culture, traditions, love interest, history and exceptional descriptions of landscapes and scenery. Added bonus of local recipes to get a real taste of Seborga. I was totally transported.”
“Cooking so good I could smell it…”
“I swear I could smell that focaccia!”
About the Author
A former regional magazine editor, entrepreneur and university lecturer, James is now an author who divides his time between homes in Northumberland and Liguria, Italy. Born in County Durham, James obtained an MBA at Teesside University. You can find out more about James on his Facebook page. For a
video synopsis, please click here.
Amazon: Paperback £9.99 Kindle £0.99
First published: 2018
Price: £8.99 and on Kindle for £0.99