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In 1968, at the age of 10, a child Robert who came from America “tasted” Italian life for the first time, spending his summer in Vico Equense, the city of origin of his maternal family, surrounded by relatives in the family restaurant on the sea, and forever falling in love with the way of life, rhythms, flavors and aromas of Southern Italy. Fifty years later, he returns to the tracks of his family: the place of his childhood is no longer there and Vico has changed a lot, for the fame of its beaches, and the birth of many hotels and restaurants that attract more and more foreign tourists. But looking in depth, the beauty, good food, family ties and simplicity, convince the adult Robert, today one of the most famous wine writers in the world, that the spirit of the place has not changed and that he can still lead there. a lifestyle of yesteryear. It is the autobiographical story that Robert V. Camuto, correspondent from Italy for “Wine Spectator”, tells in his latest volume, forthcoming, “South of Somewhere: Wine, Food, and the Soul of Italy”, a travel story in the territories of the most important wine of southern Italy that begins and ends in Vico Equense, city of the maternal grandmother of the American writer, a small “Paradise on earth” in the Sorrento Peninsula.
After all, it is also the ability to bring memory back in time and keep a memory, which makes us love wine so much too. “Absolutely yes – Camuto tells WineNews – I have many memories of my first time in Vico Equense with my grandmother, and among these there are also the aromas and flavors of Southern Italy and the Mediterranean. Today, when I taste a wine from those territories, I recognize the scents of the sea and the flavors of the coast, but also many of my memories “. Territories that, according to the wine writer, “are experiencing a good time. The “Renaissance” of Italian wine began in the North, 35 years ago, and slowly arrived in the South. Today good wines can be produced in many territories, but excellent grapes have been grown in southern Italy since ancient times. The last generations have managed to make the terroir and all their quality express the best in their wines. No other territory has the incredible variety of tastes and aromas like Southern Italy. A “magic” that is found in the glass “.
Today, Vico Equense is also a real “epicenter” of haute cuisine and products of Campania, thanks to starred chefs such as Gennarino Esposito and his restaurant Torre del Saracino, which, with the author, shares the roots in “Pearl” of the Sorrento Peninsula, but not only. Because his family is linked, through the restaurant when he was a child, to that of Vittoria Aiello, a great chef and pastry chef daughter of art, and the “other half” of the Torre del Saracino.
The spirit of which the author speaks (who, in the prestigious US magazine “Wine Spectator”, dedicated an article in the lockdown to the situation of our country hit by the Covid emergency, “Italian life in a Dark Hour”, life in Italy in a dark hour, “an entire country closed due to the pandemic. What do you need? Strong nerves, and perhaps an excellent glass of wine …”, inviting you to consume wine and Italian products, ed) finds himself in a series of ” portraits “far from the objective descriptions that too often characterize the world of wine, and in a Campania that becomes the starting point to tell in the volume the richness of viticulture in Southern Italy, from the Punta dello Stivale in Calabria to Etna, from the earthquake-hit territories of Abruzzo to Puglia, from Umbria “of the Popes” to Rome ancient, from the Amalfi Coast to the Vulture in Basilicata. So many portraits that in the volume (University of Nebraska Press editions, 1 October 2021, pp. 280, in English, cover price $ 24.95) become one: that of Southern Italy, a land of great wines and fascinating territories, ancient products and exceptional raw materials, and places of incredible beauty, which, despite its “evils” and its contradictions, retain all its charm, also seen by eyes of a child.
“It is important to know how to tell and communicate all this – explains Camuto – but you need the right people at the right time. So it was, for example, for Etna where, at the beginning of the 2000s, the presence and know-how of Sicilian producers, who arrived from other territories in Italy but also in Europe, was concentrated and managed to create a very powerful image of the territory that brought him to the fore. But this is also happening in other Italian territories, such as Vulture, Abruzzo and Campania. But it takes time, you have to tell and tell, to ensure that people come to visit these places and touch our stories “.
The volume will be presented by the author on October 18 at the Rizzoli Bookstore in New York, followed, Camuto concludes, “the first of a series of dinners, with dream wines”.

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Marco Ribaudo

Marco Ribaudo

For the love of food and wine! Marco Ribaudo, Certified Sommelier, with 25 years in the food and beverage industry now invites you to join him in his latest adventure, the opening of la Cucina del Vino to share his culture and passion for creating unforgettable memories around the table.

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