Friday, 29 May 2009

Living the Dolce Vita

I knew from the moment that I opened the envelope that this was a book I was going to enjoy, it combines travel writing with recipes and comes in a stunning looking package.

Bored with their current lives in Los Angles and looking for the next challenge Jason and Cathy find themselves deciding to relocate to Italy in order to run a olive grove after taking part in an olive oil tasting session at a Californian delicatessen.

As with 99% of re-locations it didn't go entirely smoothly. Everything seemed to move more slowly than the couple realised, from finding the perfect location right through to renovating the dream house once it was chosen. Italian builders and bureaucracy tried to derail the project and the suprise (but welcome) addition of a baby altered the plans still further.

Jason and Cathy quickly realised that looking after an olive grove was going to be more hard work and more costly than they had imagined at first, but rather than throw the towel in they hit on a wonderful idea to finance their dream: adoption.
Maps of the olive grove were drawn up listing each individual tree and then people were given the chance to pick their own tree to adopt. To make this even more special Cathy and Jason decided that as well as sponsoring a tree the produce from each tree would be sent to the adopter and so Nudo was born.

What I liked so much about this book was the positivity, even when everything seems to be going wrong for the entrepreneurs they remain hopeful and look for alternative solutions. They were more lucky than many who relocate as they had time, some money and also connections to start promoting their business but what shines through is their optimism and enthusiasm. The story is full of ups and downs and if something could go wrong is did seem to, but the couple deservedly win through.

The writing style of this book makes it easy to read, either all in one go or slowly dipping in and out. The writing is full of humour and self-deprication and is split up with beautiful photos and delicious sounding recipes. I haven't yet cooked anything from the book but the way my mouth watered as I read the book I know I will be trying to recreate the dolce vita in my Norfolk kitchen very soon.

My only problem with this book is where to shelve it, should it live in the kitchen with the cookbook or in the dining room with the travel books?

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