A LITTLE FOOD FLIGHT READING
THEBigRedWine Book by Campbell Mattinson (Hardie Grant Books, $24.95) reviews and rates more than 1000 Australian reds, from shiraz to Italian and Spanish varietals and blends. Mattinson says our reds have never been more diverse or interesting, so there’s never been a better time to explore them. He has won awards for his wine writing, including for his 2006 biography of Hunter Valley winemaker Maurice O’Shea ( WineHunter:TheManWhoChanged AustralianWine). Travel&Indulgence’s wine guru James Halliday found this book ‘‘ one of the most remarkable wine books’’ he’d seen. So obviously Mattinson can communicate.
He says there are two kinds of reviews: a comment on quality and a description of the wine in words. The comment is important because it lets readers know whether the writer thinks the wine is good or not. The description, ‘‘ the flowery ‘ onion cake dipped in liquefied plums’ malarkey’’, is also crucial for conveying an idea of flavours, so readers can decide what they might like. Mattinson does both. He gives price, region, value, score and auction value, where applicable, for investors. There are summary lists such as the top 100 at $20 or less, a very useful glossary of terms and winery contact details. THEFairtradeEverydayCookbook, Fairtrade Foundation (Dorling Kindersley-Penguin, $39.95), is a Britain-centric book in that its reference point is the English Fairtrade movement and its list of useful addresses of (English) supermarkets and other food outlets for Fairtrade goods is less than useful to Australian readers. Was it not possible to insert address lists, at least, relevant to this market? Or the Australian Fairtrade association’s website (www.fairtrade.com.au)? Apart from this quite large irritation, many of the recipes are excellent, ranging from tagines and kedgerees, Japanese-style duck breast and orange Cuban chicken to salads and sorbets. You’ll just need to do your own research on which Fairtrade products are available locally and where. Judith Elen