Frances Rivetti

She lives in an old gold-mine era town in California, in the heart of wine country, as far from her native England as one could imagine, giving her a wonderful perspective. Frances Rivetti has written an excellent book – Fog Valley Crush, that can only be described as one of the best new books of the year out of the Golden State.

Her book is an enticing, delightful love letter to a small region of Sonoma and western Marin counties which she describes as “the tastiest place on earth”.  Rivetti, who married a Neapolitan who lived in Britain for a while emigrated to the foggy coast of Sonoma with her husband to become a Californian Italian Mama, and an aficionado of food, wine and local culture.  Far from her youthful roots as a provincial journalist in Britain, today, Frances has become an authority on the gastronomy and viticulture of a land 5240 miles from home.

The micro-region Frances embraced in her life and her book is indeed a gourmand’s immoveable feast, with gastronomic creativity, wines of world-class stature, and innovation at every turn.  Her home in Petaluma, is not too far from the magnificent vineyards, fabulous restaurants of Sonoma and Napa, but a far cry from the humble, bland gastronomy of East Anglia.

Frances offers us insights few ever think about or discuss in terms of California’s wine country, along with lovely recipes (a few we’ve tried) that deliver incredible comfort to the palate.  Her husband Timo and family have successfully adapted to California, and she writes most eloquently of her transition of a young journalist to a sophisticated gourmand and impeccable Italian culinary credentials.

We highly recommend this exceptional book and assure all that you’ll love it as much as we did. It’s a flavorful romp through the part of California most like Tuscany, and a pleasant passage from one culture to another. A must read book that everyone who loves food, wine, England and Italy should read.

One sunny, cold day, while joining Lord and Lady Bradford for brunch in New York, I had the pleasure of meeting Frances at Tea and Sympathy, one of the best little English restaurants in the Big Apple.  She was there with a group of English and American friends enjoying a taste of good British fare.

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