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David St Vincent
Writer, editor and photographer-
scribbler, scrapper, snapper

Recent activities—National Geographic Food Journeys of a Lifetime


A Christmas 2009 bestseller for the National Geographic Society, Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe is one of the most enjoyable scribbling assignments to have kept me almost gainfully employed. Wok-like, it stir-fries three of my greatest passions: food, travel and writing. Or five, if you include fine Bordeaux wine and winter-busting Russian vodka, both probably not best served from a Chinese saucepan.

I was the main contributor to the book's Top Ten listings- -which some critics called the best part of this essential coffee-table adornment-and also covered Moscow (Russia), San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Budapest (Hungary), as well as helping to compile the outline for the book. Two of my lovely editors at Toucan Books Limited, which produced the book in London, were generous enough to write testimonials about my contribution.

Publisher's release

Few experiences are as satisfying as a chance to explore the world's great culinary traditions and landmarks-and here, in the latest title of our popular series of illustrated travel gift books, you'll find a fabulous itinerary of foods, dishes, markets, and restaurants worth traveling far and wide to savor. On the menu is the best of the best from all over the globe: Tokyo's freshest sushi; the spiciest Creole favorites in New Orleans; the finest vintages of the great French wineries; the juiciest cuts of beef in Argentina; and much, much more.

You'll sample the sophisticated dishes of fabled chefs and five-star restaurants, of course, but you'll also discover the simpler pleasures of the side-street cafés that cater to local people and the classic specialties that give each region a distinctive flavor.

Every cuisine tells a unique story about its countryside, climate, and culture, and in these pages you'll meet the men and women who transform nature's bounty into a thousand gustatory delights. Hundreds of appetizing full-color illustrations evoke an extraordinary range of tastes and cooking techniques; a wide selection of recipes invites you to create; sidebars give a wealth of information, while lively top ten lists cover topics from chocolate factories to champagne bars. And detailed practical travel information provides all the ingredients you'll need to cook up a truly delicious experience for even the most demanding of traveling gourmets.

My contribution to Food Journeys of a Lifetime

As well as helping to prepare the outline for the book, I wrote the following articles, all very little edited, for National Geographic Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe. National Geographic was also kind enough to pick one of my articles (Top Ten Great National Dishes) as the sole excerpt on Amazon and all but one of the six excerpts-on away.com. These are:

Top Ten Sea Views to Dine For

Blissful vistas, the crash of waves on the shore, and fresh, salty air to whet the appetite make these oceanside eateries a treat for all the senses.

Top Ten Literary Watering Holes

Many writers have used bars, pubs, or cafés as temporary or even permanent offices. Some remain haunts of writers, while others are merely haunted by their ghosts.

Top Ten Travelers' Restaurants

Although most travelers' restaurants are places for people on the go, some are destinations in their own right, offering excellent food in stylish surroundings.

Top Ten Street Markets

Scruffy and chaotic or orderly and refined, the world's street markets offer fresh, local-and often cheap-seasonal produce, alongside a slice of local life.

Top Ten Great National Dishes

Most countries have a favorite or national dish. Popular with residents and forming part of a country's identity, they are an essential experience for visitors.

Chapter 1: Specialties & Ingredients

Special foods from special places, fruits of the culinary landscape

Top Ten Food Factories & Museums

Many people have a passion for food and drink, and some have opened museums dedicated to their favorite. Many factories are also open to visitors. Most offer samples. (Skip to page 12 of book reader.)

Top Ten Great National Dishes

Most countries have a favorite or national dish. Popular with residents and forming part of a country's identity, they are an essential experience for visitors.

Chapter 2: Outstanding Markets

Journeys to the world's greatest food bazaars

Top Ten Historic Food Shops

In a world increasingly dominated by chains, a few august institutions rail magnificently against unwelcome progress.

Top Ten Old-Fashioned Candy Stores

Relive childhood pleasures as you take a retro-chic journey to shops lined with sherbet dips, flying saucers, and candy cigarettes.

Top Ten Street Markets

Scruffy and chaotic or orderly and refined, the world's street markets offer fresh, local-and often cheap-seasonal produce, alongside a slice of local life.

Chapter 3: Seasonal Delights

Regional gastronomic joys savored in their ripened perfection

Top Ten Kitchen Gardens

From spectacular botanical gardens to walled kitchen, what better way to enjoy local, seasonal produce than from the source?

Top Ten Saint's Day Feasts

Saint's day feasts have been occasions for celebration since the first millennium. Their religious symbolism may be vague nowadays, but the feasting continues.

Top Ten New Year's Feasts

December 31 is not the only chance to enjoy New Year's feasts. Although some celebrations are largely family events, tradition dictates hospitality to strangers. (Scroll down to Excerpt.)

Chapter 4: In the Kitchen

Learning the intimate secrets of the world's cuisines

Top Ten Culinary Surprises

Tuck into Welsh tea cakes in Argentina or Congolese fare in Brussels. Long-established minority communities in foreign lands can offer the best of both worlds when eating.

Top Ten The Original and Still the Best

Many dishes are of unknown or disputed origin; others wield a birth certificate. Here are a few that you can savor in the places where they became famous.

Chapter 5: Favorite Street Foods

Mouthwatering quick meals and snacks, from chili dogs to jerk pork

Top Ten Unusual Food & Drink Festivals

From eels to melons, rattlesnakes to cabbages, no food is too weird or too humble to have a festival in its honor. Many celebrations include parades, cook-offs, competitions, and races.

Chapter 6: Great Food Towns

From Paris to Hong Kong to Charleston, global hotspots of good eating

Top Ten Travelers' Restaurants

Although most travelers' restaurants are places for people on the go, some are destinations in their own right, offering excellent food in stylish surroundings.

San Juan's New Cuisine, Puerto Rico (pdf, 189 kB)

The city of San Juan, capital of Puerto Rico, is the center for a bold new fusion cuisine.

Top Ten Extreme Restaurants

Take dining out to a whole new level of experience with this eccentric selection of eateries worldwide.

Top Ten Chinatowns

Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares, and go Chinatown. For flavors, aromas, and Oriental escapism nothing beats it. If in doubt where to dine, follow where the Chinese go.

Top Ten Sea Views to Dine For

Blissful vistas, the crash of waves on the shore, and fresh, salty air to whet the appetite make these oceanside eateries a treat for all the senses.

Top Ten Historic Restaurants

Owing to their age, noble surroundings, or historic menus, these landmark restaurants have become venerable institutions, still drawing in successive generations of diners.

Chapter 7: Ultimate Luxuries

Once-in-a-lifetime gourmet treats

Moscow, Russia

Top chefs, the choicest ingredients, and lavish settings make Moscow's restaurants among the very best for opulent dining.

Top Ten Restaurants on Top of the World

For vertiginous views of cliffs, canyons, and cityscapes, these destinations will take you to new culinary heights in every sense of the word.

Chapter 8: The Best Wine, Beer, & More

All the glorious variety of the world's greatest drinks

Top Ten Literary Watering Holes

Many writers have used bars, pubs, or cafés as temporary or even permanent offices. Some remain haunts of writers, while others are merely haunted by their ghosts.

Top Ten Monastic Tipples

For centuries monks and nuns have brewed and distilled their own alcohol-much of rare quality and distinctive flavor.

Top Ten Wine Tours in France: Bordeaux, Gironde

From the vine-covered slopes of Alsace in the northeast to the wind-swept, craggy hills of Corbières in the southwest, the diverse French landscape offers a wine for every palate.

Chapter 9: Just Desserts

A sweet-lover's paradise of chocolate, pastries, and confectionary delights

Top Ten Places to Enjoy Café Society

Good conversation, coffee, cakes, and the chance to linger are the vital ingredients of café society. Take your pick of places to enjoy it.

Delicious Budapest, Hungary (pdf, 175 kB)

Sit back to enjoy coffee and cakes in the Hungarian capital's cafés, lavishly restored after years of communist neglect.

Top Ten Places to Try Death by Chocolate

From all-you-can-eat cocoa-driven buffets to Madrid's favorite late-night pick-me-up, here is our guide to chocoholic heaven.

Reviews

You can read some online reviews of National Geographic Food Journeys of a Lifetime here: The Washington Post, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Boston Globe, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Blogcritics, The Lost Girls, Suite101, Universal Hub, Outlook Traveller India, CBS News, 7 Books.

Where's the byline?

Although I don't have a byline for the articles above, you can find my name in the alphabetical list of author credits (skip to page 319 in the book reader).

Other recent activities

Some other projects have of late kept me either almost sane or insanely busy:

National Geographic Sacred Places of a Lifetime

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