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Dear Alfonso by Mary Contini

Dear Alfonso

Biography / Autobiography   Cookery, Food and Drink   

RRP £17.99

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This is the story of the author’s father-in-law, Carlo Contini, and her father, Alfonso, but predominantly it is Carlo’s story. Born into a large Italian family living just outside Naples, we are told of his poverty stricken but mostly happy childhood, then the horrible deprivations of the war and on into peace where Carlo joins the police special forces. He’s sent by his employers to Edinburgh to learn English. Interspersing his story is that of a Scottish based Italian community in East Lothian. While in Edinburgh Carlo meets Olivia, the daughter of an Italian delicatessen owner and they fall in love. Olivia’s brother, Vittorio, is despatched to Italy to check on Carlo’s family where we learn of some deep-buried secret but it is not revealed to Vittorio and so the wedding is able to take place. Carlo remains in Edinburgh and helps build the family business which flourishes today as Valvona and Crolla, a renowned delicatessen, restaurant and wine merchant. The warmth and charm of these Italian families radiates from the pages. The author has a light touch, neither maudlin nor sentimental which makes for a delightful book with the added bonus of a smattering of mouth-watering Italian recipes. ~ Sarah Broadhurst


Dear Alfonso by Mary Contini

Following the successful publication of Dear Francesca and Dear Olivia, bestselling author, Mary Contini picks up the thread of her family story from 1934 in Pozzuoli, Naples, following the commercial success of the family business - Edinburgh's acclaimed Valvona & Crolla - and the Dolce Vita of parent's generation. With her inimitable style she shares stories of exuberant family relationships, mouth-watering food and hilarious laughter, painting a vivid picture of life in wartime Italy and Scotland and the decades immediately after.

About the Author

Mary Contini grew up in East Lothian above her family's Italian cafe. She is the bestselling author of numerous books about Italian life and cooking, including Dear Francesca, Dear Olivia, Valvona & Crolla: A Year at an Italian Table and The Italian Sausage Bible. She is a Director of Valvona & Crolla, the renowned Edinburgh delicatessen, restaurant and cookery school.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th September 2017


Mary Contini

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Birlinn Ltd an imprint of Birlinn General


288 pages


Biography / Autobiography
Cookery, Food and Drink

Biography: general
Cookery / food & drink etc



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