A range of food and drink books from publishers including Bloomsbury, Phaidon and Quiller Publishing have been shortlisted for the André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards.
According to the panel of judges, the shortlist showcases the best of contemporary food and drink writing and was selected from more than 150 submissions. The panel was guided by this year’s independent assessors, journalist Rachel Cooke and wine expert for "The Wine Show", Joe Fattorini.
Shortlisted for the food award are Lisboeta by internationally renowned chef Nuno Mendes (Bloomsbury); The Case Against Sugar by best-selling author Gary Taubes (Portobello) and The Meaning of Rice (Jonathan Cape), an "often hilarious, yet deeply researched" book where food and travel writer Michael Booth and his family embark on a journey the length of Japan to explore its food culture.
Also shortlisted are The Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis (Phaidon) which unveils more than 100 recipes and provides a "rare insight" into the heart of the Palestinian family kitchen; Gather Cook Feast by Jessica Seaton and Anna Colqhoun (Fig Tree) which celebrates the connection between the food that we eat and the landscapes that produce it. The Sportsman, the debut food book by self-taught chef Stephen Harris (Phaidon), has also made the cut.
Cooke said she was "amazed by the sheer quantity of very good food books that were published this year, so many well written and beautifully produced titles". She added: "It is slightly dispiriting that publishers appear still to be in thrall to such trends as clean eating, but completely thrilling that they are willing to back those who want to write learnedly and inspiringly about, say, the food of Georgia or Palestine, about the culture of rice in Japan, about the grave threat sugar presents to our health. Thanks to this, judging was a pleasure."
Two champagne-themed books are up for the drink award, including Bursting Bubbles by Robert Walters (Quiller), which provides an alternative history of champagne and its greatest growers, and Champagne by Peter Liem (Mitchell Beazley) which features an extensive list of growers and vintners from the French region, based on six years of on-the-ground research, both in contention.
Also up for the drink award are Pete Brown, for Miracle Brew, an exploration of beer; Thad Vogler, for By The Smoke and The Smell (Ten Speed Press), in which the author celebrates small-scale distilleries and explains where the spirits come from, who makes them and at what cost; and Victoria Moore’s Wine Dine Dictionary (Granta), a handbook designed to help pick the perfect bottle of wine for dinner.
Dave Broom rounds out the shortlist with his book The Way of Whisky (Mitchell Beazley) which tells the story of some of Japan's best whiskies.
Fattorini said that the shortlisted books reflect the "eclectic, cosmopolitan way people drink today" with explorations of wine, beer, whiskies, cocktails and Champagne. "The quality of the writing was so high that many of these books won’t just appeal to drinks fans; they will captivate anyone who wants a fascinating read", he said. "The best books told intensely personal stories that brought together a deep knowledge of the drinks with the emotions of the author and the people they meet."
For the winner of each category there will be an award of £2,000. In addition, there will be an award of £1,500 in honour of John Avery and the Special Commendation Award of £1,500.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Goring Hotel in London on Monday 12th February.