Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons, By Matthew Fort

In 1973, Fort ate a plate of sausages in Sicily. There were only two, but "they tasted more of sausage than any sausage I have ever eaten, firm, juicy, salty and sweet."

Then, 33 years later, he continued his southern snack by touring this well-baked island on a scooter.

The result is the finest book on this fascinating cuisine since Peter Robb's Midnight in Sicily. From pasta ("redder than a cardinal's hat, redder than poppies") to pudding (the creamy confection known as cannolo is "a tsunami of sweetness, sweetness piled on sweetness... hallucinatory, luxurious and heady)", Fort fills your mind with delicious images and your mouth with saliva.

Obligatory holiday reading for anyone heading for Sicily, this book's only flaw is the lack of an index. The omission is particularly annoying since Fort punctuates his book with recipes.