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3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Florence, 1466. A lust for life, a passion for power and a taste for adventure...

In Florence, everyone has a passion. With sixty thousand souls crammed into a cobweb of clattering streets, countless alleys, cloisters and churches, they live their lives in the narrow world between walls. Nino Latini knows that if you want to survive without losing yourself completely, you'v
Paperback, 544 pages
Published May 9th 2013 by Orion
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Chocolat by Joanne HarrisLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelThe Joy Luck Club by Amy TanFriendship Bread by Darien GeeThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Best Food Fiction
28th out of 46 books — 37 voters
Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli BrownLives of Notorious Cooks by Brendan ConnellCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Flavorwire's 50 Essential Novels for Foodies
48th out of 49 books — 38 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 501)
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Rebecca Foster
Kazan’s first novel is a luscious feast for the imagination set in late 15th-century Florence. Nino Latini has inherited his twin passions for food and art from his butcher father and his uncle, painter Filippo Lippi. As the story opens in 1466, 14-year-old Nino has just lost his mother, but he remembers her smell. Every smell, every taste calls to mind the people and places he loves. As the years pass Nino becomes an illustrious chef, creating elaborate allegorical banquets for the de’ Medicis, ...more
An exquisitely evocative, atmospheric masterpiece that ensnares the senses and illuminates the mind.

Refreshingly inspired and acutely perceptive, Philip Kazan brings 1400’s Florence vividly to life with such vibrancy, color and dexterity. Flawlessly capturing the sensuality of the times, intense passion and obsession with fine art and mouthwatering food. Delectable, piquant and compelling this undeniably impressive novel is one of such ambitious scope and awe-inspiring substance. Amid the Flore
Jo Barton
Set against the glorious backdrop of renaissance Italy, this disturbingly addictive story is as enticing as the most sumptuous of banquets, and will sweep you far away from the commonplace, and into the dark and dirty world of human excess and scintillating debauchery.
Nino Latino has an instinctive passion for creating food, and this rare culinary skill, takes him far away from his father’s butcher’s shop in the back streets of Florence, and hurtles him towards the luxurious world of the Medici
Graham Crawford
I hope no one from my work looks at Goodreads as I started this wonderful book on Thursday night and phoned in sick Friday just so I could finish it. It's hard to believe that this is Kazan's first novel it's so well crafted. The prose is deceptively simple and well paced. The first person narrator tells us his skill is not with words - but there is obviously a very sharp mind behind the text. It comes through in the letters and dialogue from the other characters. This author really knows how to ...more

I was interested to see how the idea of the Perfume by Suskind is developed with food. The setting is good, there are some good historical and romantic aspects of it. However it was slow to read, nothing to actually pull you in it. I often skipped paragraphs of long food descriptions, they were just boring. The style of writing was not appealing to me, therefore I did not finish the whole book.

Also a major note to the publishers - is the missing translations of words and phrases in Italian. For
Wow, what an annoying character. Nino needs to grow up and suck it up and stop being so stupid.
I guess that's a little harsh but he just grated on my nerves and my enjoyment of the book obviously suffered because of it.
Marianna Pap
Best book I've read in a while. Like me, anyone who's ever left home and tried to find the flavours of their distant homeland will find a great travelling and dining companion in Nino Latini.
Appetite can be for food, power, money, love or a multitude of other things. Nino, a butcher's son, born in Renaissance Florence, has a rare gift for taste that he uses to effect in the kitchens of some of the most powerful figures of his time in Florence and Rome, ultimately creating a banquet for the Pope himself.

The story takes the reader on a romp through the kitchens, brothels and back streets of Florence, Rome and Assisi, in the quest for extravagant feasts and forbidden love. Don't take
I loved this book, the descriptive language which Kazan uses creates the most beautiful images which make Florence and all the food comes alive. You feel as if you are experiencing the rich and lavish dishes which are being created for yourself. Kazan’s descriptions are so good that when he is describing the rather more unpleasant side of Renaissance Florence I did want to heave at one point.

Nino was not the most appealing character to me, as he does come across as very arrogant, self-important
Originally reviewed at

If a book can make a recipe for tripe sound appetising then that is a testament to the author’s skill as a writer.

To my knowledge I’ve never eaten tripe. However I’ve found a compelling argument that it tastes wonderful, especially, according to Philip Kazan, if you scrub it “diligently”, cook it with “a handful of fresh sage leaves” and finally add secret intangible Florentine ingredient…

I decided to try Appetite upon the strength of ma
I couldn't finish this book. I honestly forced myself through about a hundred pages and could only read maybe 10 pages each time I sat down, it was that stretched out and boring.

I found the premise to be very intriguing and it reminded me of Perfume by Patrick Suskind which I'd read and fallen in love with some months earlier. So, when I saw this one, I thought it would be something like Perfume. I was proven quite wrong.

I had an issue with how much description there was. Normally I'm the kind o
From even just the description, it seems pretty clear that the author of Appetite was trying to do a taste version of Perfume, but with a heroic main character rather than a villain... However this didn't really come off as Nino seems a pretty horrible person and his whole love interest thang doesn't have any apparent reason for carrying on for so long given so little impetus. Even apart from that, I am fully aware that this was really not a great book - okish writing style but characters acted ...more
Amazingly crafted story! Kazan puts this story together like ingredients in a dish that has been eagerly anticipated! The rward is in the reading. I read this book in three days. If you like cooking, historical fiction and a good, well researched story, this book is for you.

Enjoy this book with a good glass of wine within reach. It is a masterpiece.
I liked Appetite very much but I didn't get the same feeling as I had while reading Perfume as it promised.

Also the name of the main character wasn't as Original as that of Perfumes main character, but that's not a reason to dislike a book.
I liked the story of a young butcher's son who had a gift for cooking, and got famous with it in the higher circles.
He even cooked for his pope, what would be a great honour.

The main story line I also find very nice to read, a love story may be not very Origin
My new top favorite. Food, Italy, Florence, Love and Conflict. A brilliant first novel by Kazan. I hope there will be more. My favorite quote:
'I've never touched a coin, ' she said proudly. 'What good would money do me, eh?'
'When you go to market ... to sell your incredible cheese,' I said. 'You must sell cheese, surely?'
'If I sold it, what would we eat, my girls and me? I'd have a hard time chewing silver.' She opened her mouth, revealing gums planted here and there with brown, crooked teeth.
There are many good books about Reneissance Italy at the time of Mediccies and Borgias. Some of them much better books about this period of history, my favourite are the ones by Sarah Dunant. In Appetite the author tried to fill the story with well known names - Leonardo, Boticcelli, Lippi and others. But they did not play much roles in the story. The book is dedicated to food and history. Food is the main character, through different recipes the hero changes, grows and comes into his own. Food ...more
A mammoth read,full of Italian words and history.
A bit long winded in places, but any lover of food, Florence and history will enjoy the sufferings of the main character, Nino.
I only got through 1/4 of the book. I found it slow, boring, no purpose, nothing to pull me in and keep me there.
after 50 pages I had lost the will to live, but carried on as it was my book club read, there were bits I really enjoyed and felt it could have been a good story if areas of it were not so boring.
Some well-known names crop up in this book set in the Florence of the Medici. The major presence of this novel, though, is food and the sensory experience of taste. Taste is a heightened sense for Nino and the reader follows his culinary career. Nino's other great passion is Tessina and her presence, if intermittent, is as essential as the food. Wonderfully, though brutally, descriptive-this lengthy book is probably not one for the vegetarian but does provide an intriguing insight into fifteenth ...more
This was a rather interesting read, but not a must read & would not recommend it. I was reminded of another book I'd recently read 'The Perfume Collector' by Kathleen Tessaro were the main characters used their heightened sensors to determine the nature, ingredients & essence of their products, perfume or food. I did find Phillip Kazan's writing just lacking in depth and it was very easy to put the book down & not be dieing to get back to it
I did enjoy this, but it took me ages to read - usually I can just gallop through. And I've already forgotten how it ended, even though particular scenes and moments I remember vividly.
This book was not what I was expecting. I went in expecting some sort of erotica spin on feederism. What this book is is escapism of a different kind. It is a beautiful read and I found it relating very close to home as Nino came of age. I might have got more out of this book if I was interested in the time period of the book. It was still a good read though.
Ellen Norris
Excellent ideas and characters. It lagged from time to time but finished very well.
Интересна разходка из кухните във Флоренция и Рим през 15ти век. Много подробности относно вкусовете на това отдавна преминало време, но с ястия, които са останали и до днес. Реални исторически събития и любовна история водят главния герой от Флоренция до Рим. Приятна е за четене, но на моменти е доста мудна и дразнеща.
If you want to read a book that revolves around food and paints a picture so vivid you can almost smell what is being cooked then read John Saturnells Feast instead. This book was good, the introduction of famous renaissance characters was entertaining and yet I found the description of the food some how flat.
Sarah Hartley
a delight on the senses.The book starts with the story of a young boy called Nino and his childhood friend Tessina. it's based in Italy in the 15th century.I liked the mix of cultural, historical and romantic aspects to the story.
The descriptions of Florentine cooking are scrumptious and by far the best part of the book. There's not a whole lot of plot going on here so it drags in places, but it's good culinary inspiration for me as we head into the holidays.
Любов... До последната лъжица :)
Etain Feeley
It was my first time reading a novel by Philip Kazan and was captivated by the beautiful cover art and blurb.

It is truly a culinary masterpiece and draws upon every sensory perception.
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