Book cover of Andaluz, the title featured in this page

A Food Journey through Southern Spain

By Fiona Dunlop
Includes 100+ colour photographs
Published by Interlink Books (USA)

In Andaluz: A Food Journey through Southern Spain, celebrated food writer Fiona Dunlop, author of Medina Kitchen: Home cooking from North Africa and Viva la Revolucion! New Food from Mexico, traces the culinary history of Andalusia, with an emphasis on the ingredients – saffron, sugar cane, pine nuts, almonds, aubergines and artichokes, to mention just a few – brought into the region by the Moors, the Sephardic Jews, and before them the Romans and the Phoenicians.  Fiona travels the length and width of the region learning from home cooks, local tavern owners, and Michelin-starred restaurant chefs, and bringing us their best recipes.

The challenge

Andaluz is a beautiful book illustrated by many photographs taken by the author herself. Fiona Dunlop, an experienced travel journalist, has been visiting Andalusia regularly for several decades; today she divides her time between the UK and Spain where she owns a home deep in the heart of the Andalusian countryside. However, another book on Moorish cuisine, by a celebrity chef, had just been launched and many journalists weren’t keen to cover a topic they deemed similar twice. Moreover, some journalists noticed that Fiona’s pictures, especially the food shots, didn’t look like the ‘standard’ images taken by professional photographers – personally, I found them less predictable and much more evocative – and this too contributed to their lack of interest.

The solution

Try all possible avenues with consistency — without giving up! Whenever needed, if the media in question wasn’t responding, devise an alternative plan. Be very creative in conceiving pitches and persuasive when presenting them. Also, know the book and the illustrations well so as to target them as accurately as possible to the various media. Lastly, work closely with the author who was well connected with journalists to make the most of her personal contacts (she hadn’t been in touch with most of them for some time, so I was tasked with ‘renewing’ the acquaintance).

The result

The Daily Telegraph ran an article by Fiona, and several travel publications including ‘National Geographic Traveller’, ‘Wanderlust’ and inflight magazine ‘N for Norwegian’, published either interviews or features. On the lifestyle front, Saga online (ABC circ. 246K+) run a long piece, it was selected as ‘Book of the Month’ by ‘Woman & Home’ (ABC circ. 281K) and was reviewed in ‘Country Life’. Current affairs weekly The Spectator reviewed it online, and, importantly, leading literary publication TLS (Times Literary Supplement) also covered it.