SerendipityA History of Accidental Culinary Discoveries

Eataly founder Oscar Farinetti reveals the accidental, serendipitous discoveries that gave birth to some of the world’s most well-known gastronomic delights.Did you know that your morning coffee could be thanks to a herd of energetic goats? Or that a forgotten ingredient is behind the invention of the beloved brownie? Who got the fright of their life discovering corn could pop? And which popular soft drink first started out as a medicinal syrup?In Serendipity, Oscar Farinetti, founder of the high-end global food chain Eataly, shares fifty remarkable stories of how some of the greatest successes and examples of excellence in the food world came about by chance, from the invention of foods such as tarte tatin to the sandwich, as well as products like Nutella and corn flakes, plus some of the world’s best wines, Gorgonzola cheese, balsamic vinegar, French fries, rum, and even the ice-cream cone. As Farinetti dives deep into these extraordinary histories, insightful and entertaining interviews with leading artisan food producers, chefs, inventors, and CEOs around the world provide additional color and rare context. The result is a remarkable read that explores humankind’s never-ending quest to discover something new and reminds us that our mistakes, our flaws, and our failures can often be the most necessary ingredient in finding success.

Oscar Farinetti is an Italian businessman and investor. He founded the high-end food chain Eataly in 2007 and today it has thirty-seven locations around the world, including in NYC, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, and Toronto. He has been interviewed or covered by all major US media from the New York Times to Bloomberg. He lives in Italy.

Barbara McGilvray has been translating from Italian to English for over thirty years. She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2016. She lives in Australia.

“Oscar Farinetti, the founder of Eataly, has assembled a diverting, book-length collection on how some famous foods and drinks came about. He digs deep into food trivia like the mistake that became chocolate ganache, the family feud that birthed cornflakes and the transformation of Recioto wine into Amarone. History and happenstance meet in 48 well-researched examples.” —New York Times

“Interviews about serendipitous food discoveries mix fact and lore to provide an entertaining collection that food connoisseurs will enjoy. . . Like an oral history, lovingly preserved in book form.” —Library Journal

Serendipity is a collection of fifty mouthwatering tales . . . storytelling for the pleasure of the palate.” —Rock’n’Read

“An elegy to imperfection . . . That imperfection that stimulates you, motivates you, and opens new horizons.” —Cronache di Gusto

“This book explores the happy accidents that happen in the world of food and wine. A terrific and insightful read.” —Chef Andrew McConnell

“The book itself is a bright, effortless thing. Its structure of short stories makes it incredibly easy to pick up, put down, and then come back to. One story leads seamlessly into another and . . . it is illuminating and slightly addictive to discover new and interesting facts about the history of food and drinks.” —The Saturday Paper

“This book will quickly turn you from food bore to knowledgable, giving the reader an easy way to impress over drinks and dinner. —SA Weekend Magazine

“Mouthwatering fun, told with the relish of a gourmand.” —Saturday Age

“Plenty to learn if you want to know the origins of what you’re eating and drinking.” —The Age

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