The Culineria series are by far some of the best food books assembled.
I feel badly for the reviewer from Los Angeles who gave this book a 1 star rating (une etoile). The person who wrote that review appears to have never traveled and experienced the beauty of the shopping for the ingredients, the preparation of meal,to the friendliness of the dining experience of France and Europe(and this is what this book is ALL about).
I own the entire collection (from France to the USA and then some), and absolutely, the Italy book is beautiful--but making a a simple tomato based sauce is easy. Only a true "chef" could prepare and APPRECIATE the beauty of the French book (God help this person if they ever encounter the German book!)All of these books are GORGEOUS!
I HIGHLY recommend this as a gift, or just to add to any collection--you would be doing yourself a great injustice not to include these in your kitchen.I have given them as gifts and the reaction from the receivers has always been the same--"'What a beautiful cookbook".
Treat yourself to this one (or any of them), you won't be disappointed!!
P.S. My better half is Swiss France, from Switzerland (in the USA for 12 years). He is the one who insisted (but I didn't need much persuading) we include these books in our home. He should know, his brother is a patissier in Switzerland.