fred plotkinFred Plotkin is a pleasure activist, expert on opera, traveling in Italy, and Italian cuisine.

I’ve interviewed him a few times in previous posts, and on our local grassroots KRUU radio with Steven Boss during Steve’s Great Taste Radio Show.

The 5th edition of Italy for the Gourmet Traveler, came out on book stands in 2010.

An article in The Guardian gives you some samplings from the book.

I love that this is a fully updated 5th edition of Fred Plotkin’s classic book that covers 504 towns in every Italian region. It’s not a directory of where to eat in just the major cities like Rome and Florence, but he takes us to small towns in all the 20 regions of Italy, even San Giovanni in Fiore, in Calabria, where my paternal grandparents are from. I used his book to sample restaurants in the 10 towns on the Italian Riviera that we visit during my Italy Retreat for Women from September 10-18, 2011.

This is not only a gourmet guide for food and wine in Italy, but an encyclopedia of knowledge Fred has gleaned from traveling, working and living in Italy for much of the last 35 years. You’ll find lists of cooking schools, festivals, and even museums dedicated to pasta, olive oil and wine. I also love how he weaves stories with a wealth of information about opera, history, and the culture of Italy.
Besides, how can you not love a book written by apleasure activist’? Fred’s short explanation of this passionate title is “a vibrant and positive approach to everything we experience.”

One of the reasons I teach annual is so we can discover the sweet life, “La Dolce Vita”. To me, this means that you create your life by choice not by default. That you find joy in the moment, that you dare to dream and think of bigger possibilities. Dare I say, that we all can become ‘pleasure activists’?!

Fred Plotkin further explains the meaning of a ‘pleasure activist’:

If we meet a new, interesting person and open all of our senses to him or her, we have a much stronger experience of why that person is so compelling. In the media and in our social training, our minds are filled with so many strategies for happiness and success, but they all involve calculated behavior that may be counter to our nature and instinct, which form the sixth sense. When we are alive to all that we see, hear, smell, savor and feel, we refine what we call taste and, moreover, add to that mysterious but essential human characteristic we call instinct.

I would never say that the fullest use of our senses is the secret to happiness and fulfillment. Such an assertion is too pat and general. But any behavior that can contribute to our becoming more fully human and insightful is one that should be prized. And that, to me, is pleasure activism.

Do yourself a favor, and order Italy for the Gourmet Traveler.

Do yourself another favor, and join me in Cinque Terre,Italy for my Italy Retreat for Women to live La Dolce Vita, the sweet life, this year from September 10-18, 2011. (The dates for my most recent year is updated on that link).

What’s your favorite place in Italy? Leave a comment and let us know! Have you been to Cinque Terre or the Italian Riviera?

Photo Credit: Sophocles Alexiou

Learn more about traveling to Italy on Lenora’s Italy Retreats For Women
Find out more about Lenora’s Sweet Life Workshops and Sweet Life Happiness Coaching.

You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided author credit is included.