As we know from Tam's book reviews, last year saw a particularly rich crop of books about wine and other strong drinks. This was confirmed last night at the André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards 2017 at the Goring Hotel in London. Unusually, three of the four awards went to authors of books about drink and only one to a book about food.
This year's outside assessor of drinks books was Joe Fattorini, engaging host of The Wine Show, in which I make an appearance each Friday night on Channel 5 in the UK at the moment. He was presumably particularly persuasive when presenting his favourite drinks books to the trustees of the André Simon Memorial Fund David Gleave MW, Sarah-Jane Evans MW, Xanthe Clay and our restaurant correspondent Nick Lander.
The winner of the André Simon Drink Book of the Year was Peter Liem for his magisterial book about Champagne with its focus on terroir and magnificently presented maps.
But Victoria Moore's book on food and wine matching won this year's Special Commendation, and the annual John Avery Award went to Dave Broom for his unusual and very beautiful book on Japanese whisky. The Way of Whisky was published in the UK, like Peter Liem's book, by Octopus, whom I know well as parent company of Mitchell Beazley, publishers of The World Atlas of Wine.
Rachel Cooke of the Observer was this year's food books assessor and the André Simon Food Book of the Year 2017 was self-taught chef Stephen Harris's book about his exceptional restaurant The Sportsman at Seasalter. Even he has a strong wine connection, being closely involved with the wine bar and publication Noble Rot. The essays in Harris's book touch on the rich culinary history and landscape of his bit of North Kent, how he found The Sportsman, and his philosophy that intertwines punk music and food – including photos from his punk years.
In the picture are the four winners (left to right): Peter Liem, Stephen Harris, Victoria Moore and Dave Broom.