Chefs, foodies, and Italophiles will treasure Elena Kostioukovitch’s Why Italians Love To Talk About Food (Farrar Straus & Giroux, $35). This masterful tome is a culinary encyclopedia and travelogue—a chronicle of Italy’s regional cuisines. In each chapter, Kostioukovitch introduces a region and explores the foods that define it. We learn about Piedmontese truffles, Neapolitan mozzarella di bufala, and the Roman Jews’ unique relationship to eggplant. Cuisine is a “code that pervades all of Italy,” Kostioukovitch writes, and discussing it “means celebrating a rite, uttering a magic formula.” Gorgeous photos and mouthwatering sample menus round out this literary feast. Elizabeth Sher