Guildhall Library is home to a number of internationally renowned collections of books on food and wine, including the André Simon Collection. This collection is based on the personal library of the late André Simon, the eminent food writer and historian. Simon studied at Guildhall Library as a young man in the early 1900s and was a personal friend of the then Guildhall Librarian.
The André Simon collection was placed here as a result of the writer’s links with the library. It was Hugo Dunn-Meynell, the then Director of the International Wine & Food Society, who facilitated the donation to Guildhall Library where, as Hugo put it, the items ‘could be used in ideal conditions by everyone’.
Each year the short-listed works for the André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards are donated to Guildhall Library and added to this growing collection. There are two categories in the award – food and drink. Judging starts in mid-November and a final decision is not reached until the day of the ceremony – allowing judges plenty of time to try out and reflect upon the recipes.
This year the shortlisted books in the food category were:
Annie Bell’s Baking Bible by Annie Bell (Kyle Books)
Edible Selby by Todd Selby (Abrams)
Following fish by Samanth Subramanian (Atlantic books)
Hoosh by Jason C Anthony (University of Nebraska Press)
Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ebury Books)
Polpo by Russell Norman (Bloomsbury Books)
Sud de France by Caroline Conran (Prospect Books)
The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert (Bloomsbury Books)
The shortlisted books in the drink category were:
Brunello di Montalcino by Kerin O’Keefe (University of California Press)
How to love wine by Eric Asimov (William Morrow)
Pomerol by Neal Martin (Wine-Journal Publishing)
Sherry, Manzanilla & Montilla by Peter Liem & Jesús Barquín (Manutius)
Wine grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, Dr José Vouillamoz (Penguin Books)
The 2012 award was announced at a reception on 14th March 2013, and two Librarians from Guildhall Library were lucky enough to be invited to see the winners declared. Caroline Conran’s Sud de France was the deserving winner in the food category and the comprehensive Wine Grapes: A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours received the award in the drink category. In the lead up to the announcement of the award we created a colourful display next to our Enquiry Desk of all the shortlisted entries. These have now been added to our collection and are available from our store within twenty minutes of ordering.