BY BETH ELON
Review by Barb & Ron Kroll
(Bantam) ISBN 978-0553816907 055381690X
Based on personal experiences, Beth describes ten itineraries through Tuscany to taste the flavors of local foods. Her tasting tours suggest rural trattorias and restaurants where readers will find traditional cuisine.
Tuscany's cucina povera (poor kitchen) cuisine is simple, not poor, imaginative and based on fresh locally grown ingredients. She includes more than one hundred recipes from restaurant cooks.
What to see
Tasting Tuscany is more than a cookbook. It's a sampler of Tuscan history, language, customs and cuisine. The delicious recipes highlight the descriptive itineraries. Recipes use metric measurements and include serving suggestions.
The cookbook has no images. Each section includes a simple driving tour map with icons for restaurants, markets, local produce, scenic views, museums, churches, castles, spas, mountains, hiking trails and other locations of interest.
Readers discover many of Italy's scenic Tuscan hillside towns with their lovely piazzas, the fortifications, castles, villas, hunting lodges and palaces of noble families from the 15th and 16th centuries.
On driving tours, they learn about Roman history, peasant traditions, organic farming, local culture and cuisine in the regions of Grosseto, Siena, Arezzo, Firenze, Pistoia, Livorno, Pisa, Lucca and Massa.
Pine nut biscuits. Pork tenderloin with chestnuts. Baby chicken under a brick. Courgette and smoked scamorza cheese. Piquant strawberry marmalade. Medieval pork roast with juniper berries and pomegranate. Fresh cheese gnocchi in a hazelnut sauce. Rabbit in caper/anchovy sauce.
- A Personal Note
- The Lunigiana and the Mountains of Carrara
- Valle del Serchio and the Garfagnana
- La Valdinievole and Svizzera Pesciatina
- Pistoia and its Mountains
- The Mugello
- The Casentino and Tiberina
- Valdichiana and Crete Senese
- Montelupo Fiorentina and the Truffles of San Miniato
- Marina di Pisa to Upper Maremma
- The Maremma and Western Slopes of Monte Amiata
- List of Recipes
- List of Restaurants by Area
A resident of Tuscany for over 30 years, Beth Elon has authored three cookbooks. Befriended by neighboring villagers, she learned about Tuscan food and recipes: how to cook, how to grow and how to find ingredients in the wild. Her centuries-old house and adjoining farm yield fresh produce from the garden and olives and grapes for homemade oil and wine.