From The Little Bookroom
A Culinary Traveller in TuscanyExploring and Eating off the Beaten Track
by Beth Elon
"Beth Elon not only tastes Tuscany, she savors every flavor, turns down every enticing road, and joyously reveals her long, profound, and continuing appreciation of this place of endless pleasures."—Frances Mayes
"What Beth Elon has given us is not only a detailed and practical cookbook but also a traveler's guide—and a love letter to a place and way of living. This is great food writing in the spirit of Elizabeth David."—Joan Didion
Each of the ten itineraries in this cookbook/guidebook takes readers through parts of Tuscany that still remain largely undiscovered—and into the kitchens of more than 50 restaurants whose cooks reveal their most authentic recipes. In addition to 100 recipes, also included are descriptions and contact information for restaurants, trattorie, gourmet shops, wineries, olive oil producers, local markets, and regional food festivals, and how to find the monasteries, workshops, and artisans' studios that offer local items ranging from herbal beauty products to traditional ceramics and hand-woven linens.
Each regional section begins with illuminating and entertaining explanations of what makes Tuscan cooking so unique: location, location, location. You'll read about a bean so beloved by a village that it's been elevated to cult status—but that is totally unheard of a few kilometers down the road; the specialty of the Zeri Valley, a milk-fed aboriginal baby lamb that is almost unknown elsewhere in Italy; a village that departs from the Tuscan tradition of unsalted bread with its unique pagniaccio; the endless array of vegetable tarts found nowhere in Tuscany but Lunigiana and Garfagnana. With this guide in hand, you'll not only know where to dine, but what to order when you get there.
Along the way, Elon points out significant architecture, historic sites, churches, art, museums, and points of interest in the breathtaking Tuscan landscape. The indispensible travel information is enriched by Elon's beautiful writing and deep personal knowledge of the history, legend, and folklore of the region.
About the Author
Beth Elon's previous books include The Pasta Book, The Big Book of Pasta, and A Mediterranean Farm Kitchen. Beth Elon and her husband, the political historian Amos Elon, have lived in Tuscany for more than 30 years. In that time, she restored a centuries-old farmhouse; reestablished its vineyard and olive groves (producing her own wine and olive oil); planted vegetable and herb gardens; cultivated the orchard; and learned to cook using the bounty of the local countryside—all with the help of her neighbors, who taught her how to do all of these things in the traditional Tuscan way.