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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Without a doubt, Fred Plotkin will do for the food and wine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia what Lynne Rossett Kasper did for the food of Emilia-Romanga in her award-winning book The Splendid Table.
A chapter or two into this book, I couldn't decide which I wanted to do most: book a trip to Friuli-Venezia Giulia, start cooking some of the recipes, or go to a local wine store and buy some regional wines. But I wanted to do all of those things passionately.
This region of Italy, with an eastern border on the former Yugoslavia and a northern border on Austria, is relatively unknown to travelers and more culturally diverse than other parts of Italy. As Plotkin points out, it is the only region of Italy that is critically ranked in the top three for both food and wine. His enthusiastic research is persuasive. Even if you are familiar with Italian food, ingredients, and customs, Friuli-Venezia Giulia clearly differs in its custom of small courses, the use of fruit with pasta (like the Christmas lasagna with apples, figs, walnuts, and raisins), the vegetables spiced with cumin, or the gnocchi served with sauces of meat, tomato, herbs, spices, or even chocolate. From four different recipes for Frico, the region's cheese crisp, to dishes like Mussels Scented with Anise, the 160-plus recipes are intriguing and enticing. Thoroughly detailed and knowledgeable chapters on coffee, grappa, regional wines, and their producers round out the book. If Plotkin can't turn you on to this region's food and wine, no one can. (Ginger Curwen)