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La Terra Fortunata: The Splendid Food and Wine of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Italy's Great Undiscovered Region


A great food and wine region of Italy-largely undiscovered by those who live to eat-Friuli-Venezia Giulia springs succulently from the pages of La Terra Fortunata by Italy expert Fred Plotkin.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia was one of Italy's best-kept secrets-until now. Between Venice and Vienna, with Trieste as its capital, this region has the most varied and sophisticated food in Italy. No other regional kitchen uses more fruit or spices or a greater range of meat and seafood. In La ...

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A great food and wine region of Italy-largely undiscovered by those who live to eat-Friuli-Venezia Giulia springs succulently from the pages of La Terra Fortunata by Italy expert Fred Plotkin.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia was one of Italy's best-kept secrets-until now. Between Venice and Vienna, with Trieste as its capital, this region has the most varied and sophisticated food in Italy. No other regional kitchen uses more fruit or spices or a greater range of meat and seafood. In La Terra Fortunata, readers will discover gnocchi filled with plums or apricots; tagliolini tossed with poppy seeds and the region’s superlative prosciutto di San Daniele; sea scallops with almond sauce; risotto flavored with a rainbow of spices, including ginger, star anise, and nutmeg; cinnamon-scented veal stew, and, of course, frico, the region's signature dish, a delectable cheese crisp that is positively addictive.

Since Friuli-Venezia Giulia produces Italy's top white wines and outstanding reds, with more varieties than any other region in Italy, Fred Plotkin has included the most detailed list of the region's wines and their makers ever compiled.

With more than 160 recipes and an indispensable list for wine lovers, La Terra Fortunata will come as a revelation to those who thought there was nothing new under the Italian sun.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The 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)

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this evocative look at the food and wine of Italy's Friuli-Venezia Giulia region (situated between Venice and Vienna, with Trieste as its capital), Plotkin (Recipes from Paradise; Italy for the Gourmet Traveler) does what he does best focuses on a lesser-known part of Italy and brings it to life. A hefty introductory section covers such topics as the wide-ranging international influence in the region (evidenced by the unusual flavor combinations), its cuisine's liberal use of a wide variety of herbs and fruit in savory dishes and a particularly informative discussion of the area's viticultural history. In the end, however, a cookbook is judged by its recipes, and Plotkin delivers with recipes of exotic flavor combinations, such as Frico (cheese wafers), Caraway Seed Soup and even a series of Horseradish Sauces. Historically an impoverished region, Friuli-Venezia Giulia's resourceful cooks have invented such staples as Spinach-Cornmeal Soup and Barley-Bean Soup. First courses, like Bread Gnocchi with Cucumber Sauce and Polenta with Montasio-Mint Sauce, tend to be hearty, and among the rustic desserts is a delectable Pear Pudding. Comprehensive chapters on coffee, grappa, and wineries and enotecas round out an outstanding volume. Agent, David Black. (May 8) Forecast: Plotkin is a particular favorite among food writers, so booksellers should look for this one to garner critical praise, which could have a healthy impact on sales. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Fruili-Venezia Guilia, in Italy's northeasternmost corner, may be the region of the country least familiar to Americans. Yet when Plotkin (Recipes from Paradise: Life and Food on the Italian Riviera) was researching his ambitious new book, it was the only province that was consistently listed by authorities as one of the top three in terms of both food and wine. Bounded on the north by Austria and the east by the former Yugoslavia, it has long been influenced by other cultures Plotkin calls it a "crossroads region" giving it a unique character. And its cuisine, of course, reflects those influences as well spices that would be considered exotic in much of Italy, for example, feature in many dishes. Plotkin's lengthy introductory section, which covers history, ingredients, wine, and "The Way To Eat in Fruili-Venezia Guilia," is followed by more than 150 recipes, with separate chapters on coffee and grappa. There's also a detailed guide to notable wine producers, a source guide, and a brief, informative travel section. Essential. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780767906111
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/8/2001
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 8.36 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

When the subject is Italian food and wine, Fred Plotkin is the expert other experts turn to for definitive information. A finalist for both the James Beard and Julia Child cookbook awards, his previous book, Recipes from Paradise: Life and Food on the Italian Riviera, placed first on the New York Times listing of the top cookbooks of 1997. Plotkin is the author of Italy for the Gourmet Traveler and five other books. He lives in New York City.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2002

    Luckly Land, Lucky Readers

    Why so many cookbooks these days? One reason is that anyone can troll the Internet for a few hours and download enough recipes to make a book with very little effort; some "authors" apparently do just that. Not, however, Fred Plotkin, who has produced here not a book but a feast that demands the attention of any serious cook or food-lover. Fred Plotkin's field is Italy--all Italy (as in "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler," which you should order) and the obscure and less-known regions of Italy, as in this book, which is centered on Friuli-Venezia Giulia, that "fortunate land" high in the northeast, and in his previous one on Liguria (order that too, while you're at it), the superb "Recipes from Paradise: Life and Food on the Italian Riviera (order that, too). These regions--their very existence--will come as a surprise to many Americans, who have been led by decades of relentless and superficial media coverage to believe that Italy is Tuscany and that Tuscany is only the area between Florence and Siena. Plotkin doesn't strip-mine a region and bung a lot of recipes into a book. He explores and absorbs it. He visits Italy frequently and has often lived there for extended periods, sharing the life of regions that call out to him. In this case, he writes--elegantly, feelingly--of a region he has known for more than 25 years. For this reason, people and places come alive as welcoming presences. Recipes? There are recipes galore here, and you will be happy (I hope) to know that that are not the tired (and overhyped) Tuscan retreads. With its Adriatic coast, this region was deeply involved in the Spice Trade at its height, and so you will find many spices used here, some of which (cumin, for example) will come as a surprise. I recommend this book for cold winter days. It'll warm you just to read it, and then you can start cooking too. Bill Marsano is a James Beard Award winning writer on wine, spirits and food.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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