A Culinary Traveller in Tuscany
Exploring and Eating off the Beaten Track
By Beth Elon
(Little Bookroom, Paperback, 9781892145680, 320pp.)
Publication Date: March 24, 2009
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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 fifty superb but little-known restaurants specializing in regional cuisine–those that are for the most part overlooked by tourists and known only to the locals. Each regional section begins with illuminating and absorbing 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 unknown a few kilometers down the road; an aboriginal baby lamb that is almost unknown outside of the Zeri valley; 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.
In addition to 100 recipes, also included are nearby points of interest, 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 handwoven linens.
Beth Elon and her husband, the Israeli social historian Amos Elon, have lived in Tuscany for more than thirty years. Her previous books include The Pasta Book; The Big Book of Pasta, which was a bestseller in Israel; and A Mediterranean Farm Kitchen. She continues to write food columns for Israeli papers from her home in Italy.
“Readers of Beth Elon's new book, A Culinary Traveller in Tuscany: Exploring & Eating Off The Beaten Track may be tempted to drop everything and book themselves on the next flight to Florence. They needn't bring much more than this exhaustive guide and a healthy appetite...It's hard to imagine a more knowledgeable or enthusiastic escort through this land.” –Town & Country
"Conveniently, we find A Culinary Traveller in Tuscany: Exploring & Eating Off the Beaten Track by experienced cookbook author Beth Elon, a thirty-year resident of Italy. Herein we find Elon's take on several dozen restaurants scattered around ten regions of Tuscany, complete with a list of house specialties including the actual recipes. She also points out gourmet shops and farmer's markets, as well as historic sites, churches, museums, and other points of interest. Serious fans of Italian cooking will find this book thoroughly satisfying. It's obvious Elon knows her way around the kitchen." --Foreword Magazine
"One might think that everything that can be written about Tuscany has been written. But here is a gem of a book in the tradition of M.F.K. Fisher that takes readers down Italian back roads and into private kitchens. There are 10 chapters that represent 10 itineraries into 10 different Tuscan regions. Included are more than 100 recipes and contact information and descriptions from private kitchens and restaurants, trattorias, gourmet shops, bakeries, wineries, and olive oil producers. Also included are days and dates when food festivals are held that celebrate chocolate, truffles, chestnuts and mushrooms. Warning: this book may contribute to an expanding waistline." --Book Passage Bookstore
“This travel guide and cookbook charts a fresh path. Elon has little interest in the well–documented, popular sites of Tuscany. Florence and Siena attract her not at all. Out-of-the-way villages nestled in valleys or atop hilly crags summon her, and the unusual culinary specialties of these places really make her prose flow...Elon's meticulous documentation of restaurant hours and locations makes this an especially practical guide for anyone driving through Tuscany.” –Booklist
“By stepping away from the traditional tourist destinations, travelers can get in touch with a place’s authentic flavor...Like a close friend trying to guide you to the best and most interesting places in town, Elon makes sure to point out historical, artistic, cultural, and gastronomical places of interest. Her culinary background leads her to place particular attention on regional and seasonal foods and restaurants and stores usually overlooked by tourists...An ideal companion for any traveler looking to taste his or her way through the back roads of Tuscany; recommended for travel and culinary collections.” –Library Journal
"A cross between Baedeker and the Silver Spoon, Beth Elon's Culinary Traveller in Tuscany mixes history, restaurant reviews, and recipes." –Travel + Leisure, T+L's Essential Summer-Reading List
"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, author of Under the Tuscan Sun
"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 a way of living. This is great food writing in the spirit of Elizabeth David." –Joan Didion