Under the Tuscan Sun

A Culinary Traveller in Tuscany: Exploring & Eating off the Beaten Track

By Beth Elon

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When it's time for the foodie to plan his Tuscan trip:

"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."

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A Small Place in Italy

By Eric Newby

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Another couple restoring an old house in Italy. As Eric Newby and his wife, Wanda, restore a run-down Tuscan farmhouse, his account builds into a vivid portrait of rural Italy and its people, lovingly evoking the rhythms and rituals of country life.

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A Thousand Days In Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure

By Marlena de Blasi

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American chef Marlena de Blasi and her Venetian husband, Fernando, married rather late in life. In search of the rhythms of country living, the couple moves to a barely renovated former stable in Tuscany with no phone, no central heating, and something resembling a playhouse kitchen. They dwell among two hundred villagers, ancient olive groves, and hot Etruscan springs. In this patch of earth where Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio collide, there is much to feed de Blasi's two passions--food and love.

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And Then You Die: An Aurelio Zen mystery

By Michael Dibdin

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Okay, maybe not how we want to spend our vacation, but it's still entertaining. Aurelio Zen of Rome's elite Criminalpol is back, but nobody's supposed to know it. Following a bomb attack on his car, Zen tries to relax at a beach resort on the Tuscan coast, waiting to testify in an anti-Mafia trial. Soon he must rely on his survival skills as people start dropping dead.

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Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life

By Frances Mayes

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Frances Mayes offers her readers a deeply personal memoir of her present-day life in Tuscany, encompassing both the changes she has experienced since Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany appeared, and sensuous, evocative reflections on the timeless beauty and vivid pleasures of Italian life. Among the themes Mayes explores are how her experience of Tuscany dramatically expanded when she renovated and became a part-time resident of a 13th-century house with a stone roof in the mountains above Cortona, how life in the mountains introduced her to a "wilder" side of Tuscany--and with it a lively engagement with Tuscany's mountain people. Throughout, she reveals the concrete joys of life in her adopted hill town, with particular attention to life in the piazza, the art of Luca Signorelli (Renaissance painter from Cortona), and the pastoral pleasures of feasting from her garden.

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Eyewitness Travel Guide to Florence & Tuscany

By Chris Catling

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"...features suggested walks and four one-day 'Great Day' itineraries to ensure you make the most of your trip. It comes together with clear maps, extensive hotel and restaurant listings of all price levels. From the bustling streets of Florence to the picturesque hilltop towns of Tuscany explore this beautiful region with the unique 3D models and cutaway maps. Recommendations for authentic trattorias where you can sample the local fare will ensure you have a heavenly holiday."
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Flavors of Tuscany: Traditional Recipes from the Tuscan Countryside

By Nancy Harmon Jenkins

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"For the last twenty-five years, Nancy Harmon Jenkins has spent a good part of her time with her family in the hills of eastern Tuscany in an antique stone-walled farmhouse surrounded by fields, vineyards, and forests of oak and chestnut. Working through the seasons, gardening, marketing, cooking, and sharing food and its lore with Tuscan friends and neighbors, she has developed a deep attachment to the cuisine of the Tuscan countryside, to which she brings a unique perspective as one of this country's foremost food writers.

"Often imitated but seldom clearly understood outside Italy, Tuscan country cooking is hearty and appealing in its simplicity and its straightforward insistence on fresh, authentic, unadulterated flavors--fragrant, homey herbs like parsley, sage, and rosemary; the lush, peppery aromas of newly pressed extra virgin olive oil; the appetizing redolence of farm-raised chickens braising in a wood-fired oven; or spitted pork loin, basted with garlic and wine, roasting on the hearth. Drawing on her extensive firsthand experience, Jenkins has re-created for American cooks and the American table the rustic, robust way of cooking and eating that is the heart of Tuscan life, the flavors of Tuscany."

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Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-quoting Butcher in Tuscany

By Bill Buford

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"Writer Buford's memoir of his headlong plunge into the life of a professional cook. Expanding on his award-winning New Yorker article, Buford gives us a chronicle of his experience as 'slave' to Mario Batali in the kitchen of Batali's three-star New York restaurant, Babbo. He describes three frenetic years of trials and errors, disappointments and triumphs, as he worked his way up the Babbo ladder from "kitchen bitch" to line cook, his relationship with the larger-than-life Batali, whose story he learns as their friendship grows through (and sometimes despite) kitchen encounters and after-work all-nighters, and his immersion in the arts of butchery in Northern Italy, of preparing game in London, and making handmade pasta at an Italian hillside trattoria."

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Honey from a Weed: Fasting and Feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, the Cyclades, and Apulia

By Patience Gray

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"Honey from a Weed is a Mediterranean odyssey. Patience Gray, who has lived and traveled widely in the region's countryside for over twenty-five years, brings to life its people, their culture, and most of all their rustic cooking, with sumptuous prose and reverence."

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Italy Today: The Beautiful Cookbook

By Lorenza de' Medici

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None of these books leaves out mention of delicious Italian wines and foods. We'll need some snacks on our trip so why not try "crostoni of pecorino cheese and fava beans on grilled bread, or ravioli filled with squash flowers followed by grilled scampi with lemon sauce. Taste updated classics such as stracciatella alla maggiorana, Roman egg soup with fresh marjoram; or pollo arrosto al balsamico - roasted chicken sparked with balsamic vinegar. Or relax with a slice or orange cake and a glass of Vin Santo." You'll have to move to the kitchen table to enjoy this oversized book, part travel book and all yum.

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