Italy is a country that tops the “places to visit” list of many a food lover. Food writers and chefs have been known to make pilgrimages there to study the finer points of prosciutto, bread and gelato. And while it would be lovely to take a multi-month journey to Italy to take in both the food and the countryside, it’s not the kind of thing that we can all take off to do at the drop of a hat.
Fortunately, there are many ways to get a taste of a country without traveling there. Reading through the new cookbook Adventures of an Italian Food Lover is one of them. The cookbook features recipes from restaurants all over the country and each is a specialty, or at least a particular favorite, of each place. The recipes are arranged by region, then by type. This means that you can read through the antipastos, mains and desserts of Northern Italy before moving southward, which is a successful way of continuing the traveling theme of the book.
The only drawback of the cookbook is that a few of the recipes call for specialty ingredients, ones that might be more widely available in Italy than the US. “Soft wheat flour” (Italian “00″) is one example of this, though the author has included notes on acceptable substitutions (White Lily flour, in this instance) when possible. If you encounter a recipe that doesn’t include straight substitution notes, you might have to play around a bit to get it perfect. All that said, since it only affects a few of the more than 250 recipes in the book, it certainly shouldn’t put you off if you’re searching for a good source of authentic Italian recipes because this book looks like a great one.