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As a frequent (every winter) visitor to Venice, I know this food.
This book illustrates better than others I have that Italian food is not actually about simplicity. What is realised is that the pairing of ingredients is genius beyond all other world cuisines, but the putting it together remains deceptively simple. The food is relaxed, slow paced and gentle.
This book captures the essence of Italian food, and once the Italian life philosophy is understood, then the cooking can begin. What I love about this book is that the essential understanding is written prior to the cooking beginning. Italian food isn't just about the food, and this is captured here perfectly, for those that understand.
For a casual cook that just wants an Italian cookbook, there are better recipe books that just give instructions on the food, but for me, this and the Four Seasons book (did everyone get the Vivaldi joke?) are the best food and recipe books I own.
I recognise the food - the cicchetti culture - it isn't just Italian food, it's more Italian than that. Only someone that lived this Italian dream, but was enough of an outsider to see it, could have written this.
If you sometimes have Aperol spritz in the afternoon, Campari spritz before dinner, Chianti in the evening, and have a Grappa after a meal, then this (these) books are for you (us). We are no longer outsiders alone.
I've had this cookbook for a couple of years now, and it's one that I never get bored of. The recipes are simple, sometimes labour intensive, but always give you amazing flavour in the end results. It's a proper fancy cook book too, one that you can read from time to time to just salivate over the pictures of food. If you love the Polpo restaurants, and love authentic northern Italian food then you'll love this cookbook. Be warned - there aren't many pizza or pasta recipes here! But there are some awesome fish and rabbit ones to try for those who are more adventurous.
I bought the book to give to friends who we were joining in Venice to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. So, having now visited the city I realise how much it genuinely represents certain aspects of Venetian cookery, especially Ciccetti, the snack food available everywhere in the city. I also have my own copy and have used the recipes which work and are easy to follow. And what's more, I've eaten in the restaurant in Soho several times: I unashamedly confess to being a Polpo fan...!
Being apart from friends in lockdown made me turn to recipes I had shared with them at a previous New Year. One thing I should mention is that this book has front and back hard covers but no conventional spine - I checked with my friends! Polpo made me happy and brought back lovely memories of different visits to Venice and wonderful parties. The illustrations of Venice will make you want to travel there when next you can and the recipes will transport you there for now!
The pictures are so evocative of Italy and this really is a beautiful book. I also think the recipes aren't too complicated and I have already created a couple of them in the last 2 weeks. Very pleased, I bought a second hand version and felt glad it was more environmently friendly!
Love the Polpo restaurants so when I saw this book I had to have it. I've tried a few recipes my favourite being the meatballs. The tomato sauce is quite labor intensive but soo worth it. Can't wait to try out some more and I usually hate cooking!