|Polpo - A Venetian Cookbook (of sorts)|
I recognise the Venice of Russell Norman and I know Polpo the Bàcaro so I'm familiar with some of the dishes in the book. Reading it takes me right into the heart of the kind of Venetian food I love. Not all the recipes are strictly Venetian but the influence is clear. The dishes are deliberately uncomplicated, made with admirably few ingredients and most are quick to prepare. Some are hardly recipes at all but a ".. delicious exercises in assembly .." of good ingredients.
|Polpo's Broad bean, mint|
ricotta & bruschette
The photography by Jenny Zarins captures both achingly beautiful Venice and the simplicity of the dishes very well. I must mention the design which blew me away on first sight. An Old Venetian style typeface is used and the stripped-away spine reveals bright green stitching. The book is lovely to handle, looks good and is eminently practical for kitchen use as it sits flat without breaking the spine (would that some of my other books were like this).
So, if you're planning a trip, how do you find the authentic Venice. Well, there's help on that here too. A Gazetteer at the back of the book includes two of my favourite places in La Serenissima.
UPDATE 23 July 2012: Alessandro Swainston @touchfood read this piece and very kindly got in touch to offer the use of his beautiful video of Russell Norman talking about how Venice influenced Polpo. Here is a link https://t.co/CnGBt2SZ
Book courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing