Venice Cult Recipes – Laura Zavan
Murdoch Books – 2014
The wonderful thing about Venice Cult Recipes is that it is much more than a cookbook. It is a guide to Venice and an introduction to Venetian cuisine. I am fortunate enough to have spent a lot of time in Venice and the food there is outstanding. Laura Zavan gives readers an insight into foods to try, recipes to test at home and how to eat like a Venetian.
The recipes are heavily slanted towards fish, with Venice this is not a surprise as there is as much water as there is land! Although the recipes are all influenced by Venice is is not impossible to cook them without having access to the city’s ingredients. Zavan has done an excellent job of capturing the spirit of Venetian cooking for those of us far from Italy.
All of the photography and the styling of the book suits Venice completely, classic and beautiful images with lots of detail. Some of the dishes have images of Venice alongside them rather than the dishes which is a shame but all of the photographs are lovely to look at. The titles of the recipes are difficult to read with an overly ornate font but the instructions themselves are much easier.
Each recipe has notes that tell you a little bit more about the dish, its history or where in Venice the idea comes from and all of these are beautifully written. As well as all of the recipes there are sections on each of the Sestriere (districts) so that you get some background to the city and a guide for eating there.
My favourite recipes were the Risotto Alla Luganega, the Seppie al Nero e Polenta, the Pappardelle ai fe Gatini and the Focaccia Veneziana. The pasta dishes were my favourite overall with the cicheti my least favourite section from the book. The balance is definitely towards savoury recipes but the Sweets (Dolci) section is beautiful and although not long has a great variety of flavours.
I can’t wait to get back to Venice and try out all of the restaurants and dishes that Laura Zavan has recommended here. It’s not just opening a new world of food but encourages you to explore and be adventurous as well.
Looking for Christmas gift ideas?
This would make the perfect present for anyone who loves Venice, it would be an ideal gift for people who love to travel and try new foods as they go.