Is it a Mirage or is it Venice, Venezia Food and Dreams By Tessa Kiros

A number of books have landed in my mailbox in the past week and I am playing catch up.

The hardest part when you get a number of appetizing titles might be deciding which to feature first.

Why is Venezia, Food and Dreams by Tessa Kiros (Andrews McMeel Publishing, October 2009) my catch of the day?

I would not cite food as the first reason for starting with this tome but rather the dreamy quality that surfaces from the book.

You feel like a guest in a timeless, slightly unreal city.

I wonder what it feels like to explore Venice on a foggy morning or once the night sets.

Do you really meet characters straight out of a costume ball?


Food you may ask now after my lengthy introduction.

For one, the Capesante al forno (Scallops) gracing the cover whose recipe you can find on page 083.

They reminded of the beloved Coquille St Jacques of my French years.

Risotto lovers will have their fill in the Patience & Risotto chapter (page 149 to 175), 11 choices, one of them a Risotto di pesce (seafood). She had her best version of this dish at Trattoria alla Madonna which she calls a local institution, classy and old-fashioned.

Not just aborio rice but also vialone nano and carnaroli get put to use in these risottos Tessa writes.

In the Secondi, I like the look of her Rombo con patate e funghi al forno (Fish with potatoes and mushrooms) serves 4 (page 206).

She suggests a flat fish such as turbot or flounder served whole, head and tail on, as the centerpiece.

In the sweet treats, I vote simple pleasures with Sbriciolona or Crumbler cake on page 271 which the locals Tessa says eat while sipping a glass of red or white Fragolino, a sweet wine.

Do not confuse this Sbriciolona with Salami of same name.

I could go on and on with other dishes as Tessa put a spell on me but I will bring this piece to an end right here.

I can always come back with a second helping.

The golden trim and fabric bookmark add to the charms of Venezia.

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