Raised in the Tuscan countryside, Scarpaleggia is a cooking instructor and food writer. Here she profiles a host of markets throughout the region.
Some operate every day, such as the bustling Sant'Ambrogio in Florence; others are weekly or even just monthly, such as the one in Arezzo on the first Saturday of each month. They may be true farmers' markets or they may offer a full range of butchers, bakeries, fishmongers, and the like.
It's easy to imagine a cook walking home from one of these markets, shopping bags laden with the ingredients for a Florentine beef and pepper stew with thyme potato mash. Or perhaps dinner will feature pici pasta with sausage and Chianti followed by a lightly sweetened zucchini and olive oil cake.
One factor that helps this book stand out—and there has, admittedly, been an abundance of Tuscan cookbooks—is that, as an Italian-originated book, it does not shy away from ingredients that some Americans might find challenging, such as wild hare, tripe, local bean varieties, or sheep's milk ricotta. Most recipes don't include things that are quite that hard to find here, but those that do certainly add to the sense that one is reading about fare that is truly of the region.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.