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Sweet Myrtle and Bitter Honey: The Mediterranean Flavors of Sardinia Hardcover – October 23, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli (October 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847829928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847829927
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #877,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

If you lived on this island in the Mediterranean, you served guests the best of what you had and treasured hospitality, Farris writes. He shares that spirit here, while explaining the unique characteristics of Sardinian food (influences not only from Italian, but also Moorish, Catalan, Arabian and other cuisines). -- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sweet Myrtle and Bitter Honey: The Mediterranean Flavors of Sardinia ... illuminates the culinary traditions of one of Italy's least-explored regions: Sardinia. The exotic recipes, as well as the author's personal recollections and photographs of both the island and its cuisine, made me want to travel to Sardinia, or at least to Texas, where Farris operates two restaurants -- Newsday

"Flavored with the all-important pecorino di Sardo (sheep's milk cheese) and heavy with pastas (including fregula, like Israeli couscous, and malloreddus, tear-drop shaped and ridged) and rustic main courses, the book creates a delicious portrait of the still very rural island." -- - The Chicago Tribune

I knew Sardinia was an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy. But I had never given the place much thought until [this] evocatively titled cookbook. [The] words, and the book's color and sepia-toned vintage photographs, bring Sardinia to life and may add another stop to your list of planned culinary journeys -- San Diego Union Tribune

Mr. Farris's thoughtful essays on local ingredients and traditions (wild asparagus, household sausage-making) bring to life things that may be untranslatable. His carefully presented recipes try to translate them anyhow, with love and intelligence. -- The New York Times

With his first cookbook, Farris leaps into the front ranks of culinary regionalist and troubadour. He's a transplant to Texas, a restaurateur and importer, but his taste buds still twinkle to the lusty, muscular primal cuisine of his ancestral Sardinia. He stirs up an appetite for simple pasta dishes in which the sauce determines the shape of the macarrones, and any number of compositions featuring spiced and herbed lamb, artichokes, olives and various seafood stews enriched with bottarga. The author first tasted this "Sardinian caviar," the roe of gray mullet, at age three on a cherished expedition to catch and cook fish on the beach with his father and uncle. He balances sentimentality with frank delight in testing the reader's mettle. Roasted eels, pictured in full slither, are only a start. Anyone for abbamele, the honey and bee pollen reduction? Raw sea urchin under the full moon? Then there is casu murzu, rotten cheese, which owes its creamy texture to maggots. Our intrepid guide, who "cannot resist its charms," admits that even for him it was a childhood gross-out. Beautifully illustrated, often eminently cookable, the book also has the charms of a picaresque novel. (Oct.) -- Publisher's Weekly Oct2007

About the Author

Efisio Farris, a native Sardinian, is the chef-owner of two restaurants–Arcodoro in Houston and Arcodoro & Pomodoro in Dallas. He has garnered acclaim from Gourmet, Saveur, Food & Wine, Southern Living, USA Today, The New York Times, and Wine Spectator.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
Anyone who enjoys cooking should try this cookbook.
FOOD MAVEN
Plus the beautifully written book and pitcures transport me back to Sardinia and all my wonderful trips to that magical island.
Siobhan Darrow
Beautiful colorplates and great, easy recipes make this book a treasure.
Bambie1

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J W on March 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My most anticipated book purchase has exceeded all of my expectations!

If you think this is just another Italian cookbook, think again. As the author explains in the book, after centuries of raids from foreign cultures like Phoenicia, Arabia, and Spain (just to name a very small few), Sardinia finally became a part of Italy in the 1850s. This excerpt says it best; "Some of the pasta shapes, meats and cheeses (like lamb and pecorino) and of course olive oil will be familiar. But lingering Roman, Arabian, Moorish, Catalan, and other Mediterranean influences (like myrtle and saffron) make our cuisine a hybrid".

Efisio guides you through each of these exquisitely authentic recipes, shared from his own family's kitchen and effortlessly weaves in his deep devotion to Sardinian culture and history so that every page just drips with his love of country (and food). His use of indigenous ingredients such as Botarga (dried grey mullet), Miele Amaro (bitter honey) and Malloreddus (one of their pastas), paired of course with either a good Cannonau (red wine) or Vermintino (white wine) offer an exciting array of surprisingly uncomplicated recipes which makes this a treasure trove of refreshing new ideas for everyday cooking.

In true Sardinian style, you are his guest in his "home" as he takes you on tour through his beloved country. And, being the generous host, you almost don't realize that you too are falling in love with his country and its culture. Yet it seems that is the hope, for at the end Efisio has provided not only a "pantry" for places to purchase authentic Sardinian ingredients (a must have to do any of these recipes justice), he also provides a short list of hotels and restaurants to get your actual travels to Sardinia a leg up in the right direction.

This book is such a breathtaking tribute to Sardinia and its culture, it is a must read even for those with no interest in cooking, it's that good!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Siobhan Darrow on February 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Everybody that comes to my house gets Sardinian food these days. The recipes are deceptively easy and fill my house with lusty, irristable aromas. The lamb stew, gorgonzola-asparagus pasta (which the author cooks on Martha Stewart show) and the pork tenderloin are staple dishes in my kitchen now. Plus the beautifully written book and pitcures transport me back to Sardinia and all my wonderful trips to that magical island. This is a special book that will be a part of my kitchen for a long time!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Holmes on July 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is not just another italian cookbook. It shares detailed stories of the author's homeland. I have visted Sardegna twice and fell in the love with the island, the people and of course the food. Now I am able to cook the dishes at home. Not only are the recipes delicious but fairly simple to make. The natural food and simplicity of life are described in this book. No wonder Sardegna has the world's longest living people. After reading his stories and sampling the recipes, you will want to visit Sardegna. I've purchased three books to give as gifts and everyone has enjoyed them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Deborah on August 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After visiting Sardinia this summer, I was so excited to find this cookbook to give to my daughters this Christmas. We were all so enthralled with this area of Italy and all of it's cuisine. This cookbook has recipes for many of the delicacies we loved while visiting there and is just simply a beautiful book -- many historical facts and wonderful pictures are included.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are not enough different Italian Cookbooks. Efisio does a great job. I love this book. There is also anotgher out now by Tino Rozzo. Cucina Del Paradiso.

[...]

It will probably be here in November, but can be had at Xlibris.

I have both books and enjoy, not the same recipes or literature either. Both books compliment each other.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bambie1 on January 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Beautiful colorplates and great, easy recipes make this book a treasure. It captures the essence of Mediterranean cooking, giving the "amateur" chef the opportunity to wow their guests.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By FOOD MAVEN on December 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I saw a review of the book in the Dallas Morning News. I had already purchased fregula, olive oil, bitter honey, and pane carasau from
gourmetsardinia.com. Now that I have the cookbook I have found new uses for these products. The recipes are easy and fast to prepare. I have made
the scallops with fregula, cauliflower and olives, polenta and sausage and can't wait to try more recipes.
Not only are the recipes good, but the book is beautiful as you would expect from a Rizzoli book. It doesn't read like a cookbook, but like a
memoir. You can tell that Mr. Farris is passionate about his island,and the women in his life.
Anyone who enjoys cooking should try this cookbook.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sara E. Perry on August 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Having lived in Sardinia for two years, this book had lovely descriptions of the day to day living and stories behind the recipes, in addition to recipes for classic foods I remember eating there over the course of our stay. It was a wonderful book, and although some ingredients may be hard to find here in the US, the author imports many of them and you could get them if you really tried. I recommend this book to someone who loves to cook and is a little more adventurous and knows their ingredients and techniques. Not for a novice to cook from, but inspirational to everyone who reads it. Will make you want to experience Sardinia for yourself~
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