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The Heart of Sicily: Recipes and Reminiscences of Regaleali, A Country Estate Hardcover – October 26, 1993


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Many cookbooks tempt, inform, and inspire. A few capture the essence of a place, but rarely does a cookbook communicate the very soul of a place. Anna Tasca Lanza's telling of life at Regaleali, the vast estate that has belonged to her family since 1830, is so vivid that you feel her sitting next to you, talking and turning the pages of The Heart of Sicily as if it were a photo album.

Tasca Lanza provides enough information about Sicily's complex history and rich culture to help you understand the special nature of Regaleali and what her noble family--rich with barones, principessas, and contessas--has created. Under their stewardship, this working estate has become an international cooking school. It is also the place where Tasca Lanza pursues her passion for preserving the abundant culinary and cultural traditions of Sicily.

You will appreciate the years Tasca Lanza took to make the intense flavors of Sicilian food come through using ingredients readily available in the United States. Many recipes are short and simple, relying on seasonal ingredients, as in Pasta con le Zucchine Fritte (Pasta with Fried Zucchini) and Melanzane a Cotoletta (Breaded Eggplant Cutlets). There are recipes for all of the major traditional Sicilian dishes, from Caponata, Involtini di Pesce Spada (Swordfish Rolls) and Pasta con le Sarde (Pasta with Fresh Sardines) to Sfincione (Sicilian Pizza) and Cassata, marzipan-coated cheesecake decorated with candied fruit.

From the Inside Flap

In a warm, witty text and more than 125 photographs, a Sicilian aristocrat shares her world with us, describing the land and depicting country life in an exquisite book destined to become a classic. Illustrated with extraordinary photographs by Franco Zecchin that capture the rigor and beauty of Sicily, this is an inspiring cookbook for anyone who loves food. Full-color photographs.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1st edition (October 26, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517589613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517589618
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.8 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #765,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Bill Marsano on December 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
By Bill Marsano. 1993 was a landmark year for cookbooks: That was the year Contessa Anna Tasca Lanza published "The Heart of Sicily." Long out of print, it is now restored to us at last. Cause for rejoicing! The Contessa seldom uses her title; in fact, she prefers to be known for her cooking and her cooking school. And so she is--internationally. The importance of her title is only this: It ties her to Regaleali, the great estate that has been at the heart of Sicily for centuries--since the time, in fact, of the Arab conquest, when the place was known as Rahal-Ali or Village of Ali. Sicilian cooking isn't "Italian cooking"--it's one of the 20 or so related cuisines to be found in Italy, and it is at the same time the most and least original. Most because it is so little akin to any of the others; least because it's really a composite, developed from so many other source cuisines: Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman, French, Spanish. Still, it's not exactly a mystery because so many of the 19th-Century immigrants to America were Sicilians, and their food was, for many of us, the first "Italian food" we tasted. The book naturally follows a seasonal menu--Regaleali, though mostly a winery, remains enough of a farm to grow most of its own food. Also, since the sea in Sicily is never far away, there is much to be made of anchovies and swordfish and tuna. Finally, since we are in Sicily, the sweets and pastries are breath-taking. The Contessa is a non-nonsense cook, I was relieved to find. For all her fame and stature she is perfectly content with boullion cubes, noting only that pepper and especially salt must be added with great care at the end of cooking to avoid over-seasoning.Read more ›
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Cowan on July 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Anna Tasca immerses you in the daily life of her noble, progressive, very close knit family whose life revolves around enjoying food, wine and each other's company and love. You feel like you're by their sides through all the seasons in the kitchen and on the land on their Regaleali estate. As you drool over the recipes of each season, from simple to exotic to complicated, from traditional to more modern, you feel Anna is chatting away with you. On things like how she and a team made tomato extract from 4000 pounds of tomatoes over 10 days, how her family expanded their wine business (her mum went from restaurant to restaurant selling 130,000 bottles one year), how important citrus is in Sicilian cooking (some wonderful recipes like Citrus Risotto!), how their shepherds make cheese, how they all celebrate the end of the harvest and new wine (same menu every year, her parents start the dancing). I'm an average cook so I stick to the easier recipes and dream of going to Sicily again to taste the others! A delightful book!....
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on May 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Anna Lanza heartfelt look at Italian culture and cruisine was splendid because of her personal view of Sicily. The photos contained in the book were so beautiful (and there were so many)! I have made several of the recipes and they were easy to follow and turned out exceptional.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank on September 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
La TAVOLA: Adventures and Misadventures of Italian American New Yorker's This is a wonderful book. It's filled with great recipes, wonderful stories and beautiful pictures. It's a gem, but out of print and quite expensive now. If you'd like to read a great book with wonderful stories of Sicily, Italian-America and Sicilian American food, I just came across a wonderful book by New York Italian-American author Daniel Bellino Zwicke called "La Tavola" Italian-American New Yorkers Adventures of The Table .. I highly reccomend it as well of Tasca's "The Heart of Sicily" if you can find it for $30 or less, but not $84 and up. Basta!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MG on November 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
OMG! I cannot say enough about this book. It seems unfair to just call it a cookbook, because dispersed amongst the wonderful recipes are Anna's stories, and snippets of Sicilian history. I am savoring it!
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By Joe Bennett on December 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book nineteen years ago on my 50 birthday. It sits proudly on the baker's rack for all to see. Purchase this book if only for the Caponata recipe, which I make every December 28th in double batches for a large feast we have to celebrate our anniversary. I saw the daughter Fabrizia's YouTube version of the recipe and I am saddened that it's not the same.

I wish I could have visited Regaleali during Anna Tasca's lifetime.
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By James L. Barber on August 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Terrific book.Great pictures and stories. The real Sicily.
Not just about cooking, but about life in Sicily. Loved it. Great read.
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