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The Tra Vigne Cookbook: Seasons in the California Wine Country Paperback – May 28, 2008


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The Tra Vigne Cookbook: Seasons in the California Wine Country + Bottega: Bold Italian Flavors from the Heart of California's Wine Country + At Home with Michael Chiarello: Easy Entertaining
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Reprint edition (May 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811863794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811863797
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"The closer your cooking stays to the seasons, the simpler--and better--your cooking will be." Michael Chiarello's mom told him that as he stood beside her at the stove, learning what a real Italian tomato sauce looks, smells, and sounds like as it cooks. Those lessons led him into the chef's life and his own restaurant in the heart of California's wine country, Tra Vigne. So it should come as no surprise that the subtitle of his lush cookbook, The Tra Vigne Cookbook is Seasons in the California Wine Country. And such is the organizing principle. Not only are the sections of the book divided into the four seasons, but the subsets include four ingredients key to each season: asparagus or garlic in spring, for example, or mushrooms and eggplant in fall.

Chiarello describes his own cooking style as "combining spectacular ingredients, professional technique, and imaginative presentations." He shows how to take this into your own home kitchen, in word and technique. A lot of the exceptional flavors he is able to muster come from the flavor enhancers he has put up in his pantry through the seasons--the flavored olives, the dried figs. To read his section on the pantry is to yearn for a dark, cool basement. "Take the time when you have it in order to reap the rewards later when you don't," Chiarello encourages.

The Tra Vigne Cookbook is a carefully layered dish of family reminiscence, tech tips, master recipes, and heartfelt yearnings for the seasons and the way they pass outside the windows of a country restaurant, the way they feel on the skin, the way they taste and smell. It's about attitude. Chiarello grabs it all and makes it accessible. The Tra Vigne Cookbook is a large-format, elegant book you will want to leave open on the table to flip through. Let your attention get caught up in it and carried away. Chiarello stays with the seasons, and his accomplishment is simpler and better as a result. And therein lies a world of glorious, flavorful complexity. --Schuyler Ingle --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Soulful, vibrant cuisine. The New York Times Magazine

[Chiarello] is the epitome of the new chef....He makes his own fresh Italian cheeses and sausages, cures meats such as salami and prosciutto, and has gone to Italy to buy an olive press to make his own oils. The Palm Beach Post --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
19
4 star
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See all 27 customer reviews
Most of them require more ingredients and preparation.
S. Hunter
I have had this book for over a year and have tried several of his recipes which all comes out great.
S. Wong
It's an attractive book, with beautiful photos and intriguing introductions to the recipes.
Timothy Himes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 92 people found the following review helpful By John Goecke on March 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I own over a 100 cookbooks. Generally after a couple of recipes I never touch the book again. However the Tra Vigne is the exception. I've cooked more than half of the recipes in the book and each one has been worth repeating. Any fan of Italian cooking seriously needs to include this book in their collection.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Himes on November 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've had the Tra Vigne Cookbook for a few years now, and I use it regularly. It's an attractive book, with beautiful photos and intriguing introductions to the recipes. It's hard to stop browsing once you open the book, and an inspiration to actually do some cooking. The dishes are great. The Chicken with Roasted Lemon and Rosemary Sauce is a favorite, as is the Fusilli Michelangelo. My niece from Thailand, for whom I made this dish several years ago, still remembers and asks for it. (Read the intro to either of these dishes and you're likely to cook them.)

The book is arranged seasonally, with chapters on essential ingredients for each season. Spring ingredients include asparagus, garlic, peas, and potatoes. Summer ingredients include corn, tomatoes, and bell peppers. And so on. I shop at a grocery store, not a farmers market, and I've had a less-than-happy relationship with vegetables since infancy, so I was skeptical of the whole seasonal-cooking thing at first. But I enjoy browsing through the new season's recipes as the year changes, and I've tried dishes and ingredients that are not usually a part of my diet. It's hard to object to broccoli when it's served in a creamy Very Green Soup sprinkled with crunchy gremolata.

It would have been nice in book a subtitled "Seasons in the California Wine Country" to have more information about wine. Few recipes actually use wine and there is no advice on what wines to pair with the food.

Despite the elegant presentations shown in the photos, none of the recipes are too difficult to try. They're just challenging enough for the amateur cook who likes to do a little more than the usual home cooking. The Tra Vigne Cookbook is a lot of fun, and the food is delicious.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For long, outstanding chefs have encouraged us to shop and get the very freshest ingredients of the season, and then cook around them.
Here a master chef California Wine style aids us with just such a presentation of the four seasons based on produce of that season.
As I just purchased this and am in winter, tried the winter dishes and achieved spectacular results without extreme fuss. Flavors are intense and bold. Lemon-baked Sea Bass and Spinach Salad and Pumkin Polenta with Lamb Stew have certainly warmed up the winter blast at our table.
Format is wide, broad book, usually flanked by full-page photo of presentation next to recipe. Love this format since it lays so wonderfully on the counter cooking and is not tiny print.
This is truly a cookbook to go through the seasons with, cooking excellent, intensely flavored gourmet Italian, Meditterrean food.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Jack Dempsey on August 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
To those already in the know, would you expect anything less from such an incredible place?
Of course not.
To those considering, consider no further. This book is IT! Why? Well:
Superb graphic design--almost worthy of the price of admission in itself.
The recipes--Absolutely perfect for implementing your own Pavlovian experiments. One almost begins salivating just thinking about the contents of the book.
The difficulty (of the above)--Minimally difficult. At times, the recipes can become a bit vexing for those who have only dabbled exclusively in (a) stir-fry; (b) deep-fried anything; (c) shake n' bake; or, (d) Stouffer's. Joking aside, some of the recipes are difficult. Most however, a very well suited to the novice chef.
The dialogue--Excellent. I can close my eyes and be in the courtyard...having those wonderful smells waft to and fro...the feel of the crisp air...particularly when there is that ever-so-slight chill in the air. Michael's wonderful abilities are no longer limited to the kitchen. They never were, mind you, however now others can realize that. The book will bring to mind an array of images and memories in a strikingly Steinbeck-ian, Hemingway-ian, Calvino-ian, or [insert your favorite author here]-ian way.
Get this book. It, in many very real ways, is more than a book of recipes.
You will enjoy it.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
An excellent cookbook for someone who loves to cook. The recipes I've tried turn out very much like the dishes served at the restaurant. The recipes are easy to follow but can be complicated; not for a novice cook. The photographs are beautiful and the suggestions to adjust the dish according to the climate/season are useful. This book continues to be one of the ones I always reach for when wondering what to make for a special dinner.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By S. Wong on April 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have had this book for over a year and have tried several of his recipes which all comes out great. It is one of the few cookboos that I have which I use often. The recipes are easy to follow, simple, and most important of all, delicious. I espcially like the stuffed pepper recipe. It is also a book one can sit down to read for leisure. Plus there are lots of tips, not just recipes.
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