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Umbria: Regional Recipes from the Heartland of Italy Paperback – March 1, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The central Italy region of Umbria offers earthy dishes heavy on black truffles and pork products, and della Croce (The Vegetarian Table: Italy) manages to do it justice in this slim cookbook that serves as a useful overview. Chapters are clearly organized but brief: a chapter on breads includes only five recipes, one of them a master recipe used in the others. First courses include soup made with the famous lentils of Castelluccio and Spaghetti alla Norcina with reconstituted dried porcini mushrooms, sweet sausage and cream. For a land-locked region, Umbria offers a surprising number of fish and shellfish dishes, using locally found items such as snails and trout from freshwater streams. Ingredients sometimes seem impractical or out of reach: Trout with Truffles calls for two black truffles. Photographs are enticing, and della Croce scatters bits of Umbrian history and folklore throughout. Her prose is awkward in places, though, and there are strange touches, like a description of ordering trota ai ferri in Todi that is, for no discernible reason, presented in the form of a letter to the author's daughters. A selection of three desserts, a recipe for hot chocolate and another for candied orange peel (not used in any of the three dessert recipes) makes for an odd finale. After an abbreviated guide to hotels and restaurants and a hazy list of local festivals, the author lists a handful of cooking schools, and takes the opportunity to plug her own classes.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Umbria is one of the undiscovered regional treasures of Italy. Julia della Croce's in-depth yet familial style has captured the essence of the Umbrian table. Umbria is a must-have for anyone serious about Italy and its food."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1St Edition edition (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811823512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811823517
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julia della Croce is a journalist, author and teacher. She is regarded as a leading authority on Italian cooking and "one of the country's top-flight cookbook writers" - New York Newsday, 1995.

As a restaurant critic, book reviewer, syndicated columnist and correspondent her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines including The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The New Yotk Times Magazine, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Chicago Tribune, COOK'S, New York Newsday, Food & Wine, COOK'S ILLUSTRATED, TIME (Canada) and Art & Antiques.

Julia della Croce is the author of 13 books, the latest are Italian Home Cooking and The Pasta Book. She has been broadcast extensively on American, Canadian and British radio and has made many appearances on national and regional television. She has also been featured on Italian and Japanese television.

The recognition she has received includes an award in 1992 by The James Beard Foundation distinguishing her as one of "America's Best Cooking Teachers." In 1993, she was honored for her contribution to Italian culinary literature at the Italian Embassy in Washington D.C. Her fourth book, The Vegetarian Table: Italy, was nominated for a James Beard Award in 1994. In 1999, she won the prestigious Diplome d'Honneur of France for the French language translation of her sixth book, La bonne cuisine italienne (Solar, Paris). In 2003, her book, Veneto, was nominated "Best Italian Cuisine Book" at the World Cookbook Awards in Spain.

Julia della Croce has lectured about the history of Italian cooking and culture for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in Philadelphia, N.A.S.F.T in New York and San Diego, The New York Culinary Historians, the American Institute of Wine and Food, and other prestigious trade and educational institutions.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Susan on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having just returned from eating our way through Umbria and Tuscany this book was like reliving everything we'd experienced. The recipes were simple, fresh and filling. the photography and text captured the essence of Umbria completely. A joy of a cookbook for those who enjoy cooking with fresh, healthy ingredients.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark Webb on June 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
The sights, sounds, and aromas of the diverse regions of Italy are the things memorable vacations, travel videos, and cookbooks are made of. When done properly, dishes virtually leap of the page and onto your plate. But when the cooking starts and the unique elements of Umbrian cuisine waft through your home, you realize that purchasing Julia Della Croce's book was a very very good idea. Beautifully illustrated with photographs by John A. Rizzo, this book provides easy to follow recipes and just enough back stories to make any meal you prepare even more special. For a dinner with friends, we prepared the Pasta with Asparagus Sauce as a second course followed by the Stewed Salt Cod with Tomatoes, Raisins, and Pine Nuts served at the table in a large paella pan. For those who wanted meat, we served the Lamb Fricco.

Some of the entries are both complicated and potentially impractical for a family with time demands. The beauty of this book, however, is that each dish is placed in a context as if we were invited to a family table in this region to savor this cooking. This allows for a certain level of creativity and substitutions that make virtually every dish approachable even if not exactly prepared according to the recipe. Is this the first Italian cookbook you should buy? No. But because of its exceptional presentation of this region, you should carefully consider it for the second.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Hanson on April 28, 2013
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My mother was from Perugia and as a child and young adult, I have spent many summers and one winter in Perugia soaking up the local color and wonderful food of my grandmother and aunt who lived there. My mother left after the war and even though she was no long a local Perugian, her cooking never lost it's spark as the food is so awesome in that region. I still have many relatives in that city and all their homes were always perfumed with the aromas of their simple but yet creative cooking utilizing wonderful herbs and fresh, fresh products. My grandmother and her three sisters were famous in the city for their cooking as many Nonnas of that generation were...everything was made by hand with loving care and an all day cooking extravaganza was an every day event. I can remember as a kid going into either my aunt's or my grandmother's kitchen and smelling the deliciousness of what was to come. Things are different now-a-days because of the way we live, but there are still pockets of people in Italy who still take the long road to food development and utilize simple yet fabulous ingredients. This book will tempt your taste buds but you really should indulge yourself and take that trip to Umbria (Perugia..for me) in order to really know what it is all about! Buon Appetito!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CJArt on March 11, 2012
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I had recently been to Umbria and loved the food so I searched for a cookbook about Umbrian food. There are very few available, but this one is good. The recipes do seem authentic and there are nice photos to go with the recipes.
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