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Venezia: Food and Dreams Hardcover – September 15, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

No one captures the spirit and soul of a place quite like Tessa Kiros. She was born in London, to a Finnish mother and a Greek-Cypriot father. The family moved to South Africa when she was 4, and at the age of 18 Tessa set off to travel and learn all she could about the world’s cultures and traditions, and new ways of living and eating. She has cooked at London’s The Groucho Club and in Sydney, Athens, and Mexico. On a trip to Italy to study the language and food, she met her husband, Giovanni. They now live in Tuscany, with their two children.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0740785168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0740785160
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born to a Finnish mother and a Greek-Cypriot father, Tessa Kiros grew up learning about the world's diverse cultures and traditions. She has worked in restaurants in Sydney, Athens, and Mexico, and at London's famous Groucho Club. Tessa is the author of Venezia: Food and Dreams, Apples for Jam: A Colorful Cookbook and Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes, both from Andrews McMeel Publishing. She lives in Tuscany with her husband and two daughters.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Charles G. Thompson on March 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Venezia: Food & Dreams is a love letter to Venice. Reading it and cooking from it is a bit like looking at a Caravaggio painting. The dreamlike colors of the photos, the lovely setting of Venice, the simple yet forthright recipes. This book is written, photographed and designed in a dreamlike fashion; one that is so often associated with Venice. Tessa Kiros knows her subject well. In addition to the wonderful recipes, Kiros sprinkles in her thoughts, and comments; her experiences in the city in the form of poetic moments. Many of the photos are of the city itself and its citizens, or of the colorful buildings, or of Carnival; not only of food and recipes. This book is one of the most beautiful cookbooks I have come across in a long time. And the food and recipes, as I came to find out, are as delicious as the book is beautiful.

Kiros divides the book into sections that mirror an Italian menu: Antipasti, Zuppa/Pasta/Gnocchi, Risotto, Secondi, Contorni, and Dolci -- with additional sections on Essential Recipes and Cicchetti, small bites unique to Venice. As she unfolds the sections she weaves in her thoughts and comments about Venice, about a dish, a little history, or a moment in time. In one she describes trying to stand up in a gondola like the Venetians do; feet apart to steady yourself so you won't fall down. She mentions that a sure sign of a tourist is one who sits versus stands. Standing up allows more people to ride. I loved reading this. I laughed when I saw in the front of the book in the Essential Recipes section that the first entry is Polenta with recipes for both 'fast' (using instant) and 'slow' preparations. I like that it's the first thing you see and that she offers both ways of cooking the dish. It's a nice starting point.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bundt Lust TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'd previously reviewed Tess Kiros's Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes, and in anticipation of a trip to Venice next year, I was anxious to explore her "Venezia: Food and Dreams." As another reviewer pointed out, this is a beautiful *coffee table* book; gilt edges, two black ribbon bookmarks sewn in, dramatic photographs, and metallic gold-on-white print (which makes it hard to read in bright light). The recipe introductions are written in italics, which also made it hard to read (the recipes themselves are in New Roman). As a cookbook, I don't see myself using this too often in the kitchen. Granted, Tess covers staples like polenta (several variations) and pasta, but many of the seafood dishes (which make up the bulk of the book) were too exotic for me (either in the preparation or the ingredients). The staples of Venice are all here, especially salted cod (baccala), pork with milk, brasato con amarone, and eel. Seafood examples include fish carpaccio (yes, like sashimi, these are ultra-thin slices of raw fish with pink peppercorns), eel, and preparations of baby octopus, along with clams, crab and squid. There are gnocchi and risottos (seafood, vegetable) and pastas (including squid ink, which I love from living in Spain), vegetable side dishes, and desserts. The recipes are arranged as in an Italian meal, starting with the Venetian equivalent of tapas (cicchetti), followed by antipasti, zuppa/pasta/gnocchi, risotto, secondi, contorni, and dolci. Several drink recipes (including the bellini, pomegranate, and Rossini) are also included.Read more ›
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By JB on January 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As noted in most other reviews for Venezia: Food and Dreams, this could make a splendid coffee table book that may not necessarily ever see the interior of a kitchen. But are the gold trimmed pages, gold text, silken bookmark, and pictures of costumed Venetians from the Carnevale di Venezia hallmarks of a "work of art" or just a bit of pretentious fluff? I'm not really sure.

As for its second purpose as an Venetian cookbook, I have not had the pleasure of traveling to Venice and have to accept the authenticity of the recipes presented, but a disappointing percentage of the included dishes either use ingredients that may be difficult to find in typical American markets (fresh anchovies, guinea fowl) and/or may not appeal to American tastes (squid stewed with ink, eel fillets, beef tongue). Now I don't mean to blame the author for the lack of variety in American supermarkets or the lack of curiosity of the typical American palate, but perhaps the author should have included reasonable substitutes for some of these ingredients. And when I have to search the internet to determine exactly what the author means by "peperoncino" (and I'm still not exactly sure what it is) then perhaps a better index or a glossary is in order.

But as I continue to peruse this book I do appreciate how the prominence of seafood makes this a good complement to the typical "Italian" dishes thought of by most people. In all Food and Dreams is not the best guidebook for Italian cooking, but does present an interesting regional variation, and if you desire, serve as a colorful book for one's table as well.
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