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Uneasy people with nascent, health-related resolutions dreading warmed-over, calorie controlled frozen dinners should know that the Mediterranean diet, with its super-fresh foods filled with advantageous fats, is a healthy, appetizing alternative. Here to help is the four-piece Italian Pantry Collection published in North America by The Wine Appreciation Guild and scheduled for release in February. All four books, Olive Oil, Pasta, Cheese and Prosciutto, are filled with vibrant, full-color photographs and are written by native food writers and cooking instructors. Each distinct food is coupled with a recipe, a map pointing out its production zone, nutritional information, its constituents, uses, variations and flavor. The authors also tell the life-story, part history part lore, of Italy's four most famous foodstuffs.
All olive oil is not the same. Like grapes, olives from different regions produce a different character. Authors Leonardo Romanelli and Gabriella Ganugi take us from Lombardy in the north to the southern island of Sicily sampling the oil of each region in between. They discuss how olive oil is made and how production methods differ from region to region. Included is a helpful chapter on choosing, serving and cooking with olive oil and all its variations. There's a section on how to make and bottle aromatic oils, preserves and uncooked sauces---great as gifts (and even better for personal use).
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