I adore books, and I love food. Inevitably then, I'm a bit of a sucker for a gorgeous cookery book. I have never stopped loving Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess, not only because it is crammed with so many delicious recipes, but also for her writing, and for the overall presentation; it is simply a lovely thing to hold, to read, to flick through and, of course, to use. The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook was my most recent kitchen-based acquisition - so far I've only tried the basic vanilla cupcakes, but my goodness, they were good! American style batter rather than English cake mix, and just too good to be true; three of us ate fourteen of them in one evening.
And now, today, I have purchased Tessa Kiros' Venezia. If you thought Apples for Jam and Falling Cloudberries were glam, you need to take a look at Venezia! It redefines opulence in the kitchen, with its gold trimmed pages and flourishing fonts, black velvet page-marker and reams of full colour and atmospheric black and white photographs of Venice itself. It is an advert for the city rather than for its food, though the sumptuousness of both are exploited to the full by Kiros. Many recipes involve meat - it is Italian, after all - although there are many fish dishes - understandably - and enough vegetarian risottos, antipasti and side dishes to make it a worthwhile buy (or gift) for non-meat eaters. The food itself is presented, as one would expect, beautifully, and one is left wondering if everyone in Venice perhaps really does eat from Baroque dining services! More than anything, though, Venezia makes one want to visit Venice, particularly at Carnevale. This is a genuinely high quality publication; cookbook as coffee-table book.