Photography by Bob Krist
A delight to the senses in every way, the lavishly illustrated ‘In Tuscany’ is a celebration of life in this enchanting region of Italy. Here are photos to please the eye, recipes to tempt the tastebuds, but above all the prose of Frances Mayes and her poet husband, Ed; full of a vital and refreshing immediacy which never fails to capture the quintessence of this historic country. Whether it is a meal with friends, gathering olives or simply regarding the landscape, Mayes’ deft touch communicates effortlessly what she describes as ‘the turn of slow days in an ancient place’.
Following the highly successful ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ and ‘Bella Tuscany’, which told the story of the Mayes’ lovingly restored Italian home – Bramisole, this new book comes in 5 distinct sections. Each one covers a different aspect of Italian life: the Piazza, the focus of social interaction; la Festa, the yearly round of festivals, celebrations and saints’ days; il Campo, the fields; la Cucina, the kitchen; and la Bellezza, the beauty of the light, the countryside and the people. Throughout the book, photos of sweeping landscapes, rustic elegance and captivating faces are interspersed with personal experiences and reflections, plus, of course, drool-worthy recipes such as Silvia’s Torta di Ricotta and Wild Boar Stew. For myself I am definitely going to attempt Riccardo Barrachi’s Limoncello, a disarmingly easy DIY Lemon Liqueur.
‘In Tuscany’ is not a wine book, although wine is an integral part of Tuscan life and references to it are impossible to omit; there are mentions of Avignonesi Vineyards, Vino Nobile and that delectation for desserts, vin santo. But this charming stroll through a much-loved region is a book to linger over and savor, and as such it is sure to find a place in the hearts of aficionados of the Italian way of life everywhere.