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4.9 out of 5 stars79
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 25 September 2007
I've got tens of Italian cookbooks and this is the one I would fight to keep. It's all well and good having 40 recipes for courgettes a la 'Silver Spoon', but good food is so much more than join-the-dots recipes. It's about fantastic ingredients and people and ideas and places and inspiration and stories and passion. 'Made in Italy' is all of these things tied together with beautiful photography by the obscenely multi-talented Dan Leppard.

Technically, there isn't anything in here that a confident amateur couldn't tackle. Some of it is time consuming, as good food can be, but there's certainly nothing here on the timescale and complexity of a French cassoulet. Some of the recipes are involved, but I want that in a cookbook. If all you ever do is make bruschetta, minestrone and pasta al forno then you will eat well but your cooking will probably never improve. If you don't want a challenge and don't want to spend a happy Saturday afternoon in the kitchen hand-making tortellini or perfecting the epic cannoli di ricotta then fair enough. Stick with, say, 'Jamie's Italy': an excellent, easy to follow introduction to Italian cooking that covers all of the classics.

The recipes are all outstanding, as you would expect from a chef of Locatelli's reputation. He delights in passing on his expertise and writes with warmth, honesty and humour. What really shines is the depth of background information on ingredients and dishes, and the detailed explanations of why things are done just so. I learned more about risotto, for example, from 'Made in Italy' than from the rest of my Italian food books put together. It's this fundamental understanding of what a dish is about that will make you a better cook. Much better.

Locatelli uses authentic ingedients and this is how it should be. What fits the dish fits the dish. Not all of these ingredients are readily available from your local Happy Shopper but he usually suggests alternatives, for example substituting Sardinian Ovinfort cheese (Google hits 241) with Gorgonzola (3,710,000). Of course if you want to make bottarga salad then you're going to need a slab of bottarga and that's what the Internet is for. The book is north-centric and better for it. It specialises. Italian food is not just pasta, oil and tomatoes whatever Saturday Kitchen would have you think.

If you want a workhorse book of recipes then get 'Silver Spoon', or on a smaller scale Elizabeth David's 'Italian Food' or Oliver's 'Jamie's Italy'. 'Made in Italy' is so much more than a recipe book. If you want to come that bit closer to understanding Italy and its food and people then buy Locatelli's book, read it and love it.
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on 6 June 2008
I bought this book on a whim whilst on holiday and now find myself reading it from cover to cover. The whole concept is to put the food and the chef in context; the book reads like no other cookery book I have come across. A whole range of ingredients are explained in short essays throughout the book (eg olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parmesan etc). The recipes are split into starters, soups, risotto, fish, meat, pasta and deserts. In amongst the essays and recipes are wonderful photographs and short autobiographical vignettes from Locatelli.

I also have the excellent 'Sliver Spoon', but it is eclipsed by 'Made in Italy'. The former is a huge repository of recipes, listed in exhaustive detail. Locatelli's book on the other hand takes you back to the origins of the food, where it comes from, how it is produced and what to look out for in the market and deli. My wife is currently in food heaven - I find the recipes easy to follow and yes some of the ingredients are a little difficult to get (especially in the West Highlands!) but using your common sense you can easliy find substitutes.

This is without question an instant classic, destined to be a well used kitchen companion for the future. I like one posted idea of having one for the kitchen and one for the coffee table - I would add a third copy for an emergency present. Anyone who enjoys food will appreciate this book immensely. Now I only have to decide which recipe to attempt this weekend...........
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on 12 June 2011
I was lucky enough to be taken to Locanda Locatelli in London as part of a celebration, and was very impressed. The only problem with that is I then spent months wanting to go back and try everything else on the menu! As soon as I saw this book I knew I was going to buy it, but I was a little suprised by the size of the thing, it is huge!

It is one of of the best cook books I have ever had. The indepth writing on every subject is not just interesting and informative, but shows a huge amount of passion for the subject. Every time I pick up this book to flick through for a recipe I get sucked back in, and end up sitting back down for an hour just reading and staring at beautiful pictures. You aren't just offered a recipe for pasta, but a whole section of history and inspiration, as well as the practicalities of making the food itself.

Whilst some of the recipes aren't the simplest or quickest in the world, they are completely achievable for someone with a bit of spare time and a bit of confidence. It is very easy to follow, and every recipe I have made so far has worked really well. One of the dishes I ate at the restaurant is included too, so after comparing my attempts with those I had there, I have to conclude that the recipe is pretty accurate, even taking into account my lack of 'chefiness'!
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on 6 November 2006
This book will still be around when Jamie Oliver is just a dinner ladies' distant memory.

'Made In Italy' is densely packed with fascinating and insightful information regarding Italy and its food, for example there are 24 pages studying each aspect of just one dish - the classic risotto (then a further fifteen risotto recipes and even more variations).

But while this is a comprehensive book, it isn't complicated. Locatelli's charisma and style - so beloved of the celebrity set - oozes from the page, and the range of recipes is enough to turn you from non-chef, to sous-chef.

You get a sense that this a book which has been really honed (I read an interview with Locatelli that said he had been making it for five years), and is in marked contrast to the Gordon Ramsay/Jamie Oliver/Gary Rhodes method of releasing a book every six months as though it's a magazine. It's also really beautifully designed and photographed. It's a perfect gift for food lover - ideally you'd want one for the kitchen, and one for your coffee table.
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on 26 September 2006
I have not been able to put this book down (and believe me, it's very heavy!) since I received it a couple of weeks ago. It is a wonderful mixture of recipes, detailed descriptions of distinctive ingredients like parmesan, olive oil and pasta and stories and reminiscences from Giorgio's life. While it is eminently practical, it also includes recipes for many signature dishes from Locanda Locatelli as well as shortcuts and adaptations for cooking at home.

Along with Marcella Hazan's 'Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking', you could not have a better guide to Italian food.
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on 13 November 2006
This book is destined to be a classic. That is to say it will still be consulted by anyone interested in Italian food - or, indeed, food of any nationality - in the twenty-second century. It combines the history and geography of Italian food with the history and geography of Mr Locatelli in just enough detail not to be overbearing, together with hundreds of recipes - some simple, some not so simple.

If you have Made In Italy on your bookshelf you will need no other Italian cookery book - well, perhaps Elizabeth David; because both authors express a philosophy that is both useful and life-enhancing.

What a Christmas present !
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on 2 March 2013
this is not just a collection of recipes. There is also a wealth of information about ingredients, where they come from and how to use and combine them if you want to cook authentic Italian. As an Italian who grew up in central Italy I love the stories he tells in between the recipes, they feel so real and bring back so many fond memories! I had to smile reading how people used to bring their Lasagne to the village bakery to have them baked when they didn't have a modern oven at home yet.It made me remember how my beloved grandmother used to make huge batches of ciambelle and we would walk through the village carrying that enormous baking sheet to have them baked. Thank you Giorgio for that! If you want a collection of good recipes, a mixture of classics and very original dishes, this is a great book. In addition to that, you get a picture of what it was like to grow up in rural Italy 40-50 years ago and you will understand the country's culture much better. You will never put bolognese on spaghetti again!
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on 21 January 2012
Calling all Locatelli fans and I have been one for many years now - this is the book you've been waiting for. It's taken five years to put together, which is evident by its 600 plus pages, powerful biographical excerpts, and scores of beautiful Italian recipes.
In keeping with a traditional Italian menu, the book is divided up into antipasti, soup, pasta, risotto, fish, meat, and dessert. The recipes span the family food of Locatelli's childhood in Lombardy, all the way to the present day contemporary dishes available in his London restaurant, Locanda Locatelli.

Delicious winter warmers include Borlotti Bean Soup with Spelt, Classic Risotto with Grana Cheese, and Chargrilled Lamb with Peppers and Aubergine Purée. But there's also a fair share of impressive dinner party dishes, such as Swiss Chard Envelopes with Fontina, and Poached Peaches with Fresh Mint Nougat Glace and Amaretto Jelly.

At the beginning of each section, Locatelli gives us something close to an essay on how to choose and use the ingredients featured. For example, in the antipasti section he devotes two pages to vinegar. These pages are peppered with quirky facts, like that true balsamic vinegar is made not from wine but the must of the Trebbiano grape, then blended with aged wine vinegar and matured for at least twelve years.

True to Italian nature, Locatelli invites us into his home and opens up his life. He maps his love of food, revealing childhood memories of watching warm panettone hang in his uncle's pastry shop, to his pride in his first chef's jackets aged nine, and onto how he still puts into practice the cooking tips of his grandmother.

This is a rare insight into the techniques, ideas, and opinions of one of Britain's most respected chefs. It's a treasure you won't want to put it down, and believe me it's heavy!
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on 20 May 2008
Inspirational. One of the best cooking books I've bought in a long time. The combination of stories, recipes and product information sets the book apart from others. His passion really comes through in this book so much so that I enrolled on a 'pasta by hand' course soon after buying the book. I'm eagerly working through the recipes, all of which so far have been winners. Buy it now, you won't be disappointed.
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on 26 November 2006
This is a truly wonderful book - beautiful to look at and handle, absorbing to read, and most importantly, fantastically instructive.

This book isn't just about recipes, but conveys lucidly and with passion the philosophy of food and eating in Italy, and allows readers develop an understanding of this approach that can be applied to any cooking, and not just recipes from this book. The sections on key ingredients and techniques are particularly useful.

This is, as other reviewers have noted, as far removed from the Jamie Oliver/Gordon Ramsey/Gary Rhodes approach as it is possible to get - and I think, all the better and no less accessible for it.

Many of the recipes are more 'restaurant like' than most day to day Italian cooking - but the Silver Spoon covers that more than adequately - however, most of the recipes can be made as simpler versions too.

I had the good fortune to eat in Locanda Locatelli recently; I'm now fully convinced that the man can do no wrong - bravissimo!
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