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on 26 May 2008
Being a food lover and a keen traveler it is a battle to find a travel guide which will give me the depth of information that I would like about both the area and the food. Beth Elon has produced the perfect combination for anyone like me. She combines simple day trip driving routes around the beautiful Tuscan countryside (with views to look at, churches to visit and villages to wander through) with incredible restaurants. She mixes expensive, grand restaurants with small, rustic ones where you will be the only foreigner but will feel welcomed as an honoured guest. In all the places that I ate in on my last trip I didn't have a singe bad meal in fact, given the chance I would go back and have every single one again and again. The only draw back is that because some of the places listed are very local they are also quite hard to find - so except maybe a bit of driving around looking for the restaurant. Then again, you get to see far more of the countryside that way, so it is not all bad.

After each restaurant entry (complete with address, pricing bracket and directions) Beth provides a wonderful chatty style summary of the style of place, food and owner. More importantly to any foodies out there she also includes at least one of the restaurants staple dishes so that you can go home and re-produce the fantastic food you ate.

I cannot rate this book highly enough if you are planning to visit the Florence area. Read, travel, eat, enjoy!
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on 28 June 2008
I love this book. It's an unusual mixture, a hard book to categorise, but that's its stength. For many who come to Tuscany it's the perfect mixture as the great food and beautiful scenery combined are such a part of the pleasure. Beth Elon suggests driving routes with places to see along the way, then explains the food specialities of each area,lists special places to eat, then gives a few sample recipes from each restaurant. One of the real strengths is the local specialities information, as it really highlights some of traditions and how food can be unique to a particular small location not just 'Tuscany' as a larger region. We have found the restaurants that we've tried from the book to be just as described, with excellent, good value food and have found thanks to the book some wonderful, but out of the way places that we would probably never have discovered by ourselves. For those for whom food is key part of the holiday or for those who want to find out about the less touristed parts of Tuscany 'off the beaten track' as the sub-title states, this is a great book. It also serves a duel function of being a good read before a trip for planning and getting in the mood but also useful to bring along for routes, places to see and places to eat when you're actually in Tuscany (if travelling by car, not a public transport oriented book) If, like me, you plan your days out around a good lunch, then it's the ideal book!
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on 3 August 2011
I bought Tasting Tuscany for my husband just before our trip to the region in July as we love Italian food and wanted to explore places off the beaten track, not crowded with tourists.

Unfortunately, we didn't realise just how far some places were from where we were staying, and on one occasion underestimated the time it would take to go UP - and down a mountain - in order to try one venue. We had to make much of the climb in first gear with sheer drops. (This journey was described as something akin to meandering in the book!) When we arrived at 3:10 in the afternoon, we were told they were no longer serving lunch. Disappointed, we travelled via another village listed in the book, and although their restaurant was also closed, they offered to serve us a simple Tuscan minestrone soup with bread which I have to say was absolutely delicious!

The one restaurant famous for its truffles did not disappoint. As my husband was desperate for his truffle "fix" I telephoned and booked for lunch. The drive was through a prettier, more undulationg part of Tuscany and we passed beautiful fields of sunflowers in bloom on our way to the restaurant. The meal was divine - antipasti was a selection of 13 little dishes, including 2 burners - one of which had truffle cream and the other chicken liver pate, served with warm fresh bread. The main course was steak (cooked to perfection) with shaved truffles and was sublime. The red wine complemented the dish perfectly.

During our 10 days we tried out 3 venues from the book and would definitely take it with us when we visit the region again as there are many places which appeal, plus of course many recipes to try at home too.
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on 21 April 2009
This is a really useful guide. It lists some excellent restaurants that we would otherwise have missed. It also contains sample recipes.
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on 28 February 2010
As it says in the title-little known restaurants and trattorias in less obvious and touristy places. Good descriptions of how to reach them and sights along the way. Some of the popular recipes from each of the places also included-a real chance for the reader to experience casa linga and also explore all of Tuscany, not just the hotspots. The real heart of Italy-local and typical cucine.
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on 25 September 2010
Some realy special places reviewed here with interesting driving itineries. The recipes from the osterias are great, A travel guide, a food guide & a recipe book of Tuscany!!
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on 6 August 2011
This item was lost in the post along with other items and was promptly replaced, without have had to go though complicated questions about how or where I lived.
Amazon gives a great service. This book is a gem for anybody who likes Italian food but particularly for anybody who also lives in Tuscany
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on 24 October 2011
Tasting Tuscany seems to be a well researched (though now quite old) and interesting read with some good recipes. However on our visit to Tuscany last month when we were staying and touring , from Greve in Chianti, in and around the Chiant area unfortunately there were no useful restaurant recommendations for our part of Tuscany.
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on 2 April 2015
Lovely book, full of recipes and descriptions of idyllic Tuscany, can't wait to go!
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on 14 January 2007
I buy many books, but not often cookbooks. This winter, I changed this pattern and bought Beth Elon's book, Georgio Locatelli's amazing blockbuster, and River Cafe Cookbook Easy. A feast of Christmas reading. But my feelings of pride and happiness are for Beth's very personal approach. I hope that Locatelli and Gray/ Rogers will visit her. They will enjoy themselves with such a personable, beautiful woman in a very special location - and learn a lot too! There is an excellent B & B nearby.
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