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Biba's Taste of Italy: Recipes from the Homes, Trattorie and Restaurants of Emilia-Romagna Hardcover – 1 Mar 2001

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company; 1 edition (Mar. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688158153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688158156
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 3 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"There is no one who can capture the food and soul of Emilia-Romagna like my dear friend, Biba Caggiano. Some of Italy's best fresh pasta hails from this region and Biba shares these and other wonderful recipes in her newe cookbook, "Biba's Taste of Italy. If you love Italy and Italian food, this is a must-have cookbook."-- Lidia Bastianich, author of "Lidia's Italian Table"Reading "Biba's Taste of Italy made me want to jump on a motorbike and explore Emilia-Romagna with Biba. Everything sounds so appealing. I want to follow her everywhere and shop in the markets, meet the cooks, and taste the food."-- Michele Scicolone, author of "A Fresh Taste of Italy"The region, Emilia-Romagna, is blessed with such delectables as prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar. Those who can never own too many Italian cookbooks will welcome the familiar fare. These authentic recipes demonstrate why Italian food remains one of the world's most irresistible cuisines."-- "Publisher's Weekly

About the Author

Bolognese by birth and upbringing, BIBA CAGGIANO is the author of the award-winning Northern Italian Cooking and Modern Italian Cooking. She has taught Italian cooking in the United States and Italy, and is the chef-owner of Biba restaurant in Sacramento, California.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have glanced through this book, bought at my wife's request. I don't like Italian food as there is always garlic (ugh) and mushrooms (fungus) in most of the recipes. But I did find a few tolerable ones in here though. To be fair, this looks an excellent cookery book for anyone who actually likes Italian food and the recipes look authentic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x99a9d234) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99f6b570) out of 5 stars Biba Rocks! 11 Sept. 2002
By Spastic Mutant - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book as a Christmas gift from my father, who even took the time to bring it to Biba at her restaurant in Sacramento (Biba's) so she could autograph it to me. Anyway, the very first recipe I tried, the sauteed halibut with olives, capers and tomatoes, turned out PERFECTLY. I've never had halibut so wonderfully and perfectly sauced. The treatment of the halibut meant it turned out exceptionally well textured, tender and flavorful, but not over or under cooked. My dinner date was extremely impressed. He actually thinks I can cook - well even! I'd like to take credit for it, but I can't. Since then, every other recipe from this book I've tried has also turned out successfully.
My main regret is that I didn't make more sauce, as I could have eaten twice as much of it. When not devouring the halibut, we were both frantically scooping any extra sauce onto the slices of rustic loaf Italian bread I baked earlier in the day - but that's another recipe.
The only additional item I would like to have seen is a wine pairing suggestion. But, I'm perfectly capable of figuring that out for myself, and rather enjoy the challenge. I chose a high quality light Red Zinfandel (1999 Fiddletown Lot 1 Red Zinfandel from Sobon Estate). Ordinarily it might be considered a little heavy for fish, but it balanced well with the glorious sauce in this recipe.
Biba Rocks!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99f6b774) out of 5 stars A dispatch from the International Food Central 18 Jan. 2004
By B. Marold - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This sixth book from Biba Caggiano concentrates on `Recipes from the Homes, Trattorie, and Restaurants of Emilia-Romagna', which makes it a long dispatch from International FOOD CENTRAL. There is probably no other similarly sized region on earth with so many world class foodstuffs. At the top of the list stands Parmigiano-Reggiano, Balsamic Vinegar, and Prosciutto de Parma followed by a long tradition of salume, wines, and classic ragu and pasta recipes. The interest of the region is doubled by the fact that Emilia and Romagna have two different cuisines. The former is more traditional and is based primarily on butter. The latter is more adventuresome, more seafood, and more olive oil. This all contributes to a major head start for this book as a major culinary resource.
Ms. Caggiano is a native of Bologna and still has a substantial family living in and around the city, so her recipes have a certain cachet, which may be missing from the average Italian cookbook. Her chapter subjects are very traditional, being:
Savory Breads and Savory Fritters
Risotto, Gnocchi, and Polenta
Poultry and Meat
Cakes, Tarts, Fritters, Biscotti, Ice Cream, and Fruit Desserts
While it may not be an entirely fair comparison, I matched this volume to Lydia Bastianich's book `Lydia's Italian Kitchen'. Although Ms. Bastianich is covering all of Italy, her strength is in northern Italy, as is Ms. Caggiano. Both books have about 400 pages at $30 for Ms. Lydia and $38 for Ms. Biba. The indexes for both books are friendly to both Italian impaired and those who know and relish all the lovely Italian names for recipes. Ms. Bastianich takes the slightly more scholarly approach of having complete duplicate listings with separate listings, for example, of `frico con ripieno di patate e funghi' and `potato and mushroom filling for frico'. Ms. Caggiano gives the Italian name with a reference to the English translation, as in `cacciatora, see hunter-style'.
The two books give almost identical coverage to major topics such as gnocchi. I would give a slight edge to Ms. Lydia for her gnocchi, although I will concede that differences in recipes may be due to regional differences. For some reason, Ms. Lydia includes egg in her potato gnocchi and Ms. Biba does not. To break the tie, I referred to Waverly Root's book on Italian cuisine. He says a very little egg is typically included. Mario Batali's book on Emilia-Romagna gives a potato recipe almost identical to that of Ms. Lydia. Ms. Biba does have some recipes such as cacciatora style dishes, ragu Bolognese, and baccala (salt cod) that are not in Ms. Lydia's book.
In general, I believe Ms. Lydia gives more complete instructions on general topics such as artichokes, although their treatments of fresh pasta seem comparable. I would really like to have both available, as it is clear that both know what they are doing.
Sidebars and headnotes in the two books are equally entertaining, with no overlap. If Ms. Biba's book were the only one available on the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna, I would welcome both books on my bookshelf. At the moment, I know of no other book, which claims to cover the whole province. Mario's book, 'Simple Italian Food' only covers recipes from a single trattoria on the boundary of Toscana and Emilia-Romagna. To those without any Italian cookbook, I would recommend Ms. Lydia's book, as it claims to cover the whole country. To those with a good general Italian cookbook, Ms. Biba provides a delightful supplement.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99f6ba44) out of 5 stars Biba Does It Again! 12 April 2001
By Deb Mele - Published on
Format: Hardcover
When it comes to Italian cooking, Biba Caggiano ranks right up there with the best of the best. Biba is the author of such previous books as Biba's Italian Kitchen, Italy al Dente, Northern Italian Cooking, Modern Italian Cooking, and one of my favorites, Trattoria Cooking. In this newest book, Biba has once again written a book that will delight anyone interested in Italian Cuisine. In Biba's Taste Of Italy, Biba returns to her roots, sharing recipes and stories of her beloved Emilia-Romagna. This region is well known for creating some of Italy's best recipes, including rich, meaty sauces, delicate stuffed pastas, bread thickened soups, succulent seafood and many more. The book offers more than 250 assorted recipes from antipasti to dessert.
Emilia-Romagna is famous for such ingredients as balsamic vinegar from Modena, prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, and of course Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. These important regional ingredients are discussed in an early chapter, and then can be found used in recipes throughout the book. The chapters are divided into the usual cookbook categories such as Antipasti, Soups, Seafood etc., but each chapter begins with an introduction of the recipes and ingredients specific to the region. For example, in Antipasti, Biba describes the popularity of serving a platter of cured meats, or affettati, including such meats as prosciutto, mortadella, coppa, and salame to name a few.
The recipes in this book have a home style simplicity, using popular, easy to find ingredients. Many of these recipes are family favorites from Biba's childhood spent in Bologna, while others were collected while visiting small, country tratorie, and family style restaurants. Novice cooks to experienced chefs will enjoy this book, as there are simple recipes consisting of a few ingredients which can be put together in minutes, to more complex, recipes such as the recipe for Minestrone Of Modena which lists over 21 ingredients. Interspersed throughout the recipes, are short paragraphs containing cooking tips, regional facts, and helpful hints.
Since this book has only been recently released, I haven't had the chance to make many of the recipes yet, but the ones I have made were wonderful. The Gratineed Asparagus And Prosciutto couldn't be simpler, yet is perfect as an antipasto or as a vegetable side dish. Biba's Maltagliati con Fagioli, or Pasta And Bean Soup was very tasty, and was even better reheated the next day. The dessert chapter, contains everything from cakes, tarts, biscotti, ice cream and fruit dishes. One of my favorite dessert recipes I tried, was Emma's Pastry Ring, or Ciambella, which was very similar to a family recipe I make every Easter.
This book will go on the shelf with my favorite cookbooks, and I am looking forward to seeing Biba's next book! As someonme who owns more than 150 Italian cookbooks, and shares their own passion for Italian food on my website Italian Food Forever, I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in Italian regional cuisine, particularly from Emilia-Romagna.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99f6b5d0) out of 5 stars A VARIED MENU OF TASTY AND ELEGANT FOODS 18 Oct. 2009
By David Keymer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Our favorite restaurant locally is Biba's in Sacramento. I't named after its owner and head chef Biba Caggiano, who is still, after almost forty years, a formidable presence there. The restaurant itself is attractive, the service good but it's the food that makes it exceptional. We lived in Dubai for three years (2001-4) and one of the few cookbooks I took with me when I went there was Biba's Modern Italian Cooking (1992) --I cooked extensively from it. Biba came from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy forty years ago. This book, her latest, I believe, is a cook's tour of the varied and rich cuisine of that region. Like her other books, this one is well laid out. The recipes are always easy to follow. The more complicated recipes may take time to make but the results make it worthwhile. Biba's comments on life and eating in the Emilia-Romagna are refreshing. The only caveat: this book is not, and is not intended to be, a compendium of the essential Italian recipes. There are other cookbooks for that. What it offers is a collection that is varied enough in taste and ingredients to satisfy the most exacting home chef. Does that sound like I like it? Well, I do. A lot. It's fun to read and to use in the kitchen.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99f6bfc0) out of 5 stars Excellent reference of Emilia-Romagna cuisine 19 Oct. 2010
By Kim - Published on
Verified Purchase
Biba's Taste of Italy is not only one of the few cookbooks devoted entirely to the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna, but it is a thorough, well-written reference to this area's rich culinary heritage. Lots of tips for success, clearly written recipes, and good anecdotes.
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