By Manos Angelakis
Delicious Italian Food to Share
In most wine-drinking countries, no one drinks wine or any other alcoholic beverage without small portions of finger food to coat the stomach and stop the drinkers from becoming too inebriated. These tidbits can be as small and simple as kasseri cheese on a piece of bread or a slice of fresh tomato with a couple of cured olives, or as elaborate as a small plate to share with a friend of three or four meatballs cooked in tomato sauce, or a couple cooked mussels in wine sauce, or a portion of cuttlefish cooked in its own ink; and the list goes on and on.
Sitting around a table with friends, having a drink and munching on tidbits that are fresh and delicious while discussing the news, the weather, and politics is a very old tradition all around the Mediterranean. In Spain, it is tapas and pintxos; in Greece it is meze and in the Middle East it is mezze; in France it is canapés; in Venice and the areas around the Veneto is cicchetti.
Cicchetti are served in practically every bar, bŕcari and other eateries across Venice, whether the establishment serves workers for lunch or it is a Michelin starred restaurant. My friend, Conte Brandino Brandolini d’ Adda that owns “Naranzaria” by the Rialto, would never be caught without chiccetti while he quaffs his estate’s Vistorta, a lovely, award-winning Merlot wine.
The beautifully created and photo illustrated book “Cicchetti” offers more than 100 recipes on the small plates theme, written by Lindy Wildsmith and Valentina Sforza. The recipes utilize fresh, local products, simply cooked and served with a minimum of effort, for maximum taste. Both writers are highly experienced in Italian regional specialties.
Race Point Publishing ISBN-13; 978-1-93799-415-0
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