The Austin Chronicle

Culinary Dream Team

Texas authors headline the book fest Cooking Tent

By Jessi Cape, October 26, 2012, Food

A Family Farm in Tuscany: Recipes and Stories From Fattoria Poggio Alloro

by Sarah Fioroni Shearer Publishing, 240 pp., $24.95

Sarah Fioroni's new book details the wonders of life and food at her generations-old family farm in Tuscany. Her impressive résumé also contributes to the large breadth of historical documentation and cultural information presented, but it is her loving storytelling and passion for the Italian farmworker's life that captivates. Mouthwatering recipes and gorgeous pictures strategically punctuate her tales of life, uniquely presented by the month, in the Marche region of Italy.

An organic farm specializing in a range of produce, livestock and bee products, extra virgin olive oil, wine, and an assortment of other fine foods, the Fioroni land has survived hardships and the test of time. Fattoria Poggio Alloro appears as a living testament to traditional Tuscan food and familial love. Now basking in the good life, the farmhouse is a popular agriturismo destination (a cause many dedicated Austinites promote through events such as the Urban Farm Bike Tour in December.) Fioroni also highlights interesting tidbits about farm life activities, such as milking as an art form, all aspects of saffron and olives, and Chianina cattle, to create her panorama.

Fioroni presents recipes with specific instruction, and her words inspire an appreciation of the beauty in seasonal eating. Cozy memories of large groups – including everyone from the heads of the household to the farmworkers – sharing homemade treats like migliacci, prosciutto, and Vin Santo (Tuscan dessert wine) lend validity and warmth to the book. Eye-catchers include Grand­mother's Pie, golden saffron turkey breast, wild boar sauce, and Poggio Alloro Tiramisu. Part history lesson, part insider's view of Tuscan family farm life, part manual for Italian food, A Family Farm in Tuscany is wholly beautiful.

Sarah Fioroni appears in the Texas Capitol Extension, Rm. E2.026 from 12:15-1pm on Sunday, and at the Central Market Cooking School on Friday, Nov. 2, at 6:30pm.

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