In AL DENTE, William Black travels the length and breadth of Italy in order to get to the roots of Italian food. Our intrepid gastronome eats whatever gets in his way which often isn't quite what it seems. If it's cheese then it may be considered ripe only when it has been predigested by maggots or perhaps made solely from the milk of tired cows. A bowl of pasta might come with donkey sauce. A dish of wind dried tuna apparently includes its testicles. A lovely risotto has been made with seagull broth.
William's dedication to his task knows alarmingly few bounds. His quest for the most delicious and authentic cooking and the very finest ingredients takes him to some wonderfully familiar places as well as others far off the beaten track: he drinks great coffee in Turin, chases rabbits in Ischia and views the mattanza, the annual tuna catch, off the coast of Sardinia. One minute he's scoffing eel brodetto, the next waxing lyrical about the joys of frog risotto. And as he eats his way to the country's culinary heart, he unearths the fascinating story of his own family's role in Italian history.
A joy from cover to cover and 100 per cent mierda di bufala- free, Al Dente is a must for anyone with an interest in Italy or its food. It will probably make you want to book a holiday and it will certainly make you laugh.
Praise for The Smart
A fascinating story in the shady life and scandalous times of Caroline Rudd... gripping reading.Daily Telegraph
Sarah Bakewell has written a scholarly biography that reads like a detective novel with a historical setting... full of sharp pen-portraits, lively asides and quirky details... every bit as colourful and enjoyable as the title suggests.Independent