IF you are stumped for Christmas present ideas for the cook or Italophile in your life, look no further than the latest book by Anna del Conte*, variously described as the doyenne of Italian cookery writers, an inspiration to Nigella Lawson, and Delia Smith's "favourite Italian food writer."
Anna, who has lived in Dorset for many years, has written 12 books, including the indispensable Gastronomy of Italy and a moving memoir, Risotto with Nettles.
For her latest book, Italian Kitchen, she has brought together more than 100 of her favourite recipes, a compendium of four little books she wrote nearly 20 years ago, Antipasti, Pasta, Risotti and I Dolci. The first three contained her favourite recipes of dishes for which Italian cooking is famous and beloved and the fourth was a much-needed introduction to Italy's excellent cakes and puddings for English readers. Now the quartet has been put together as a collection that should become a must on the kitchen shelves of everyone who loves to cook and eat Italian food.
Elegant, clearly laid out, with recipes that are, as always with Anna del Conte, easy to follow, and excellent mouth-watering photographs by Jason Lowe, this is the next best thing to hopping on a plane to Pisa or Milan! FC
*Italian Kitchen by Anna del Conte, published by Square Peg, price £20.
ITALY is synonymous with the Slow Food movement - where it was founded by journalist Carlo Negrini. The movement has grown and developed, not only geographically, but into other areas, including travel, and the new Slow Dorset guide* is a must (and an ideal gift) for anyone who wants to savour the best of Dorset. The Slow movement is a reaction against the idea that faster must be better. It's about doing things at the right speed.
In Slow Dorset, writer Alexandra Richards finds delicious places to buy food, great pubs, fascinating buildings and prehistoric and landscape features, and highlights some of the county's unusual events and organisations - including the BVM, and the Screen Bites Food Film Festival.
*Slow Dorset by Alexandra Richards, published by Bradt Guides, price £14.99