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Italian Food Artisans Italian Food Artisans
Traditions and Recipes
by Pamela Sheldon Johns
Chronicle Books,
November 1999
Hardcover - 168 pages

From creamy mozzarella made with the milk of water buffalo to smooth balsamic vinegar aged in Modena, the classic ingredients of Italian cookbooks are still crafted using traditional methods that have been passed on for generations. Italian Food Artisans takes you on a journey through the villages of Italy to meet the passionate food artisans who keep these culinary traditions alive. Visit a small village in southern Tuscany where tubs of purple and green olives await a cold pressing. Take a moonlit journey with a trifolao and his trusty dog in search of the tartufo bianco, the elusive white truffle. Travel the countryside to discover the craftspeople behind Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, chestnut flower honey, Italian chocolate, vin santo, and many others Italian delicacies. Beautifully photographed throughout, Italian Food Artisans also includes more than fifty authentic recipes that will bring the robust and satisfying flavors of Italy home to your table.

Torta di Capezzana
Olive Oil Cake - Contessa Lisa Contini Bonacossi

Tenuta di Capezzana, the estate of Conte Ugo and Contessa Lisa Bonacossi, stands in the Torta di Capezzana gentle hills west of Florence, overlooking the Arno Valley. Documents dating back to 804, in the time of Charlemagne, note the production of wine and olive oil on the property, which were bartered for use of the land. Today Frantoio, Moraiolo, Pendolino, Leccino, and Santa Caterina olives are milled in a single cold pressing in the family frantoio for one of Tuscany's best artisanal oils.

At Tenuta di Capezzana, if any of this moist rich cake is left over from dessert, it is finished off with cappuccini at the next day's breakfast.

3 eggs
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups milk
Grated zest of 3 oranges, plus
   1 orange, sliced, for garnish
2 cups unbleached
   all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
  • Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12-inch cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until blended. Add the olive oil, milk, and orange zest and mix well. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the egg mixture, stirring just until blended. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Loosen the sides with a knife and invert onto a serving plate.
  • Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar and cut into 12 slices. Garnish the individual servings with fresh orange slices.

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