Alessandro and Anna Pavoni (from two-hatted Sydney restaurant Ormeggio at the Spit) led food writer Roberta Muir and her photographer husband, Franz Scheurer, on a trip around the Italian industrial region of Lombardy. While Italy's powerful capital cities and popular regions such as Tuscany & Puglia are well known on the foodie trail, Lombardy with fashion capital Milan at it's heart is also rich in agricultural land and food traditions.
This journey of discovery of the fabulous produce and rich culture of Alessandro's little-known corner of Italy let to a collaboration which resulted in A Lombardian Cookbook, celebrating the regions traditional foods.
It is within this region that Lake Como and Garda, provide fish and a micro-climate that produces olives, citrus and grapes which are usually grown further south. The wooded hills have abundant boar, pheasant, mushrooms, chestnuts and the fertile plains of the river Po produce corn for polenta, rice for risotto and pastures for cattle, making dishes including so buck popular and producing some of Italy's more famous cheeses, including mascarpone, gorgonzola and taleggio.
Pavoni points out that Lombardy's traditional dishes translate well to our Australian tastes and lifestyle,
"Spiedo, spit-roasted meat, is the most traditional Lombardian dish, especially for large gatherings," he explains. "I really wanted to include it in the book, but we cook it in a special machine which you can't get here. Then Roberta suggested we could cook it on the rotisseries attachment of her barbecue. I was so excited - it worked perfectly and we dedicated a while chapter to this style of cooking - perfect for the Aussie summer."
Alessandro and Roberta have provided an extract that we can share. To read their recipe for Apple Pie from Milan click here.
Title: A Lombardian Cookbook
Publisher: Penguin Books
Available at all good book stores.