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Sydney Times

BOOK WORLD Cookbooks Recipes

A Lombardian Cookbook

Written by Roberta Muir

A Lombardian Cookbook (Lantern/Penguin, 2015) by Alessandro Pavoni & Roberta Muir While Italian regions like Tuscany are instantly recognised and ‘emerging regions’ such as Puglia are gaining attention, a few of Italy’s 20 regions are overshadowed by powerful capital cities and barely known by name. So it is with Italy’s wealthiest region, industrial Lombardy with fashion capital Milan at its heart, also rich in agricultural land. In 2012, 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 Lombardy, discovering the fabulous produce, rich culture and cuisine of Alessandro’s little-known corner of Italy. Together they created A Lombardian Cookbook, a celebration of Lombardy’s traditional food, as diverse as the Alps, lakes, hills and plains that make up this landlocked region. Lakes such as Como and Garda provide fish and a micro-climate that allows olive trees, citrus and grapes to flourish further north than normal, while the rib-sticking dishes of the Alps have more in common with bordering Switzerland than sunny southern Italy. Wooded hills provide boar, pheasant and other game plus mushrooms and chestnuts, and the fertile plains of the River Po produce corn for polenta, rice for risotto and pastures for cattle, making dishes like osso bucco popular and producing some of Italy’s most famous cheeses, including mascarpone, gorgonzola and taleggio. Baking is also popular in Lombardy and traditional sweets include Italy’s famous Christmas bread, panettone, and delicious cakes, nougat and deep-fried Carnevale treats. The traditional dishes of Lombardy translate to an Australian setting even better than Pavoni could have imagined when he first started researching the book. “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 rotisserie attachment of her barbecue. I was so excited – it worked perfectly and we dedicated a whole chapter to this style of cooking – perfect for the Aussie summer.” Location photography by Franz Scheurer Photography www.franzscheurerphotography.com Food Photography by Chris Chen (with styling by Geraldine Munoz) www.chrischen.com.au ISBN: 978-1-921383-38-0 RRP $59.99 Publication date: 26 August 2015

About the author

Roberta Muir

Roberta Muir runs Sydney Seafood School and publishes the website Food Wine Travel, where she shares her favourite recipes and latest food, wine and travel discoveries. You can sign up here to receive her regular newsletter of recipes and Top 5 favourite food, wine and travel experiences.