Dating back to ancient Rome, the enoteca, or wine bar—where people gather to relax, chat, taste regional wines and munch on bruschette—is popular again. Goldstein (Sephardic Flavors) captures this slow, sociable way of life with over 70 recipes from more than 30 enotecas
in Italy, from Fried Zucchini Blossoms from Osteria del Vicolo Nuovo (near Bologna) to Roman Meat Loaf, from Rome's Bottega del Vino di Anacleto Bleve. Each recipe comes with suggested matching wines—chosen by the author's son, sommelier Evan Goldstein—which are adequate, but not exhaustive. Tantalizing finger foods such as Meat-Stuffed Deep-Fried Olives and Saffron Rice Croquettes are the book's strength, but there are plenty of entrées, too, such as Sicilian Swordfish Rolls and Baked Clams with Oregano. Crab Salad on Polenta Crostini or Sweet Pepper Ragout serve as lunches, with Mascarpone and Fruit Tart or even Fig Salami with cheese to finish it off. One could make a meal, too, out of Stuffed Pasta Rolls—although time-consuming homemade pasta is required. Home cooks will appreciate Goldstein's glossary of Italian cheeses and her impressive bibliography. Overall, this is an elegant, charming and easy-to-use book, with well-chosen recipes for light meals or snacks. The book will be nearly irresistible to wine lovers, but any cook with a passion for Italian food will find it enticing. Luminous color photos. (Sept.)
Forecast:With wine bars enjoying increasing popularity in urban areas, in the United States as well as in Italy, this visually pleasing book—with accolades from Robert Mondavi and Francis Ford Coppola—should be a hit.