cover image Alpine Cooking: Recipes and Stories from Europe’s Grand Mountaintops

Alpine Cooking: Recipes and Stories from Europe’s Grand Mountaintops

Meredith Erickson. Ten Speed, $40 (352p) ISBN 978-1-60774-874-8

This generous cookbook and travelogue will have readers booking trips to the Alps of Italy, France, Austria, and Switzerland. Despite Joe Beef coauthor Erickson’s protestation that “it’s not all about cheese,” the food (organized by country) is hearty: a typical Italian soup contains cabbage, lardons, and fontina, and fondue is discussed at length. Brief “snapshots” highlight locals and their favorite trails, while “travel hacks” offer tips, including one to ski or hike to the Lumen Museum of Mountain Photography in Italy’s South Tyrolean mountains. Dishes include classics, such as schnitzel and an appealing chestnut and mascarpone Mont Blanc tart, as well as quirky flights of fancy invented by cooks in isolated circumstances, such as a corn bread topped with a scattering of ground popcorn kernels and served with a sphere of butter with a cheese core, and crescent rolls of puff pastry around hazelnut filling from a bakery in a “tiny mountain village.” Difficulty is indicated for each, and any special equipment is noted. Fun sidebars include a roundup of scenes from James Bond movies set in the area (where Ian Fleming studied German and fell in love), while a listing of hotels adds a layer of practicality. Erickson’s enthusiasm is contagious, as when she writes, “Mountains are not permanent. They are alive.” Erickson beautifully captures Alpine food and culture in this standout volume. (Oct.)