The Painter, the Cook and L’Arte di Sacla’

Written by Anna Del Conte

The Painter, the Cook and L’Arte di Sacla’

This limited edition recipes book from the Italian food producers, Sacla’, is a passionate tribute to regional Italian food. Three generations of the Ercole family have poured their love, hard work and gastronomic nous into Sacla’ - a food company that has won the hearts and stomachs of epicureans around the globe. Anna Del Conte (something of an Italian cookery icon), has written this beautifully produced book in collaboration with British Artist, Val Archer. The pair, travelled through Italy’s many towns and villages, talking to producers, chefs and cooks and collecting some stellar recipes in the process. The book, which is dedicated to Sacla’ founders, Secondo Ercole and Piera Campananelle Ercole is full of regional recipes, local history and beautiful paintings that illustrate the colour of Italian life.

Anna Del Conte takes the reader through the never-ending lists of risotti and warming peasant food she experienced in Piedamont, and the cosmopolitan approach to Venetian cooking. She writes about the lusciousness of Liguria, its terrain bulging at the seams with fruit, vegetables and herbs, and talks of Le Marche, Puglia and Sardinia with the same deeply appreciative tone.

Besides being a beautiful collection of recipes and paintings, The Painter, the Cook and L’Arte di Sacla’ sums up the Italian attitude to food. Chefs and their kitchen creations are unearthed throughout the book, with handfuls of their recipes peppered across the pages. Gnocchi di Patate con Zucchero e Canella (potato dumplings with sugar and cinnamon), serves up a quirkier side of Italian cookery, whilst classics such as Tocco di Noci (walnut sauce), and Crostata di Ricotta (ricotta tart) offer a traditional flavour. Just a word of warning: do eat before you sit down and familiarise yourself with this recipes book. It succeeds easily in communicating that Italian passion for great food, so much so, you might find yourself dribbling in an unglamorous fashion over its recipes-laden pages.