By : | 0 Comments | On : May 27, 2013 | Category : Cookbooks and Reviews

Add to Recipe Box

VeneziaVenezia: Food and Dreams is part cookbook, part gorgeous coffee table book.

The book itself is gorgeous – gilt edged with a velvet place marker and stunningly beautiful cover.

For the author, Tessa Kiros, this book is more than just a cookbook. It became a personal journal, a travel guide, and a memoir about her love for Venice, Italy, and its special place in her heart – and palate.

Cooks are treated to 105 amazing recipes and 120 color photographs focusing on the fascinating city and its famous fare.

Chapters include Eating in Venice, Essential Recipes, Cicchetti (small bites), Antipasti, Zuppa/Pasta/Gnocchi, Risotto, Secondi, Contorni (sides), and Dolce (sweet things).

Tessa states that “Venice is like when you hear a piece of music that scoops down into your soul, or notice a real tear getting ready to drop from the eye of an unlucky child. One of those rare moments when you grasp the magnificence of this world. Yes, Venice is one of those places.”

Her love for Venice is definitely shown in this lovingly crafted homage to the city, it’s people and it’s food.

US Visitors Look Here

This gorgeous book is certainly a treasure and would make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves Italy, especially Venice and it’s food. That said, some of the recipes were a little too exotic for me. Plus the book itself is so beautiful I wouldn’t want to dirty it while I cooked from it.

If you want an everyday cookbook with standard Italian favorites, this may not be the book for you. But if you love Venice and recipes that represent authentic local cuisines as they are eaten by the locals, you should really consider purchasing Venezia: Food and Dreams.

About the Author:
Tessa Kiros was born in London to a Finnish mother and a Greek-Cypriot father. She grew up in South Africa and has since traveled the world learning about diverse cultures and tastes. She has worked in restaurants in Sydney, Australia, Greece, Mexico, and London’s famous Groucho Club. She lives in Italy with her family.

Here is what others are saying about Venezia at

Sheri F. States:
Before I even talk about what’s in this book, I had to mention what a beautiful book it is. It has a gorgeous cover picture, there’s a black velvet ribbon to mark your page and there’s gold edging on all the pages. This is a gift worthy book.

Onto the inside, this is a book about Venice and there are many beautiful pictures from all over the city.

I’ve made the Zuppa di piselli spezzati (split pea soup) and the Coda di rospo al pomodoro (monkfish with tomato) and both were wonderful, with good directions. My only criticism is that not all of the recipes have pictures, but many do. And there are a lot of recipes here, and many more I plan to try.

If you want a tour through Venice, including recipes, while still sitting in your easy chair – this is the book for you.

Mojosmom writes:
In this culinary love letter to and about Venice (Venezia), Tessa Kiros has gathered traditional Veneziani recipes for your delectation. Obviously, it’s heavy on seafood, with many recipes for sardines, octopus, scampi, etc. The recipes are easy to follow, and before each she gives a little description of the dish or the process, or gives a serving suggestion. Her language is delightful; instead of telling you to cook the radicchio until it is soft, she says “until it surrenders its hardness”.

Equal time must be given to the photographer and the book designer. The book is chockful of gorgeous color and black-and-white photographs of Venice and of the food. And, as an object, the book itself must be described. Heavy, with gilded edges and a wide black velvet book marker, it will definitely not be used in my kitchen. And that’s one of the drawbacks.

It’s one thing to drip some oil or chocolate on my battered copy of Joy of Cooking or Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but this one is far to elaborate to expose to the vicissitudes of la cucina. In addition, the American cook will likely find it difficult to locate some of the ingredients. Even in Chicago, with a good produce store down the street, I can’t recall ever having seen radicchio di Treviso.

But never mind. I shall curl up with this book and a glass of Prosecco from time to time, and dream of returning to Venice, and the best sea bass I’ve ever had.

And from Veggiechiliqueen comes this comment:
I’d previously reviewed Tess Kiros’s Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes, and in anticipation of a trip to Venice next year, I was anxious to explore her “Venezia: Food and Dreams.” As another reviewer pointed out, this is a beautiful *coffee table* book; gilt edges, two black ribbon bookmarks sewn in, dramatic photographs, and metallic gold-on-white print (which makes it hard to read in bright light).

The recipe introductions are written in italics, which also made it hard to read (the recipes themselves are in New Roman). As a cookbook, I don’t see myself using this too often in the kitchen. Granted, Tess covers staples like polenta (several variations) and pasta, but many of the seafood dishes (which make up the bulk of the book) were too exotic for me (either in the preparation or the ingredients).

The staples of Venice are all here, especially salted cod (baccala), pork with milk, brasato con amarone, and eel. Seafood examples include fish carpaccio (yes, like sashimi, these are ultra-thin slices of raw fish with pink peppercorns), eel, and preparations of baby octopus, along with clams, crab and squid.

There are gnocchi and risottos (seafood, vegetable) and pastas (including squid ink, which I love from living in Spain), vegetable side dishes, and desserts. The recipes are arranged as in an Italian meal, starting with the Venetian equivalent of tapas (cicchetti), followed by antipasti, zuppa/pasta/gnocchi, risotto, secondi, contorni, and dolci. Several drink recipes (including the bellini, pomegranate, and Rossini) are also included.

Overall I kept feeling like the recipes were an afterthought to the reminiscences and glorious photos of Venice’s Baroque decadence, which is unfortunate, since I loved “Falling Cloudberries” and have read many good reviews of Twelve: A Tuscan Cook Book.

As a coffee table travel book, Tessa offers up romantic, dreamlike snippets that float alongside photos of men and women dressed in Baroque finery.

The food is also beautifully shot, but the two subjects (Venice as beautiful, mysterious woman and her food) mixed like oil and water for me. I would have rather had the recipes in a separate section and the travel writing and photos in another rather than having them jumbled together.

You may also ejoy these other cookbooks by Tessa Kiros, author of Venezia:

Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes

Postcards from Portugal: Memories and Recipes

If you like this page, I’d love you to Pin it to Pinterest, Tweet about it, Like it on Facebook and leave a comment below.

Share Button
Share This Post!

Leave a Reply