BOOK REVIEW: Breaking Bread in L’Aquila by Maria Filice

When Maria Filice conceived this cookbook remarkable for its beautiful practicality she had love, simplicity and knowledge in mind.

Love for the people living in the L’Aquila Region of Abruzzo, love for her late husband, Paul Piccone, who introduced her to their homey gastronomy, love for her guests past, present and future and love for ample, complete and delicious food.

Simplicity in a book eminently utilitarian for all cooks and chefs, be they absolute beginners trying to please their loved ones or veteran chefs in search of inspiration back to the basics.

Knowledge to be acquired about traditional ingredients, new taste combinations and forgotten wines for perfect pairing with her recipes.

This cookbook ought to be left open at all times on the kitchen table of all Italian food lovers, and all food lovers for that matter.
Preceded by an eye-opening introduction on her entertaining philosophy and the wines of Abruzzo, Maria’s work has been organized along the seven days of the week with a full Italian meal suggestion for everyone of them.
Actually, more than a meal, she is taking her guests along a daily feast from the Antipasti, through Primi Piatti and Seondi Piatti to the Dolci via a detour through a Contorni.

I do not wish to reveal all the secrets of her book, but I cannot help recommend my own biased selection:
-Antipasti: Insalata di Mare e Servita nel Radicchio (Seafood salad in a Radicchio Cup)
-Primi Piatti: Pasta e Lenticchie (Pasta and Lentils)
-Primi Piatti: Minestra di Farro (Spelt Soup)
-Secondi Piatti: Scaloppine al Vino Bianco (Veal Scaloppine in White Wine)
-Secondi Piatti: Pollo Arrosto con Aglio e Rosmarino (Chicken with Rosemary and Garlic)
-Contorni: Fritto Misto di Funghi (Sauteed Mushromms Madley)
-Dolci: Torta di Caffe (Coffee Cake)

I wrote this review at the counter of Il Paladino, one of the very best Italian Restaurants in all Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. When I mentioned the wines of Montelpuciano to my friend chef, he just went to his cellar to show me a couple of the bottles he had on his wine list (some more expensive of the same name are kept away from the list for special guests!)!
It certainly piqued his curiosity when I told him the reason of my query. Consequently, we went through Maria’s book together all over again at ease (I had chosen a quiet time of the day!) and he was so impressed by the direct approach of the recipes and the accompanying photographs that he requested me to keep the book long enough for him to consult!

Not only this cookbook will help you make your friends and family discover the pleasures of a great regional Italian gastronomy, but the net profits of its sales will be donated to help the victims of devastation caused by the earthquake which recently struck L’Aquila.

For direct purchase consult Maria Filice’s own website at

Robert-Gilles Martineau

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