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And what a magnificent event it was! I was flying on Cloud 9 for days afterwards, and remained in the clouds (or rather above the clouds), as I flew to Italy a couple of days later. The lovely and clever Kate Shanasy took the photos on the night which worked out so well, as I spent much of the night moving from table to table, chatting to the lovely 50+ people who came along. The 6-course dinner was held at my local, The Recreation (recipients of a hat in the 2019 Good Food Guide). I cannot thank owners Mark Protheroe, Joe Durrant and Steve Nelson enough for having the event at their restaurant.

But a bit more about the launch…. (if you would like to skip all that and jump to up-and-coming events click HERE or to a recipe of a lovely lemon cake from Adriatico click HERE)

On Mark’s suggestion, I had the menu printed up on A4 cards for the tables, the design reflecting the colourful yellow, blue and white cover of Adriatico by illustrator and book designer Michelle Mackintosh (and thanks to Lisa and graphic designers from Simon and Schuster for helping me with the menu). The back of the menu had the map of Italy with the seven points along the Adriatic coast marking the path I followed in the research for the book as well as its seven chapters.

Steve made six courses from the book including crispy sage leaves as aperitivo, sarde in savor as an appetiser, ravioli asparagus, Taleggio and walnuts as a first course and quail and polenta as a main. My mother Livia’s apple strudel was the dessert; Steve asked if my mother was coming to the event (and as it was held at night and too late for her, she did not make it), as he was a bit worried in case she was there to judge his dessert!! He need not have worried as it was delicious, but what was really special was that mamma’s strudel was cooked in a hatted restaurant and served to 60 guests. She was so chuffed when I told her!


Sommelier Mark Protheroe chose a regionally matched selection of Italian wines to go with each course. My favourite was the Matijaz Tercic 2013 Friulano and Malvasia Istriana that we had to accompany the sardines as well as the Marco Sara 2015 Un Verduz dal dis that went with the strudel. I so wished my father, who was a lover of wine (and of my mother’s food) could have been there with us to celebrate Adriatico.

A massive THANK YOU to everyone who came along on the night and celebrated with me – I could not have done it without you all. And thanks also to Paul McNally and the team at Smith Street Books for believing in me and my book concept and making the book look so beautiful X

The book is now available worldwide in many bookshops and you can find it online. Last time I looked Amazon US , Amazon Australia and Booktopia had it for sale (good timing with Christmas just around the corner). Amazon has a couple of lovely reviews – so if you do buy it from there please do post a review. I also sell the book in my online shop or you can collect it from me directly. And I will sign it for you too!

My first book Italian Street Food has also recently been re-released in Australia as a paperback (the hard cover is only available overseas though I have a few copies for sale left). It is also on sale at the moment – click here to buy it from Angus & Robertsons or I have signed copies in my online shop.

EVENTS and other things:

(1) I have another launch event on Tuesday 20 November at 6.30pm – ADRIATICO APERITIVO – being held in conjunction with my good friends at Joanie’s Baretto in Thornbury. It will be a relaxed event, on the cusp of summer, with aperitivi snacks from the book and a welcome drink included in the ticket price. Click here to get to the “what’s on” page at Joanie’s. I will be chatting a bit about the book and selling signed copies.

(2) TRIESTE – yes we are doing it all again! I will be running another 5-night foodie tour in this beautiful part of the world in the third week of September 2019. Click here to see what the tour in September 2018 looked like and here for more information about the 2019 tour.

(3) PUGLIA – my 6-night tour of Southern Puglia with Southern Visions Travel is close to sold out with only a few spots left. It is being run in the last week of April 2019. Click here to find out more.

(4) COOKING CLASSES – I hold cooking classes in my home in inner city Melbourne and they are on my site up to June 2019. They are sold out several months in advance so if you are interested it pays to plan… Here is the link to class details and to my online shop to purchase places. Although I am no longer selling gift vouchers, you can still buy tickets for a class as a gift; I am very flexible with class changes if the date or type of class does not suit. I will send you a gift card too if you request one.

(5) POSTCARD PACKS – I printed up a series of postcards of photos that are not in the book (and gave away small packs of them at my book launch at the Rec). There are 14 different cards and you can buy them from my online shop as packs of seven cards – the Trieste Pack and the Adriatic Coast Pack.

If you have any questions at all about any classes, events or books, please drop me a line via the contact form below.

And now for a recipe from ADRIATICO…. Giulia Scarpaleggia has a beautiful blog called Juls’ Kitchen. She has many books (I have her book on Markets in Tuscany), runs a cooking school in Tuscany and takes lovely photos that tell a story (as does her husband Tommaso). Though I have never met her I feel as though I know her because of our connection through social media, especially Instagram. She recently made the flourless lemon cake from the Salento chapter of Adriatico and posted a gorgeous photo on social media. There were several requests for the recipe so here it is below. Happy baking!

This light, gluten-free cake can be loosely attributed to zia Liliana, aunt of Signora Enrica from Otranto. Enrica told me they make it when the extended family gathers at her house in the historic centre of Otranto. While I love the original, I have changed the recipe a bit, adding more lemon to give it a real tangy hit. I can just imagine eating it on the terrace of the house where I stayed in Otranto, watching the neighbours playing cards in the sunshine and hearing the sea lapping on the shore in the distance.

Torta di mandorla e limone - Flourless almond lemon cake

Serves 8-10

300 g almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs, separated
200 g caster (superfine) sugar
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
80 ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
80 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt
icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the base and side of a 28 cm springform tin.

Place the almond meal and baking powder in a bowl and whisk briefly to combine and remove any lumps.

Place the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle or whisk attachment and beat for several minutes until the mixture becomes pale and light. Add the lemon zest, milk, vanilla, lemon juice and salt and beat until combined, then add the almond meal mixture and beat until incorporated.

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk until medium–firm peaks form. Working in batches, gently fold the whites into the batter with a spatula, folding from bottom to top so you don’t lose aeration. Make sure the batter looks homogenous, but don’t overmix it.

Carefully pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve at room temperature with a cup of tea or coffee. It will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days.

Recipe from Adriatico, Recipes and Stories from Italy’s Adriatic Coast, Smith Street Books 2018


  • Rachel says:

    Looks like such a fun event Paola. Hooray! x

  • David says:

    Brava, Paola! I am so happy for you and can’t wait to get my copy. I will have to try the cake – very similar to one I make but just different enough to add it to my collection of almond cakes!

  • paninigirl says:

    I just got my copy yesterday and it is gorgeous! I can only imagine how much work went into it. I look forward to trying your recipes.

    • Thank you so much!! Yes it was a labour of love but I am so happy with it. It makes me happy that you have it too as you have taken the time over the years to read my blog posts and write comments with some regularity 😊🙏🏻

  • pblevitt says:

    Paola, I am so happy for you, so well deserved. Your book is on my holiday gift list….

    • Thanks so much Paula. It was such a special event – I am still pinching myself that the chef cooked my dishes. Adriatico is definitely a book to read as there are lots of stories as well as recipes

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