Do you like Italian food? Are you of Italian heritage, or just “feel Italian” from time to time? If so, get thee to the September edition of Food & Wine, which is a full-on festa of Italian food. The issue starts out with a two-page spread that breaks Italy down into its constituent regions, with a helpful region-by-region guide to the country including iconic dishes, key ingredients, and top wine grapes for each region. It’s pretty cool, and it combats the American tendency to think of Italian food as a homogeneous mass, while putting a face on a bunch of territories that have been largely abstract to many readers.
Unless, of course, you’re wondering about one of the seven “non-key” regions they didn’t get around to documenting. Abruzzo? Nothing. Molise? A dead zone. Calabria? Well, we’ve all heard about the gunfight, but Food & Wine has rendered it a mysterious blank.
On the one hand, 20 regions is a lot of work. On the other, you’ve taken the time to document 13 of them … why not just go all the way? Or is the implication that Valle d’Aosta is basically like neighboring Piedmont, so don’t worry about it?
It’s a little ridiculous to grouse about this, because the stuff they did get around to documenting is pretty engaging, and the whole issue is a treasure trove of culinary knowledge about the Big Boot. But still. Somewhere in Trentino-Alto Adige, people are gearing up to make Food & Wine’s editorial staff an offer they can’t refuse.