Food writer reveals unusual side of Italian desserts

Tue Mar 6, 2012 8:42am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Italian delicacies like tiramisu and cannolis are familiar to people around the globe and the list may grow as veteran food writer Francine Segan shares unusual Italian desserts in her newest book.

"Dolci: Italy's Sweets," is the result of her extensive research looking for recipes. Segan met Italian home cooks and professional chefs who make usual pairings like sugar, honey and chocolate with pasta, chickpeas, eggplant and even meat.

The New York native spoke to Reuters about the wide range of Italian desserts, her motivation for doing the book and the surprises she encountered.

Q: Why did you decide to focus on desserts with this book?

A: "I felt I traveled a lot through Italy. While my first loves are pizzas, pasta and prosciutto, I realized that there are so many desserts we don't know about here in the States. I was shocked. As I travel more and more, I realize not only don't we know about them in the states. But from one region (in Italy) to the next, they don't even know them."

Q: How do you think that happened?

A: "Italy was so divided. It was more like 20 different countries. Now it's definitely like 10 major regions. They are really competitive with each other. It became a treasure hunt for me to discover authentic recipes, not just from a restaurant, but a restaurant that's been around and is really entrenched ... Then I was fascinated by some of the bizarre ones."

Q: What is the biggest shock you discover during your research for the book?   Continued...

Francine Segan is seen in an undated handout photo.  REUTERS/Daniela Stalinger/Courtesy of Francine Segan/Handout