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From Tapas to Meze: Crown Publishers.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 


Although this is not a brand new book, it is a must have for those who share a love of appetisers ... Joanne Weir, the authoress, teacher and Chef, provides over 200 recipes for typical starters, as well as nibbles and snacks from Italy, Greece, Spain, France ( Saint Florent), North Africa and the Middle Eastern Mediterranean countries. The countries in this part of the world share more than the sea, they share the love of hors d´oeuvres.


A couple of other selections in this genre are:


1) The Best of the Mediterranean written by Sandra Gluck who has published her recipes from Corsica and Turkey.


2) Mediterranean Cookery, published by Knoph and written by, Claudia Roden, is an interesting book which is part of a series, and covers Tunisian and Egyptian specialties.


3) The Mediterranean Pantry focuses on vinegars, liqueors, jellies, preserves and spreads with spice mixtures. Written by: Aglaia Kremezi who also wrote the book THE FOODS OF GREECE which includes some lovely specialties for e.g.: Harissa chili pepper paste, Ratafia, a quince Greek dessert beverage and cuisine from Nafplion, Greece.


4)  Mediterranean The Beautiful Cookbook and The Mediterranean Kitchen, both written by: Joyce Goldstein, and the stunning photos in the large size format with 250 recipes are sure to stimulate palates. Joyce had been the owner of a San Francisco Restaurant called Square One and these two books are truly stocked with valuable information and scrumptuous recipes.  


If Mediterranean is one of your pleasures, these editions are perfect presents.   

post #2 of 9

Couldn't agree with you more about From Tapas to Meze. In fact, I had reviewed it, here at Cheftalk, when we had the old platform. Unfortunately, it, along with dozens of other reviews, were lost when we shifted to Huddler.


Don't know, however, why you are using it as a launch pad for books about Mediterannean cooking, in general, instead of Mediterannean small bites cooking, which would have been a more logical basis for discussion.


I'd always considered From Tapas to Meze to be the best of the many books written on that topic. And then came Simone & Ines Ortega's The Book of Tapas, in June 2010, which is the definative work on tapas, IMO. By the time you add up all the recipes and variations, there are close to 300 possibilities presented.


 Even so, books about tapas, mezze, etc. continue to appear. And older ones get reissued. All because each of them adds something to the mix.


For instance, although more restricted in scope, Gerald Hirigouyen's Pintxos--Small Plates in the Basque Tradition is another good one in that genre, with a very personal (as well as nationalstic) look at small bites. On the other hand,  A Passion for Tapas, which is a collection of recipes from tapas bars all across Spain, takes a much broader viewpoint. Mezze Modern skips over Spain, France, and Italy, and focuses more on the eastern Med, with selections from Greece, Lebanon, and Turkey. For a really upscale look at the genre, check out Heinz Beck's Finger Food. Although Roman in origin, his jewel-like creations are pretty far from classic Italian offerings.


Because they are so important to the cuisines, most national and regionalized books on Mediterannean cooking contain extensive sections on tapas and mezze---or merely appetizers and first courses--- as well. Thus, we find that in Nino Graziano's My Sicilian Cooking, more than half the non-dessert recipes deal with appetizers and first courses.


 In addition, foods of the eastern Med, more than any other, lend themselves to being scaled down to appetizer size. So, if we take The Turkish Cookbook as an example, probably 85-90% of the recipes not identified as mezze can be prepared as such. I imagine the same is true of the five you cited as well.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 


KY Heirloomer,


Firstly, Happy Holidays ...


I am so pleased and surprised to receive your comments on " From Tapas to Meze " ...


Amazing fact is, that all the books you have mentioned on Spanish Tapas and Meze other than:


FINGER FOODS ( sounds like a must order --- I shall have to order from Amazon ) and  MEZE MODERN and THE TURKISH COOKBOOK can be of great interest too. I love Greek cuisine and spent almost one year globetrotting the Aegean and mainland in the 1990s.  


Seems like we share a literary common thread ... The Basque Pintxos is an exemplary specialty edition.


By the way, I did not want to hog the Cookbook Section by mentioning all these jewels. I could of written it as an article in the Article Section.


Pleased to hear from you and may the New Year 2012, bring the very best to you and yours.

All my best,


post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 



KY Heirloom.


Here are three others which have something special too.


1) Madrid Native Alicia Ríos and Valencian Lourdes March:  The Heritage of Spanish Cooking


This edition covers the distinct regional cuisines on the Iberian Peninsula from its turbulent history and invasions through modern times.

The photos are absolutely lovely too. The book is a true traditional yet healthy representative of each region´s dishes. It also includes a Tapas, or small plates section in each of the regional sections. The small plates are linked to the famed hedonistic tapas and wine crawls throughout the country, whether hamlet, village, town or city. Additionally, the best part of the book is that each dish has a historic significance and the authoresses explain this historic significance ... Nice book for those interested in Spanish traditional epicurism.


2)  The Little Dishes of Spain


By: Penélope Casas


The authoress has garnered her reputation at NY University and The NY Cookery Institute in addition to writing 2 other books on Spanish gastronomy.

Discovering Spain and The Food and Wines of Spain.


3) The Tapas of Chef Carlés Abellán, Comerc 24 ( in English, Spanish and Catalan ) ... Written by:  Xavier Moret


Carlés is a disciple of Ferrán Adriá and had worked at the former El Bullí while the Bullí had earned its 1st Michelin Star. He also studied under Pierre Gagnaire and had worked at Adriá ´s Hotel La Hacienda Benazuzu in Sevilla. This book is fabulous, and is divided into the following sections:

* vermuth

* frieds ( his spicy brava potatoes )

* marinated and raws ( carpacchio Matisse )

* salads in stemware ( roquefort Waldorf )

* sparked ( chispas ) - a sashimi pizza

* creams and soups - a Thai soup

* stews ( fish souquet which is a tomato, garlic, fish stock and potato concoction )

* Dedicateds ( 2 Textured Foie )

* sweet tapas ( ginger cream and chocolate )  and Chocolate with Salt Maldon ... !


Easy and simple without complexity or complicated machinery. Modernity in its simplest. Cool book for modernists who want to do something new.




post #5 of 9

Funny thing is I've been working, on and off, on an article about this whole genre, called The Not-So-Small Plate.


I reckon The Little Dishes of Spain and The Tapas of Chef Carlés Abellán, are two more I need to add to my collection. They both sound really interesting.


Another great general book is Spain and The World Table, which is the CIA's World of Flavor event of that name, in book form. Probably the single best introduction to Spanish cuisine I've ever seen.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 


Good Morning KY Heirloomer,


I just received your reply on: the books of Carles Abellan and Penelope Casas.  There are uncountable books on this topic in Spanish that I am uncertain if they have been translated into English yet, for example:  Chef Paco Roncero´s XXI Millennium and the series from El Pais Newspaper called: COCINA CON FIRMA, Cooking with Signature, and this series includes 2 books each of the following Chefs: Adriá, Santí Santamaria, Martin Berasategui, Pedro Subijana, Juan and Elena Arzak, Paco Roncero, Francis Paniego & his renowned Croquettes to die for, Sergi Arola, Quique Dacosta etcetra ... Another option of research is: Le Cordon Bleu´s Cook Book Catalogue !  This catalogue has a section on A to Z Cuisines, and a description of each book and the languages it has been published in ... Also, Montage Publishers in Barcelona has quite a list too ( tells languages published in), including the Arzaks, Juan Mari and his daughter Elena however, it is in Spanish too. I could offer some gratis translating services, if it is too not extensively time consuming. I also would like to mention that Small Plates, gratis Tapas such as a small plate of olives, or  4 slices of Manchego cheese or 4 prawns ( for 2 people ) verses:  Raciónes = what you buy from a carte, for example: Patatas bravas, Spicy potatoes or Bacalao in Tomato Sauce, or a platter of Iberian Ham or Assorted Cheeses or a Pincho of Spanish Omelette and then there are Appetisers --- hors d´ oeuvres --- do they need to be re-defined, yes I believe so ?  Meze, Mezedes Greek or Italian appetisers or Antipasto, also have a link here too ... Bar appetisers, served to accompany a wine or beer or cocktail etcetra ...   Your project sounds fabulous and I wish you lots of luck in your goals. I would love to read it ...  I had published an article called THE INSIDE STORY OF TAPAS a few years ago in English for the oldest English Language Expat Magazine in Spain ( 1958 and still publishing 6 times a year ) in which I am the Food, Wine and Travel Editor for ...  Happy Holidays and if I could be of some help, please do not hesitate to ask.    How is your Spanish Gastronomic Vocabulary ?  Kind regards. Margaux Cintrano     

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 


KY Heirloomer,


Sorry, the Publisher is Montagud Editores:


They have a catalogue of their books and each listing has the languages the book is available in ...




post #8 of 9

It occurs to me, re: this discussion, how many peopple do not understand that small plates can be a two-way street. That is, almost any main dish can be scaled down and adapted for use as a tapa. But, by the same token, tapas can be scaled up and used as a main dish too.


F'rinstance, last night we had Maria Khalife's Octopus with Wine and Green Olives, from her Mezze Modern. Only we had it as the main part of our meal.


In this case, merely serving larger portions worked. The only adaptation is that I made it with baby octopus, instead of cutting up a large one. But I do that when serving it tapas style anyway. Other times, adaptation of ingredients and presentation may be necessary. But that's part of the creative process.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 



@ KYheirloomer,


I totally agree with you that there are a large amount of people who have not been introduced to Spanish Tapas as a way of culturally socialising, which is key ... and that these Small Plates, can be enlargened to a main course ... GOOD POINT ... Perhaps, do the honors if you would like and explain this type of cultural cuisine ... which hails from the Romans, Greeks and Mid Eastern countries and todate, the Spanish and The USA Latin American Communities.


Italians, Greeks, Turks, Maltese and the French as well as Israelies, Jordanians, Lebanese and Morccans, call it Mezze or Meze or Hors D' Oeuvres ... It is prevalent in these cultures, to have some olives or anchovies or some prawns on a small plate with their drink whether it be a wine or beer.


In the USA, people are served peanuts or chips however, here in Madrid we receive, a variety of historic tapas as well as olives, sandwiches, prawns, salads, skewers of meat, adobo fish, etcetra ...


How true ... It is wonderful too ... a meal which is included in the price of your wine or beer or cocktail ...


Capturing the landscapes and the Andalusian People and their epicurean delights is a personal cultural and gastronomic tour of Spain. Another fab book is THE FLAVORS OF ANDALUSIA by Elisabeth Luard who not only covers the 8 southern provinces of Andalusian tapas, however, accompanied by her watercolors, vivid information, and her passions.


If you do publish your NOT SO SMALL PLATES, I shall be honored to receive a copy here in Madrid ... Passion is the key to all we do ... 2012 is a whole new year with new projects and new objectives. All my best to you and yours.


Off with the gent to Valletta, Malta for a few days --- now, Malta has a strong Street Food and Mezze culture too --- sort of similar to Sicilian as it is only 58 miles away ... KANELLONI = cannelloni and they are filled with vegetables, savoury fish or meat stews stuffings.  I shall post this epicurean escape. Got to run. Plane is at 16.00 hours.






Happy New Year,


Edited by margcata - 1/2/12 at 4:07am
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