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A taste of Europe: six cookbooks showcasing the continent's island flavours

A great way to get know a place is through its food. These cookbooks provide a great entry point into some of Europe’s most mouth-watering island destinations.

By Tamsin Wressell
Published 20 May 2022, 12:37 BST
Bitter Honey: Recipes and Stories from the Island of Sardinia by Letitia Clarke; The Irish Cookbook
by Jp ...

Bitter Honey: Recipes and Stories from the Island of Sardinia by Letitia Clarke; The Irish Cookbook
by Jp McMahon; North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland by Gunnar Karl Gislason and Jody Eddy; Corsica: Recipes and Stories from a Mediterranean Island by Nicolas Stromboni; Taverna by Georgina Hayden; Kinloch Lodge Book, by Jordan Webb.

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller UK

1. Bitter Honey: Recipes and Stories from the Island of Sardinia

by Letitia Clarke

Simple ingredients coming from Sardinia’s coastline and rugged interior of olive groves, hilltop villages and vineyards, dotted over green valleys make up these stripped back recipes that allow for slow eating — meals that can be shared and stretched out over hours in the afternoon, when shops typically close in Sardinia and mealtime takes the spotlight. Letitia marks a futility of pursuing ‘authentic’ recipes here, sweeping aside a notion of traditional dishes and rather collecting those that stand out, with inspiration for a book of home food coming from friends, family and other cooks. £26, hardiegrantbooks.com

2. The Irish Cookbook

by Jp McMahon

Michelin-starred chef Jp McMahon set out on a mission to tell a story of Irish food for this collection, delving into the Emerald Ise’s rich food heritage and collecting lost recipes dating back millennia to share the roots of its hearty flavours. They collected 500 home-based cooking recipes for this book, with stews, pickles, preserves and more. Ingredients come from the land and sea, from coastal oysters to wild forest food, berries and west coast beef. The book is peppered with more contemporary dishes, too, taken from food writers, chefs and Jp’s family. £35, phaidon.com

3. North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland

by Gunnar Karl Gislason and Jody Eddy 

Chef and owner of Reyjkavik’s Dill restaurant, Gunnar Karl Gíslason, teamed up with food writer and chef Jody Eddy to create this beautiful contemporary cookbook. It serves as a culinary journey which gives glimpses into creative processes from Gunnar, while also celebrating Iceland’s terrain, ingredients and people. Many of the ingredients Gunnar uses in his dishes are foraged or hand-caught — like the salmon he includes from one of Iceland’s glacial rivers, with his recipes having a sharp focus on locality and sustainability, taking inspiration from Iceland’s incredible landscapes and innovative food scene. £30, penguinrandomhouse.com

4. Corsica: Recipes and Stories from a Mediterranean Island

by Nicolas Stromboni

With dense forest, coastal villages and rocky peaks, the landscapes of Corsica play a massive role in the variety of cuisine available here. This recipe book by Nicolas Stromboni takes this in to account, with photography of the food and sceneries at its centrepoint, this book is a nod to the sunny island’s geography, people and the symbiotic relationship they have. 80 recipes focus on Corsican ingredients — figatelli sausage, chestnuts and citrus fruits feature, with portraits and stories throughout of those behind the creation of Corsica’s food culture. £30 penguinrandomhouse.com

5. Taverna

by Georgina Hayden

Growing up above her grandparents’ Greek Cypriot taverna in London’s Tufnell Park, Georgina Hayden (food writer, cook and stylist) built up decades of love for cooking Cyrpiot cuisine. Collected in her most recent book, Taverna is a nod to this and the recipes passed down through her family, drawing on inspiration from her heritage and love of travelling on the island. The pages are filled with Mediterranean food — like fresh salads, cinnamon-infused stews and ricotta, apricot and pistachio pancakes — where Georgina takes traditional dishes and uplifts them for modern cooking at home. £26, penguin.co.uk

6. Kinloch Lodge Book

by Jordan Webb

The largest of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Skye is shaped by the wild seas that lap against its rocky shores and towering sea cliffs, lochs and valleys hidden and shaped by the Black Cullin mountains. The windswept island is a great spot for local produce, livestock and foraging — Kinloch Lodge, a hotel on the island, wants to celebrate this with their new cookbook launching in autumn. Combining recipes, food and landscape photography, the title will focus on dishes from the hotel’s head chef Jordan Webb as they reimagine classics, sharing stories of local producers while highlighting Skye’s natural larder. £35, kinlochlodge.bigcartel.com

Published in the 2022 edition of National Geographic Traveller (UK) The Islands Collection

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