New cookbook greeted with rare herbs dinner

October 21, 2011
By

(Courtesy Photo) “Wild Flavors” author Didi Emmons.

A bestselling local author’s new cookbook about rare herbs will be welcomed with a special dinner featuring the unusual ingredients on Nov. 2 at the tapas bar/bookstore/record shop Tres Gatos.

The unique crossover event is based on Didi Emmons’ “Wild Flavors: One Chef’s Transformative Year Cooking from Eva’s Farm,” which comes out next week.

“It’s a great chance to support a local author and give the chef a chance to do something really different,” said Tres Gatos owner David Doyle.

As a chef, Emmons is known for establishing such restaurants as the former Veggie Planet in Cambridge and the Haley House Bakery Café in Roxbury. As an author, she had a bestseller in 1997 with her cookbook “Vegetarian Planet.”

Emmons’ new book is about her experience with Eva Sommaripa, a New England legend who provides restaurants and some grocers with unusual ingredients grown on her South Dartmouth farm. Rare herbs, edible weeds and even edible flowers are among her products.

The book of recipes and stories is an “accumulation of 10 years of visiting this very eccentric and very spirited woman,” Emmons told the Gazette.

“The book is really about getting people to try to grow some of these herbs,” Emmons said, because freshness counts and Sommaripa does not sell retail.

Some of the rarities include spruce shoots—the tips of spruce trees—which have a lime-like flavor. African basil is another, which combines the flavor of regular basil with camphor and cloves.

The Nov. 2 dinner will feature a menu by Chef Marcos Sanchez inspired by Emmons’ recipes and using Sommaripa’s herbs. It will be a special menu open to all diners with no extra entry fee, Doyle said.

“Anybody who comes in gets to try Eva’s herbs,” said Emmons, adding that she plans to go table-to-table with some of the herbs so diners can learn more about them.

Sommaripa may or may not attend. “She’s really hard to pull off her farm,” Emmons said.

Doyle said that Tres Gatos, at 470 Centre St., may host other events playing off its unusual triple business, such as a night of interrelated music and food.

For more information, contact Tres Gatos at 617-477-4851 or tresgatosjp.com.