tv Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy CNN October 15, 2022 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
i'll take some potatoes. >> i love that. >> the region my family left behind all those years ago is still as troubled as it is beautiful. oh, my god. but the true magic of this land is how it inspires people people here to do things that are equally as beautiful. and how everywhere you go -- you will be treated like family. umbria.
that means it's the green heart of italy. not a jealous heart but a fertile one. arriving in early fall, i chart a course through umbria's ancient forests and misty mountains. this is italy before the romans. a place where families live close to the land. a land of saintly legends, impossibly perched hilltop towns and rustic cuisine. wow. stop filming and just eat it. cheers. i'm stanley tucci. i'm italian on both sides and i'm traveling across italy to discover how the food in each of this country's 20 regions is as unique as the people and their past. umbrian food isn't about expensive restaurants or tricky techniques, it's all about the skill and hard work that goes into producing its precious raw ingredients.
from innovative farmers to noble hunters. and let's not forget the chefs and the butchers, preserving the traditional ways to cook these treasures of the land. and a note for any vegetarians watching, umbrians eat a lot of meat, particularly pork, like a lot of it. huge amounts of it. i surrender. to the pork. umbria is named after the umbri, one of italy's most ancient people. their landlocked homeland is right in the middle of the country. bordered on the west by its more glamorous neighbor tuscany, it's often overlooked. but while the landscape here is similar, the culture is very different, less fancy, if you
will, and i hear the locals like it that way. they're like flames aren't they? i'm heading deep into the heart of sagrantino territory, umbria's luscious world-renowned red wine, to meet a man who fell in love with this rustic region over 25 years ago. we're going to meet big george, in italian known as giorgione. he's a chef and restaurateur who lives at one with nature on a secluded farm outside montefalco, with an assortment of animals, including the porcine pride of umbria. >> good morning. >> oh look, wine grapes, only the best for pigs around here. >> carlotta.
>> in addition to wearing all his other hats, this rural renaissance man also, somehow, finds time to host one of italy's best loved cookery shows. e cucina takes in all aspects of giorgione's life on the farm. but the heart of the action takes place here, in this very kitchen. >> on the menu is maialino cooked in porchetta style. but instead of the rolled loin of pork, we have a whole piglet, and nothing goes to waste.
the beauty of slow cooking in a sealed oven is, once that door is shut, there's not really much more you can do but sit back -- >> huh? >> and wait. >> ah. vino. >> cheers. >> cheers. as the lovely sagrantino opens up, so does my new friend. >> stanley, look here. >> yes. two hours have flown by, and the
moment we've been waiting for is upon us. maialino alla giorgione. it's pork with pork inside and pork on top -- that's a lot pork. wow. >> oh. okay. that's too much. >> huh? >> giorgione's loving preparation of the very best fresh ingredients and the alchemy of the slow cook of the wood fire, have turned this dish into something really quite spectacular. >> guanciale.
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like 5 million others who come here each year, my journey has brought me to the mecca that is assisi, to pay homage to umbria's most famous and still vitally relevant saint, francis. approaching the stunning 13th century basilica, i remember the first time i came here as a young kid with my parents. being an art teacher, my dad wanted our family to see the 28 frescoes inside that tell the legend of st. francis. and to help me, quietly, navigate the story today is local historian, matteo grandi. >> probably this is the most iconic one, the most famous. >> yeah, yeah. >> you know, he had an
incredible connection with nature. probably he was the first environmentalist in the history of the church. >> i remember the first time i came here, i was 12, but we didn't have this opportunity to have it just to ourselves. >> just for us. >> that's incredible. i feel very lucky. >> legend has it that st. francis renounced his privilege life to instead walk penniless among the poor folk of rural umbria. he was devoted to all god's creatures and where better to preach his message than in the green heart of italy. because of his connection with nature, is he like the quintessential saint of umbria? >> yes, umbria is really connected to nature, no? >> yeah. >> umbria is natural and that's why he's so representative of umbria. >> i could stay in here all day, but it seems matteo's mind has wandered.
>> which is your favorite food? >> it's hard to say. i do like salami. >> in italy, it's never long until someone talks about food. but here in umbria, everything comes back to pork. you could say it's like a religion, not with its roots in the sense of assisi, but out here in the forest primeval. today is hunt day. and i've been invited to tag along by claudia ferracchiato. wow. we're hunting boar, but # looking at this spread, it's a wonder there are any left out there.
claudia's hunting group is the first all female hunting squadra in italy, but they're letting me and a few other fellows in on the action today. we have to be very quiet. i guess because the boar, they must have really good hearing. and we're just waiting for the okay to go down to try to kill them. people are starting to move forward, i think we're on the way. can you hear me? the boar can't. the hunters set out in groups and take up positions in the valley below. claudia, who is six months pregnant by the way, and i will oversee the proceedings from a suitable vantage point. >> marco.
where all that salami comes from. but witnessing that shot first-hand really brings home the reality of our carnivorous ways. this boar will have to be hung for 28 days before it's ready for the pot. ready for the pot. but luckily for us, giuseppina, claudia's mom, and her brigade, have been working away on another beast, following a family recipe for wild boar ragout. the local boar is full of flavor, thanks to its foraged diet of roots, acorns, and even truffles. but to be at its best, the meat first needs a slow cook with herbs, lemon, and vinegar. then, giuseppina whizzes it up in a blender before adding it to a tomato sauce with salty green olives, which is the perfect complement to the boar's richness.
ancestors and the boar proud. i'd like to make a toast. i'm going to make a toast to you! thank you so much claudia, for taking us, i'm not going to say it in italian. okay, thank you so much for taking us on the hunt today, and all of you, it was a great experience and congratulations. cheers. thank you, thank you. >> thank you so much. >> cheers. >> the ragout is rich and comforting and tastes all the better after a day out in the woods. i think if umbria itself had a flavor, this dish would be it. thank you.
i'm swapping umbria's majestic forests for the achingly beautiful mountainous backdrop of norcia. this medieval city is blessed with panoramic views of snowcapped peaks, but it's a place torn apart by the volatile fault line that runs beneath it. a series of disastrous earthquakes have battered norcia. the most recent in 2016 demolished the city center. six years on, locals are still
debating how best to rebuild without changing the town's historic character. still standing amongst the rubble however, is one tradition that's been synonymous with norcia for centuries. and of all the pork joints in the all the towns, this one reigns supreme. last night i thought i was all porked out, but my mouth is watering already. oh, oh, oh. okay. mm, that's so good . >> literally some of the best --
wow. so you can see why they would be called donkey's balls. you have to use your imagination for the rest of the package. putting innuendo to one side, the salami here really is incredible. the combination of wild herbs from the forest and the fresh mountain air takes it all to another level. i've got to meet the maker. maestro pepe, that's him on the sign manning the sausage machine, is the last true norcino standing.
>> legend has it, that during the renaissance, the master pork smiths of norcia were so skilled with the knife that on occasion they were even called upon to operate on humans, and they've been revered ever since for their craft and warrior-like worth ethic. but today the butchers here are struggling to recruit future norcini. no, no. i leave pepe to get back to work. mind you, he never actually stopped the whole time i've been
here. and i'm left hoping he finds a worthy apprentice. maestro pepe's dilemma is echoed throughout the forests and vales of umbria, and it seems as if the whole region is at a crossroads between its proud ancient traditions and the pressures of the modern world. what's that? everything dings these days doesn't it? everything. everything has to have a bell. >> nice to meet you, i'm carlo. >> nice to meet you too. >> please, i want to show you my valley. >> but some umbrians, like farmer carlo caporicci, believe there is a way to combine this region's past with the present, to fuse the best of the old, with the best of the new.
this place is incredibly beautiful. >> yeah. >> so this is all the trees you planted? >> yeah. these are 20, 21 years old. >> each of these trees holds a secret. what you see here laid out in a perfect grid is a truffle plantation. yes, black truffles that are farmed, not foraged. 30 or so years ago, not many people had ever really heard of this umbrian ingredient. but now carlo can barely keep up with the demand, and neither can mother nature. so he's come up with the solution. let's go. to create the ideal conditions
for truffles to grow, carlo has a special technique for treating each acorn he plants. you take the nut, a little bit of the truffle. >> and a little paste of black winter truffle. >> right. paste, we mix together. >> with this. >> and we put it in a pot and wait for one year, and after, put it in the ground. bruno -- >> okay. >> we put inside the ground. >> a year in the pot, in the ground it goes, five years of umbrian sunshine and some rain and there you are, truffles on tap. i wonder if this would work in my backyard. >> to showcase the flavor of all these truffles, carlo and his daughteral lus opened a restaurant right here on the farm. and it's her skill and innovation in the kitchen that brings out the best of each
search of opportunity and new ideas, first going to london, then rome. alice combines the distinctly umbrian food tradition with a more modern sensibility. yeah, yeah, yeah. earthy and sweet, yeah. the addition of beetroot is inspired, but nothing upstages the true star of the show -- a mountain of truffle. and now here it comes, a fitting finale in celebration of carlo, alice, the future of the truffle and possibly the future of
matteo, my friend the historian, hails from. so who better to show me around umbria's capital city. >> this is my city, perugia. perugia is a young city. it's a city where we have two universities, one for italian people and one for foreigners, and it's a city which is known for jazz. we have an incredible jazz festival during the summer. >> yeah. this vibrant city is famous for its independent spirit. if umbrian's like to do things their own way, then perugians multiply that by the power of ten. long, long ago, when perugia was ruled by the pope, things came to a head, shall we say. >> what you can notice on this square is that the church is facing the building of the mayor, and it's not by chance that. >> and this facing the government offices. >> exactly.
>> and his hand is on -- >> the griffin. >> the griffin. >> yeah, which is the symbol of the city. >> right. >> and that is a message that the pope want to send to the people of perugia -- be careful. >> he's silencing. >> that's it. we are silencing. >> this standoff reached a breaking point in 1540 when pope paul iii hit perugia where it really hurt. >> you have to know that one of the most popular food in umbria and in perugia are the salami. >> yes. >> prosciutto, salami, all those things, we use the salt. >> yeah. >> what did the pope do? he said, "okay, in umbria they use the salt, now i will put a tax on the salt." >> it's crazy. it's crazy. >> the salt tax was the last straw. perugia declared war on the pope, but the papal army crushed the insurgents in these very streets, and the pope built a fortress smack in the middle of the town, to show the people who was boss. but that didn't stop the
perugians. their spirit of resistance lived on with a cunning culinary plan, to rebel against their oppressor. matteo is taking me to one of his favorite hangouts, la prosciutteria. it's a new take on the traditional bottega. and amongst their bounty of umbria's finest meats and cheeses, is perugia's secret in the battle against the salt tax. >> really? wow.
>> the nice thing, is that we have a lot of salt in this plate, because we have salami, we have prosciutto, everything very salty, and now this kind of bread is perfect to eat. >> yeah, because it doesn't get in the way. >> exactly. >> it accepts the flavors. >> the little appetizers, yes, they're delicious. >> that's really rich. >> yeah it is. >> also with the poppy seeds on it. >> yeah. >> i like that. >> yeah. >> cheers. >> cheers. >> the food is as good and authentic as i've had anywhere in umbria, but the service and setting is just a bit cooler. so, how old are you guys? why did you end up working here? ah. yeah.
>> thank you very much. thank you. and thank you. having made a good dent in yet another mound of salami, it's time to move on from the hustle and bustle of modern umbria, and head back to its ancient heart. life... doesn't stop for diabetes. be ready for every moment, with glucerna. it's the number one doctor recommended brand that is scientifically designed to help manage your blood sugar. live every moment. glucerna.
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of all the fairytale landscapes i've seen in umbria, this one may be the most breathtaking. perched atop a cliff of volcanic rock, orvieto is visible for miles in every direction. its ornate cathedral, reaching up to the heavens, is one of the finest in italy. and beneath its dazzling guomo, orvieto has even more stories to tell. local chef valentina santinicio is on her way to give me the grand tour, but i've got time to try a local delicacy, charmingly
called il baffo, meaning mustache, because the strips of succulent guanciale resemble one. sort of. >> hi. hello. >> hi, hi. >> nice to meet you. >> nice to meet you too. >> how are you? >> very well. >> it's a pleasure to see you here. >> well, it's a pleasure to be here with you. thank you. sorry my mouth is full. >> good. >> that's delicious. >> yeah, it's traditional recipe, it's done with vinegar and sage, it's very easy. was my grandfather's breakfast when i was younger. >> really? >> 9:00. >> thank you. >> and just like that, valentina whisks me away, leading me downwards, like alice in wonderland, into a labyrinth of tunnels and caves. >> we have to go down. >> down. >> down, down. >> down, down, down. >> but unlike alice, it's not a rabbit we've come to meet but another small animal that the people here have dined on for centuries. >> here we are. >> incredible. >> yes.
this is the house of pigeon, my favorite pigeon, you know. >> your favorite pigeon. >> after you know why. >> yes, yes. we're going to taste it, yeah. >> yeah. >> yeah. what we're looking at here are, in fact, dovecotes, carved into the walls by the etruscans who founded orvieto over 2,000 years ago. wow. encouraging pigeons to nest here gave the early towns folk a source of nutritious meat, without having to stray outside the city walls. they could just come and go, but this is where they would roost. >> yes. >> when would they eat the pigeon? what stage in the pigeon's life? >> oh, usually when they are ready to fly, when they was -- >> when they're babies. >> yeah, babies, the babies are for food. >> for food, right. >> today, pigeon is still an orvietan staple. braised, it's one of the town's signature dishes and any
self-respecting local can recite the recipe backwards. but at the restaurant valentina has run since 2016, she's pioneered a new approach. >> we are here. >> yes. >> with a pigeon. poor pigeon. >> yeah. >> but it's so nice. cut this way. >> because pigeon can be tough, valentina cooks the bird two ways, ensuring it's moist and flavorful. half the pigeon is braised traditionally and the other borrows from far and wide. so, you never trained as a chef? >> never. it's something that is my blood i think. i studied for, as accountant, that is very useful for my job, but not for cooking. >> yeah. >> this is the breast. >> beautiful. >> and i put in the soy sauce form my marinade? >> yeah, marinade, you put it in the soy sauce. >> marinade, yeah, yeah. and then to cook in sous vide, that is modern, modern technique to cooking. >> yes, to make it moist. >> and it's just easy. this is the easy part.
for the legs -- >> nice. just like most time-honored dishes, no part of the pigeon goes to waste. >> this has to cook altogether in this pan with olive oil and then -- >> the heart and the liver. >> yeah, it's very bloody. everything. >> the kidneys, the liver, the heart. >> yeah. >> everything. >> yeah. >> it looks like you've killed someone. >> yeah, someone. >> carrots, onion, thyme and celery go into the pot. then it all needs to cook low and slow for up to four hours to make it meltingly tender. luckily, valentina was up with the lark today and started this one earlier. okay, wow. thank god for the etruscans. i've always said that.
>> right. >> yeah. >> right. >> i mean come on, that's so good. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> the sous vide breast now gets what they call a reverse sear in a little butter, to crisp up the skin. yes. oh. wow. okay. come on. oh i love that. wow. thank you so much. incredible amount of history in that little bowl right there, and then a piece of it was something new. and then a piece of it was something new. you know it's so delicious and nutritious. >> thank you. >> yeah, it's really good. >> thank you.
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have a home here, and livia's twin brothers have had a st. francis like epiphany, leaving their old careers behind to do something very special with a plot of land next door. >> stanley. >> together, the twin. >> ciao. >> come through, come through. >> how beautiful. >> yeah. >> so i haven't seen you guys, the last time it was like three and a half years ago. >> we changed our life basically. >> you totally changed your lives. >> totally. i was doing your job actually. >> i know. and you were living -- were you living in rome? >> yes. >> you were living in rome. and you were living in -- >> between london and milan, kind of fashion and playing the big manager, and now became a farmer. >> this is no run of the mill farm though. the twins have a passion for sustainability and love to experiment by cross pollinating long forgotten varieties to create super charged new vegetables.
>> so taking a flower from a tomato which is good, but it's not really resistant to climate change, to the summer, it was 45 degrees. >> yeah, yeah. >> and just go to another plant, it's got this tomato which are really resistant, and cross them and as an example, this is what came out. >> oh my god, look at that color. >> this is a mix between a black one and actually this one. and this one is much more resistant than this one and it's sweeter. >> to the heat? >> to the heat. >> that's good. >> what began as a childhood dream, has evolved into a very real 60-acre farm, and extensive seed library. >> we start cultivating all this wild kind of mustard, wasabi, edible flowers. >> oh wow, yeah. i love you can eat that. and you guys eat meat, i mean
you're not -- >> of course. i mean we didn't turn vegetarian for this. in umbria it's -- >> in umbria, if you don't love your meat, you'd better move. >> exactly, you better move. >> i have to stand up, my knees are killing me. >> yeah, me too. i mean we squat a lot. >> i know, i know. >> you can imagine. >> if i were 40, i could squat a little longer. >> alessandro and nicola's inventory now extends to over 1,000 varieties of fruit and vegetables. but keeping this many different plants healthy, without using any pesticides, is no easy feat. >> what was the word before? you've developed a word. >> agriconcura. which comes from agricultura, which is agriculture but cura is the duty of care. so it's agri with care. it actually then takes you back with the taste, with those colors, with the consistency. >> yeah, yeah. >> the twins' nurturing philosophy doesn't just apply to plants, but to people too.
there's a sense of community and a family feel on the farm. >> stanley, we're gonna start picking up some ingredients for our lunch. do you want to get some aubergine. >> look, it's an ostrich egg. >> it's called dragon egg actually. and we go this because they've got a very special, special taste. they don't get soggy. i put them on the fire like that, burn them a bit, then cut them in half and with a spoon, like a little dessert. farm in-house chef, davide, is fanning the flames to make one of the specials of the day, eggplant caviar. pulled straight from the ground and simply pricked with a knife, these are going to be delicious. while they roast, it's time to start the pasta course. >> this is aglio. this is one of my favorite things. aglio is garlic, right? >> yes. >> aglione, big garlic, and
that's that. all right go ahead, put it in. >> the tuscans next door like to claim this mellow tasting garlic as their own, but don't tell that to the umbrians. its classic partner is a simple passata, made from tomatoes harvested just a few weeks ago. thick enough to hang on to the sauce, these picci are the perfect pasta to go with it. >> oh look at that. oh gorgeous. >> now you see why they're called -- >> caviar. >> eggplant caviar. >> what is that tarragon? >> tarragon. >> the secret ingredient is a bit of davide's fingers. >> a little touch of humanity in there, yes. >> if you happen to have a bruschetta. >> oddly enough we do. >> more salt. >> more salt? >> no, no. >> stanley, would you mind helping me?
>> of course, yes. >> go eat, eat, eat. pass those down. >> this rustic open air feast -- >> wait, i need a fork. >> umbria's answer to fine dining. >> guys, this is incredible. >> the twins and this farm -- >> bon appetito. >> bon appetito. >> -- really encapsulate italy's green heart and its strong independent culture, cherishing the past while embracing the future, always on their own terms. and given that, you have to agree with big george. [ speaking non-english ]