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tv   Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy  CNN  May 8, 2022 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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visiting today, we can still enjoy ingredients first brought home by the merchants of venice and eat the dishes they created with them in the city by their sea. very clever people with a taste for adventure. if you strap on your skis in the alps and head straight down the mountains, you'll find yourself in the fertile plains of piedmont. this region is a wonder offering up some of the best produce in the world from exquisite truffles and the finest wines. >> it's incredible how really you put it in the glass, and in ten minutes, it's changed completely. >> the people here are fueled by passion and ambition.
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they just don't like to shout about it. oh, my god. i'm stanley tucci. i'm italian on both sides, and i'm traveling to discuss how the foods are ukraine to people and their past. piedmont is a place that's always innovative. >> you have to be a little bit crazy. >> here, you have to expect the unexpected. and come at things a little differently to unearth its real treasures. italy has a reputation for
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coffee, but it's taken to another level here. its graceful squares and elegant buildings are the perfect space to loom over something warming. if you squint, you can imagine yourself in paris, and that's no accident. it's a region in the extreme north west of italy directly on the border with france. having such a larger than life neighbor has left its mark. ideas and foods are everywhere. but if there's a drink that sums it up, it's this. it's a potion that's been all the rage since the 1760s. can i put my spoon in it? i know that sounds like a naughty question. that's really good. it's in three layers, coffee, chocolate, cream, different
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temperatures. the french may have introduced chocolate, but only italians could have come up with a way to suspend three ingredients like this. it packs a powerful punch, just the stuff to fuel revolutions. one of its greatest fans was a 19th century aris krat with a big idea. food writer and local historian palo has agreed to fill me in on the details. >> so good to see you. >> we have a nice day for it. so tell me about that guy. >> he was the politician behind the italian unification. >> before unification, modern italy as we know it didn't exist. instead, it was a patchwork of duke comes and kingdoms. with the spanish controlling the south and the austrians the northeast. the kingdom led the fight to
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rule out to foreign powers and build an italy run by italians. >> what year is this now? >> 1861. >> and it then becomes its first capital for like a minute and a half or something. >> something like that. but we still have a huge -- to face. >> it may have lost out to rome in the long run, but italy became a modern democratic nation for the first time in history. >> this used to be the very first italian parliament. >> italy's first prime minister had good reason for choosing this location for the center of government. >> in front of the parliament, he had his favorite restaurant. look at the distance. >> that's no more than 30 yards. i see we have the same priorities. the restaurant first began serving back in 1757, and its
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doors have been open ever since. it's locked. oh, well. we'll have to go get some pizza. actually, there's a wonderful chinese restaurant around the corner. luckily, the staff took pity on us, and we get in before the lunch rush. it's a time warp, isn't it? >> this is the stable. every day, you used to have lunch in that seat. and from there, he could see his assistant was waving his ha-- fm the balcony and it was the signal he needed to go back. >> here, tradition is everything, but the head chef has made it his mission to drag this historic landmark into the 21st century while still preserving the essence of what
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makes it unique. >> he's not your typical chef. >> i can see that, yes . it's served with a typically italian vegetable, black kale. >> wow. i don't have anything to say. incredible. it's an amazing mix of flavors. the sweetness. >> i think it's a good signal because it's super french in the base, but then -- >> but then it becomes italian.
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mateo's unique take poses a sheik crowd. in the 19th century, he was a fan of aristocrat food. his favorite was a stew made from the cheaper parts of animals. >> oh, the testicles. of the spine. >> this used to be more regional food and workers food.
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>> peasant food. >> he is so associated with this restaurant, that he can't take it off the menu. >> it's almost a rough ragoo. >> it's like the opposite of what people try to do. they try to -- yeah, it's dwood. >> first up, the traditional fenunciara. this is really delicious and delicate because you think it's not going to be delicate. >> they say kabur loved these kinds of dishes because in the end, he could recognize how delicate it was. >> now, mateo's reinvention.
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>> it's a stock of veal, simple marsala. >> i was afraid of the testicles, but i'm not now. they are absolutely delicious. i have to say, i love it, i do. but even i was a little like -- but it is really, really delicious. that kidney -- i love it. oh, my god, i love it. in these dishes that kabur loved, we find the contradictions of italy's birth. he believed in piedmont and italy, and he loved the regional food. you're amazing. amazing. thank you so much. you're incredible.
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piedmont has many firsts to its name. it's the birth place of modern italy. but now, i'm going to explore another first, a food first. so i'm heading to the university of gastronomic sciences, which is run by the genesis of the slow food movement. it was when they opened a mcdonald's at the spanish steps in rome in the 1980s and a group of people protested, and that was the beginning of the movement. it has, without question, significantly changed the world of food as we know it. the campus is an hour south of
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turin in a small town. and when i say small, i mean small, like tiny. could we go on smaller streets? it's like a test. what an amazing spot. this is clearly not your average college campus. students here get to study in a 19th century palace originally built for piedmont's royal family. all right. let's go. i'm meeting carlo patrina, the founder of the industry, you might say a real-life caped crusader.
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>> slow food's mission is to fight against bland industrialized food. the university teaches the value of regional specialties from olive oil to wine. it's all about savoring, food, drink, company, the wonderful ritual of eating.
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i've come back to turin to see slow food's philosophy in action and understand the food's impact across this region and beyond. >> nice to meet you. hello. welcome. >> hello. >> pleased to meet you. elizabeth. >> this is a family-run business. she does the cooking, and her son serves the customers. today, she is making a specialty, a warm sauce made from anchovies and garlic that you dip vegetables into. it's a dish that a few years ago was in danger of disappearing from restaurants. >> now everyone wants to eat something that is very traditional. >> is that because of the slow food movement? >> yes, it is. >> i have been told hers is the
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best in town. >> where did it come from? >> it was for poor people because it was very, very cheap. >> and it gives an incredible flavor too. >> incredible flavor and incredible bad breath. >> does it? >> yes. the garlic kills almost everyone you can have in front of you. >> well, it wouldn't be the first time i've ended up wreaking of garlic. the crew will just have to put up with it. >> i noticed. i don't think there were any more left in the ocean.
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>> it's a very particular dish. you can find it only in piedmont, and not in every restaurant. it's very rare. >> sorry. sorry. >> it residence recollects a dead person? >> you want to do it, you just have to put some energy. >> finished? oh, all right. she cooks everything herself fresh every day, but it seems embracing the traditional means also doing without modern appliances. i would love it, actually. yeah .
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that's my new favorite word. mm. oh, my god. that is amazing. if i smell of garlic, i don't care. well, i'm starving. is the chef good? >> yes. >> the classic, if slightly unusual combination of veal with tuna and caper sauce. meat- meat-filled ravioli. oh, my god. wow. wow. and finally, the local specialty, roasted shoulder of
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veal. >> it's like 11 out of 10. >> so good. >> you are very kind. >> no, i'm not kind. well, i'm not being kind. in piedmont, traditional regional food is very much alive and well. >> she's very proud of it. >> she should be. >> it's all about passion. >> yeah. ♪ ♪ we move with presence. from our creative style... to our thoughtful innovations. empower your presence in the all-new lexus lx 600.
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what pizza is to nape ls, rissoto is to piedmont. half the rice grown in the country comes from this renal. it thrives on flood plains northeast of tur irk n where it's irrigated by melted glacial water from the alps. the town of vercelli has rissoto everywhere, but aif heard the best one is hiding at the back of a 1960s hotel. there it is. i'm assuming is the word.
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hi. brothers christian and manual hum imagine to rice, serving it to diners who travel the world to taste it. >> we start with the rice. >> this is your rice. >> this is like a selection we do with the farming close to vercelli. we do the roasting of the rice. it's one of the most important parts. for the rissoto, we add salt and pepper. >> you're like toasting it almost, right? >> yes. the only time that you can give flavor to the rice after you give flavor to the rissoto.
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we have onions, carrots, celery. >> they celebrate the best of piedmont's local produce. their signature dish is made with -- >> what we want to do is bring four of the most important ingredients. >> are you both from this area? >> yeah, we are born here. it was built by our grand parents. in 2005, we decided to open our restaurant and try to do something of new. we are born after 22 different rissoto on the menu. >> their restaurant is a million miles away from a traditional one which usually only have one or two rissotos on the menu. it's earned them a star. >> you are experimenting all the
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time? >> yes. we like to take inspiration from our lives, from music or television, from cinema, from art, from everything. we will never forget what we have around us and the rice and the territory, and piedmont is very important for us. after, we have the powder of coffee. it's the coffee that arrived from ethiopia. the coffee arrived because i love the coffee. what we thrive with each dish we produce is to click on something of your past in your memory. >> you try? >> not like that. >> it's not difficult. >> it's not?
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no. you do it. that's so cool. >> this is a reduction of beer. >> just beer? >> we just use is sugar of the beer. >> it's like caramel. >> yes. the mix from the beer, coffee, and cheese in the mouth is like fresh mushroom. now we add this on top. >> this is completely changing everything i thought about rissoto. >> coffee on top and the beer at the hand. what kind you want? >> i'll take that one. thank you. that's a revelation. that's like a thousand things in one can. >> yes.
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>> wow. also the way you cooked the rissoto, it's so nice and firm. >> it's so important to have the flavor of the rice, you have to bite and understand what's inside. >> that's unbelievable. you're not doing it in milan, you're doing it here where you grew up. >> people say we are crazy. not only people outside, but also our grandma. >> she said you were crazy? >> yeah. >> the brothers' love of rice also inspires their dessert menu. and manual's signature dish is rice field in winter. >> once i did this dish, i go in the rice field for taste the ground, for smell the ground. we use chestnut cream. >> what's that? >> it's rice ground. it's rice flour and chocolate. we have some crispy rice.
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>> what i used to have for breakfast when i was a kid. not as good as that, but yeah. >> wintertime for us is one of the most poetic of the year. you have to be crazy. >> yes. >> but some liquid nitrogen. >> what did he put in there? and then you're freezing it? >> that's cool. >> so now it's snowing. that's genius. >> a morning in vercelli. >> i love it. you eat it with this? >> yes. that's great. it's not supersweet. i want to have it in a cone. >> thank you. >> damn it. guys, how come i never met you before?
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if you visit piedmont, there's something that grows here that's so special, you have to try it. the white truffle. it's so coveted that it sold on the market and charity auctions for huge sums of money. this season's largest white truffles are selling to bidders from italy and around the world. the auction near is my friend. he's got his work cut out for him. bids for the delicate fungai come in quick and fast. luckily, the buyer isn't put off. the white truffle's value seems to be pretty much indestructible. last up, a truffle weighing close to 2 pounds, pulling in
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bidders from moscow and hong kong . that's $114,000. when it comes to price, white truffles from piedmont are in a league of their own. nice to see you again. >> nice to see you again. >> would any other truffle from any other part of italy garner that much attention, and would they get that much money? >> i don't think so. it's all about the nature around here. >> i couldn't believe it, though, when the guy dropped the truffle. >> that was a chilling moment. >> there was one little piece left on the floor. i saw it. >> did you pick it? >> no. i was too embarrassed. >> probably like 20 grand. >> i know. i was like, yeah. while the more common black truffle can be farmed, white truffles grow only in the wild.
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so auctions count on them to source it in areas 40 miles south of turin. here conditions are perfect. warm air from the south pushes back cold currents from the south. and rainfall feeds the soil. white truffle sell for extraordinary amounts of money because they're so hard to find even if you know what you're doing. i'm going to meet a truffle hunter, and we're going to catch a big one. the competition between truffle hunters is intense, and they're obsessed with guarding their secrets. but i'm meeting with someone who's agreed to show me some of what he knows. this is going to be interesting. okay. here we go. stanley. egor is known as the king of truffle hunters.
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hi. border kolly. >> well, shall we? so beautiful. lola and susie have been trained since they were puppies to track to truffle's unique scent.
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egor once found a monster truffle weighing just over two pounds, so you never know what we might find today.
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for all of egor's expertise, the last few years have been tough for truffle hunters. climate change has meant less rainfall, hence, fewer truffles. that seems the truffles are being shy today. with truffles harder to find, they're becoming more precious than ever. luckily for me, egor did find a truffle yesterday, and he wants to cook up a classic truffle dish in his granl.
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simple recipes are best when it comes to showing off the truffle's flavor. so he's cooking the eggs fried in butter topped with shaved truffle. now it has to --
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despite all the -- when it comes down to it, white truffles are really a simple earthy treasure, straight from mother nature. growing up in a little red house, on the edge of a forest in norway, there were three things my family encouraged: kindness, honesty and hard work.
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call for your free publisher kit today! in the -- i'm on the trail of another coveted treat that comes from this land of coveted treats. so beautiful. due to a unique combination of geography and climate, these hills are home not only to the white truffle but also one of italy's most celebrated wines. she's the first person in her family to make it from vines on this estate. so you inherited this place from your family? >> yes. we're a family and they made one
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of the first in italy, and they -- so no one ever took care of the agricultural part. >> these slopes get a lot of sun, although, not today, making them perfect for growing a thin-skinned grape that's hard to cultivate outside this region. it's the only grape that can be used to make it. so you have how many hsectors? >> it's along the last forest -- and this is why we're really protecting it a lot. >> for a lot of wine makers might get rid of that forest and plant another. >> vine? exactly. >> it's produced exclusively in this tiny corner and it's one of italy's finest and most expensive wine. nebia is italian for fog, and
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when the fog comes, that's when it's harvested. so i'm here at the perfect time to see how julia transforms these grapes. >> come in. so you can smell it definitely. >> i definitely smell it. >> we finished the harvest two weeks ago. we are truly in the peek of the fermentations, and if you listen -- >> oh, yeah. >> -- it's alive. >> it's alive. wow. >> our job is to keep the -- always wet during the fermentation. >> oh, vinegar. >> yeah. >> you're putting wine -- >> oh, you're pumping it from the bottom to the to top. oh, i see. i would like to have this in my kitchen. did you go and study wine
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making, or you just taught yourself? >> i never studied wine making. not knowing nothing about it made me learn really faster. wine is more like cooking. it's like if they are burning, you say, okay, i'll stop. it's the same. it's more really -- i feel it. >> now for the best part of the process, for me at least. >> now we will taste one that's very young. it will be a 2019. it will stay two years here. so it's at the half of its aging. >> i'm not spitting that out. it's delicious. but you can tell it just needs more time. >> definitely. >> how old are you? >> 30 last week. >> that's incredible. . one of the region's youngest
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vineyards, her meticulous observation of the process makes her wine outstanding. >> so we will open another one. this is the 2017. cheers. >> thank you very much. thank you. >> you're that's really nice. that's great. it is distinctly different than the 2019, which is still in the barrel. the tannins are more prominent. and yet, at the same time, it's sort of lighter. and more delicate. >> uh-huh. it's more balanced now. >> literally, it was off-balance. it's going back and forth. that's the longest description of any glass of wine that anyone's ever made and i'm really sorry. i'm sorry, i could say that, you know, it has notes of strawberry, but i won't say that, because it doesn't. i'll just say it's very good. and it's getting better.
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as it's opening. >> it's incredible how really -- you put it in the glass and in ten minutes it's changed completely. >> totally. >> so you need the truffle to pair it. >> well, let's go look for one. >> stanley tucci, searching for italy, brought to you by fisher investments. (other money manager) but you still sell investments that generate high commissions for you, right? (fisher investments) no, we don't sell commission products. we're a fiduciary, obligated to act in our client's best interest. (other money manager) so when do you make more money, only when your clients make more money? (fisher investments) yep. we do better when our clients do better. at fisher investments, we're clearly different.
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skyline everywhere in piedmont. finally going up in the world, i've ascended to italy's smallest and highest region, nestled in the alps its cuisine is influenced by close neighbors france and switzerland. as usual i'm famished and there's a little restaurant at the foot of the matter horn dedicated to alpine food. alpage. >> hello, nice to meet you, welcome. >> thank you. thanks for having me. >> a local teacher and knows a thing or two about what the region has to offer. >> we can go outside. >> with views like these, you have to eat outside. >> what do we have?
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>> this is a -- you're speaking french, all right, go ahead. >> this one is light -- >> thank you. look at that, how beautiful that is. >> so this region, there are basically three different languages, . >> but i think most of the population of our region is considered italian. >> we never see the other side of the mountain. but we know who are on the other side. >> and there's one dish that the close neighbors are famous
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for -- >> oh, gracia. >> it's fondue. on this side of the mountains it's called fonduta, and over here they make it a little differently. >> the difference between, for example, switzerland and france, they have fonduta with different cheese. >> what do they use? >> gruyere. >> italian cheese from cows fed on squeet grass high noo these mountains make it so luscious it doesn't need the white wine they add in france or switzerland. >> oh, my god, that is so good. that's incredible.
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>> so delicious. all these dishes are packed with calories, perfect for a day high in the mountains, and i couldn't leave without going to the top of one. i've actually skied here before, and the view from the peak is spectacular. i can't wait to see it again and then, as if on cue -- look it, we're just enveloped in cloud. here we go right into it. that was a trip for nothing. >> we are on the border. so we have to cross. >> okay, ready? >> yeah. we are ready. >> yeah, switzerland. >> we're in switzerland, oh, wait, i forgot something, is that where we're going? >> what better way to end my
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journey to the alps than with a glass of the local liquor. >> a real winter warmer, made with worm woord, an alpine plant celebrated for its healing opportunities. >> thank you so much. >> thank you to you. it's fantastic. from -- fantastic, no? >> yes. the jenepi has brightened things up considerably, inside and out. >> oh, look, now we can really see it. >> yeah. and it is sort of -- >> magnificent. >> it's difficult the describe sometimes. i see them, and i shout out
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because it's impossible to talk about. >> beautiful. stretched out believe is valet dosta, and piedmont beyond, a region without which i wouldn't be searching for italy at all. this is my first time in south korea. you never feel farther from home than landing in a country in the middle of the day. you lose track of what times the and what time it's supposed to be. your body is freaking out. we're actually a day ahead. but does it matter? it forces you to be in the


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