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tv   Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy  CNN  May 14, 2022 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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>> i am proud of what we all did in moscow. and despite being arrested, despite the notoriety because of trigon operation, i continued to work very successfully for 32 work very successfully for 32 years as a covert cia officer. -- captions by vitac -- 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 rice truffles, to rice for risotto, and the finest wines. >> it's incredible how really
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you put it in, and it's changed completely. >> the people here are fuelled by passion and ambition. 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 across italy to discover how the food in each of this country's 20 regions is as unique as the people and their past. >> it resurrects a dead person. >> piedmont's a place that's always innovative. >> you have to be a little bit crazy. yes. >> here, you have to expect the unexpected. and come at things a little differently to unearth its real treasures. ♪ ♪
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italy has a reputation for coffee, but it's taken to another level in touren. its graceful squares and elegant buildings are perfect. if you squint, you could even imagine yourself in paris. and that's no accident. tu ran is the capital of piedmont, a region in the extreme northwest of italy, directly on the border with france. having such a larger than life neighbor has left its mark. but if there's a drink that sums it up, it's this, 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. [speaking foreign language] >> that's really good.
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it's in three layers. coffee, chocolate, cream. different temperatures. >> the french may have introduced chocolate to turan, but only italians could find 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 turan aristocrat with a big idea. food writer and local historian pavlo 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. >> camille. 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 dukedoms and kingdoms, with the
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spanish controlling the south, and the austrians, the northeast. the kingdom of sardinia, that ruled piedmont, led the fight to throw out the foreign powers and build an italy run by italians. >> what year is this now? >> 1861. >> '61. and turan becomes it's first capital for like a minute and a half or something like that. >> yeah, something like that. but we still have a huge -- >> turan may have lost out to rome in the long run, but during its time in the capital, italy beam 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
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priorities. restaurant del first began serving tourists in 1787, and it's doors have been opened ever since. >> oh, it's locked. oh, well, we'll have to go get some pizza. actually there's a wonderful chinese restaurant around the corner there. >> luckily, the staff did take pity on us, and we get in before the lunch rush. >> welcome to versailles. it's a time warp, isn't it? >> every day used to have lunch in that seat. and from there, he could see his assistant was waving his handkerchief from the balcony was the signal he had to go back. >> and he had to go back because he would just stay here. >> yeah, yeah, for hours. >> my agent does that. >> here, tradition is everything. but the head chef, may tao, has made it his mission to drag this historical land mark into the 21st century, while still
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preserving the essence of what makes the restaurant unique. >> may tao, how are you? >> stanley. >> it's a high wire balancing act. >> matteo is not your typical chef. >> i can see that, yeah. >> it is served with a typically italian vegetable, black kale. >> wow. i don't have anything to say. it's incredible. it's an amazing mix of flavors. the acidity, the sweetness.
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>> i think it's a good symbol because it's super french in the base. >> but then it becomes italian. >> matteo's unique take on cuisine pulls a chic crowd. in the 19th century, a fan of aristocratic food, but he also loved homey, more regional dishes. his favorite was a classic, a stew made from the cheaper parts of animals . >> of the spine? >> the spine, yeah.
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>> so, this used to be more regional food. >> this is so associated with cavore in this restaurant that matteo can't take it off the menu . >> that's it? >> it's like the opposite of what people try to do now. they try to hide it. >> let's do it. >> first up, the traditional. this is really delicious. and delicate. you think it's not going to be delicate. >> he loved these kind of dishes because he was grown with
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french, but in the end he could recognize how it was. >> now, matteo's reinvention. you dip in the sauce, and you taste. >> okay. i was afraid of the testicles. but i'm not now. they are absolutely delicious. i have to say, i love afaux, i do. but even i was like, it is really, really delicious. that kidney, god, i love it. in these dishes that cavour loved, we find the contradictions. he loved the regional food. >> you're amazing. amazing. thank you so much.
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call unitedhealthcare today for your free decision guide. ♪ ♪ piedmont has many firsts to its name. it's the birth place of modern italy, and turin was its first capital. 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 slow food movement. the genesis of the slow food movement 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,
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significantly changed the world of food as we know it. the campus is an hour south of turin, in the small town of pollenzo, and when i say small, i mean, like, small. tiny. >> can we go any smaller, the streets. it's like a test. what an amazing spot. >> this is clearly not your average college campus. students here study in a 19th century gothic palace, originally built for piedmont's royal family. >> i'm meeting carlo, the founder of the university and creator of the slow food movement. 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,
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drink, company, the wonderful ritual of eating. i've come back to turin to see slow food's philosophy in action and understand the movement's widen impact across this region and beyond. >> hi. >> hi. >> nice to meet you. i'm carlo. welcome. >> hello. >> this is a family run business. elizabetha does the cooking and her son, carlo, 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. >> it is a traditional dish. now everyone wants to eat something that is very traditional. >> is that because of the slow food movement?
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>> i've been told elizabetha's -- is the best in town. >> where did it come from? >> it gives it incredible flavor too. >> incredible flavor and incredible breath. >> bad breath? >> oh, yes. 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.
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>> a lot of anchovies. >> i noticed. i don't think you left any in the ocean. >> uk find it only in -- and not in every restaurant. it's very rare. >> sorry, sorry. it resurrects a dead person? >> you just have to put some energy. >> finished? >> oh, all right. >> elizabetha cooks everything herself fresh every day. but it seems embracing the traditional means also doing without modern appliances.
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>> my new favorite word. 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 a tuna and caper sauce. meat-filled ravioli bathed in roasting juices.
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oh, my god. wow. wow. and finally, the local specialty, roasted shoulder of veal. >> it's like -- >> this is 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. ♪ i see them bloom ♪ ♪ for me and you ♪ ♪ and i think to myself ♪ ♪ what a wonderful world ♪ a rich life is about more than just money. that's why at vanguard, you're more than just an investor, you're an owner
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♪ what pizza is to naples, risotto is to piedmont. half the rice grown in the country comes from this region. it thrives on floodplains in the poe river valley where it's irrigated by glacial alps. the town of very celli, specializing in risotto everywhere. but i learned the best one is rather surprisingly hiding at the back of a 1960s hotel. >> oh, there it is. unassuming is the word.
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>> brothers christian and emanuel pay homage to rice, serving it in modern, inventive ways to diners who travel the world to taste their risotto. >> we start with the rice. >> this is your rice? >> yeah, this is a selection that we do with farming close to vercelli. you do the roasting of the rice. it is one of the most important for the risotto. we add salt and pepper. >> you're, like, toasting it almost, right? >> yes. the time that you can give flavor to the rice after you give flavor to the ri sew at that. >> vegetable stock. >> yes. almond, carrots, celery. >> the brothers celebrate the very best of piedmont's local.
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their dish is made with coffee, a beer reduction, and cheese. >> the risotto we do now is a tribute to italy. and what we want to do is bring four of the most important ingredients in this dish. >> are you both from this area? >> yeah, we were born in vercelli. in 2005 we decide to open our restaurant and try to do something new. we are born in area with 22 different risotto on the menu. >> the restaurant is a million miles away from a traditional risotto ria. which traditionally only have one or two on the menu. the brothers' approach has earned them a michelin star. you're experimenting all the time? >> yes, we like to take inspiration from music, cinema, art, from everything.
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we never forget what is outside our windows and what we have around skpus the rice and the territory. and it's very important for us. the risotto we have cream. >> nice. >> and we have the powder of coffee. this is a coffee derived from ethiopia. the coffee because i love the coffee. what we try with each dish that we produce is to broker what is in your mind normally and tweak it on something in your memory. >> this is unsalted. >> unsalted. >> yeah. >> you try it? >> not like that. >> it's not difficult. >> it's not? >> no. you do it. that's so cool.
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>> this is reduction of beer. >> just beer? >> we just use the 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 the cream on top. >> this is completely changing everything i thought about risotto. >> coffee on top. and the beer. what kind of spoon you want? >> i'll take that one. >> okay. yeah. thank you. >> that's a revelation. that's, like, a thousand things -- >> yes. >> -- in one can. >> yes. >> wow. also the way you cooked the risotto, it's so nice and firm. >> it's so important to have the flavor of the rice. you have to bite and understand
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what is inside. >> that's unbelievable. you're not doing it in milan. you're not doing it in turin. you're not doing nit florence. you're doing it here where you grew up. >> people are saying we are crazy. not only people outside, but also our grandma. >> she said you were crazy? >> yeah, when we began, our grandma said, you want to sell the rice. >> the brothers' love of rice o also inspires their dessert menu. and the signature dish the rice fields in winter. >> when studying this dish, we use chestnut cream. >> what's that? >> it's from rice flour and chocolate. it's crispy rice. >> like what i used to have for breakfast when i was a kid. >> and the wintertime is the
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most poetic moment of the year. >> you have to be a little bit crazy. yes. >> so, what did he put in there? >> and then you're freezing it? >> that's cool. now it's snowing. that's genius. >> i love it. you neat it with this. >> that's great. it's not super sweet. i want to have it in a cone. >> thank you. >> guys, how come i never met you before? my whole life, wasted.
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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 at charity auctions for huge sums of money. this season's largest white truffles are selling to bidders
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from italy and around the world. the auctioneer is my friend, a food writer. he's got his work cut out for him. bids come in thick 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 two pounds pulling in bidders from moscow and hong kong . that's $114,000. when it comes to price, white
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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 -- >> no. >> -- and would they get that much money? >> i don't think so. >> no. >> in the end, it's 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. >> did you pick it? >> no, no. i was too embarrassed. >> it was probably, like, 20 grand. >> yeah, yeah. >> while the more common black truffle can be farmed, white truffles grow only in the wild, so auction houses rely on truffle -- an area of rowing hills 40 miles south of turin. here, conditions are perfect. warm air from the south pushes back cold currents from the alps, and summer rainfall feeds
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the mineral-rich soil. white truffles sell for extraordinary amount of money, as 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 someone who's agreed to show me some of what he knows. this is going to be interesting. okay. here we go. ciao. stanley. egor is known as the king of truffle hunters. hi. border collie? >> border collie. >> well, shall we? let's go. so beautiful.
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>> lola and suzie have been trained since they were puppies to detect the truffle's unique scent. >> 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
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tough for truffle hunters. climate change has meant less summer rainfall, hence, fewer truffles. >> it seems that 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 garage. oh, my god. no, no, no, no. nothing else in the world is like that. simple recipes are best wit comes to showing off the truffle's flavor. so, egor is cooking me eggs fried in butter, topped with shaved truffle. >> ah, i see.
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>> now, it has to -- >> despite as the razzmataz and ve velvet cushions, when it comes down to it, white truffles are a simple earthly pleasure, straight from mother nature.
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i'm on the trail of another treat that comes from this land of coveted treats. it's so beautiful. back to you 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 red wines. julia is the first person in her family to grow from the vines on this estate. >> so, you inherited this place from your family? >> yes, a family bought it in 1870. and they make one of the first in italy. and they bought it as countryside house. so, no one took care really about the agriculture part. >> these slopes get a lot of sun, although not today, making them perfect for growing a
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thin-skinned grape that's hard to cultivate outside this region. it's the only grape that can be used. you have how many hectares? >> we have six hectare and a half vineyards. it's the last forest in the area. >> oh, really? >> and this is why we're protecting it a lot. >> whereas a lot of wine makers might get rid of that forest and plant more. >> vines? >> yeah. >> exactly. >> produced exclusively in this tiny corner is one of italy's finest and most expensive wines. it is italian for fog, and when the fogs of fall come, that's when it is harvested. so, i'm here at the perfect time to see how julia transforms these grapes. >> come in. >> so, here you can smell a
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little. >> i definitely smell it. >> we finished two weeks ago. trying to pick up with fermentations. >> oh, yeah. >> it's alive. >> it's alive. wow. >> our job is to keep the cap always wet during the fermentation because otherwise it becomes like vinegar. >> oh, vinegar. >> you are putting wine -- >> we are pumping it from the lower parts. >> oh, you're pumping it from the bottom to the top. i see, i see. i'd like to have this in my kitchen. did you go and study wine making? >> i never study wine making. not knowing nothing about it made me learn really faster. >> yeah. >> wine is more is like cooking. it's like your zucchini, if they are burning, you say, i must stop. it's the same. it's more really, i feel it.
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i don't know how to say. >> now for the best part of the process, for me at least. >> it is very young. it will be 2019. we age here. so, these are 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 regions youngest, her wine is outstanding. >> so, we would open another, the glass which is 2017. cheers. >> thank you very much. thank you. that's really nice.
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that's great. >> it is distinctly different than the 2019, which is still in the barrel. the tannens are more prominent. at the same it is lighter and more delicate. >> it is more balanced now. >> literally, it was off balance. it is going back and forth. that's the longest description of any glass of wine that anyone has 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 is pretty good and it is getting better. >> open up. >> as it is open. >> it is incredible how really barolo, you put it in the glass and in ten minutes it has changed completely. >> totally. >> you need a truffle to pair it. >> i know. let's go look for one.
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♪ i cannot resist the call of the alps which dominate the skyline everywhere in piedmont. finally going up in the world, i've ascended to italy's smallest and highest region.
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nestled in the alps, it's cuisine is influenced by close neighbors, france and switzerland. as usual, i'm phammiffamished a there's a little restaurant. >> hello. nice to meet you. welcome. >> thank you. thanks for having me. >> a local teacher and sommelier knows a thing or two about the best this region has to offer. are we going on to eat? >> yes, we can go outside if you want. >> yes. >> okay. >> with views like these, you have to eat outside. what do we have? this is a -- you are speaking french. all right. go ahead. >> this one is light --
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>> thank you. look at that, how beautiful that is. >> so this region, there are basically three different languages, italiano. >> but i feel most of the population of our region consider themselves italian. >> italian. >> because we never see the other side of the mountain, but we know who are the other side. >> and if there's one dish that the close neighbors are famous for -- it is fondue. on this side of the mountains it is called fonduta. over here they make it a little differently.
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>> the difference between, for example, switzerland and france, they have fonduta with different cheese. >> what do they use? >> guere. >> italian fontina cheese from cows fed on sweet grass high in the mountains, makes it so luscious it doesn't need the white wine they add in france or switzerland. oh, my god. that is so good. that is incredible. >> it is so delicious. all of these dishes are packed with calories, perfect for a die high in the mountains, and i couldn't leave without going to the top of one.
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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 at, we're just enveloped in clouds. here we go right into it. well, that was a trip for nothing, right? >> we are on the border, so we have to cross. >> okay. ready? >> yeah. >> you are ready? >> ciao, italy. >> we are in switzerland. >> we're in switzerland. oh, wait, i forgot something. is that where we are going? >> yes. >> what better way to end my journey to the alps than with a glass of the local liquor.
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gennepi is made with an al pine plant celebrated for its healing properties. thank you so much. >> thank you to you. it is fantastic. from herbs from the mountain top. fantastic, no? >> yes. the gennepi has brightened things up considerably, inside and out. oh, look, now we can really see it. >> yeah. >> yeah. magnificent. >> it is difficult to describe. sometimes i see them and i shut up because it is impossible to talk about. >> beautiful. >> stretched out below is valley dosta and piedmont beyond where the italian nation was born, a region without which i wouldn't be searching for italy at all.
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♪> this is my first time in seoul, my first time in south korea. you never feel farther from home than landing in the country in the middle of the day. you lose track of what time it is and what time it is supposed to be. your body is like freaking out. we are actually a day ahead, which doesn't even matter. it sort of forces you to be in the present. >> driving through seoul is a sensory immersion, the smells of food cooking, signs in korean, the high rises, tiny shops. all of it super fast and forward. >> the first thing you want to do, i just lande


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