Cerca Sapori-my new favorite show on Rai- Italian TV. For a long time I was tuning into a cooking show (La Prova del Cuoco) that was part cooking and part Italian comic relief with the audience bursting into song at various times during the episode. I grew to love this show. One segment was a timed cooking competition between two pairs of entrants and the other was usually a feature on a home cook demonstrating a local specialty. I was tuning in almost every day and had gotten to the point where I could sing along with the corny songs that would pop up on every show. Then one day the show wasn’t on anymore and I felt like I had lost a friend.
Now I’m taping Cerca Sapori (literally translated as “the search for flavors”). This show is presented as a journey through the various areas of Italy and features typical products of the area. The main segment is dedicated to a farm or small factory producing an artisanal food product. You get an up close look at how the product (it might be mozzarella di bufala, proscuitto or bread from a particular area) is made and hear from the people responsible for its production. Next up there’s a trip to a local farmers market and you get to watch a local shopping for the specialties of the area. Usually its a nonna (grandmother) who is reticent to being interviewed, but she’s more often than not opinionated about what’s she’s purchasing!
Yesterday I happened to see an episode featuring “bresaola”, which is air dried salted beef that is made in the northern part of the country (Lombardia) and is served sliced incredibly thin, usually with arugula, parmigiano and may be topped with lemon juice or olive oil. I happened to be meeting this morning with P., my Italian tutor, and mentioned never having eaten bresaola. She immediately decided that at our next meeting we would have a luncheon at her house where she would serve this as we dined on her deck overlooking the San Diego harbor. I’m already thinking of what I can contribute to this meal-maybe a dessert from Gina de Palma’s Dolce Italiano. I know if i want to impress an Italian with a dessert, I can’t go wrong with a recipe from this book!