‘Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy’: What’s on the menu in Piedmont


(CNN) — From exquisite white truffles to rich risottos and the finest wines, Piedmont is a gastronomic paradise.

Below is a guide to where you can find some of the dishes Tucci devoured in Piedmont. Missed the episode? Catch up here on CNNgo.

Coffee, chocolate and cream

Italy has a reputation for coffee, but nowhere is it more evident than in Turin, Piedmont’s capital.

Its signature drink is the bicerin, which has been packing a powerful punch since the 1760s.

It consists of three layers — coffee, chocolate and cream — each at a different temperature and beautifully suspended in one cup.

Here’s a tip: Don’t stir, but sip the caffeinated masterpiece.

If this got your mouth watering, you can make your own version at home. Food52’s version requires five ingredients: dark chocolate, espresso, sugar, cocoa powder and cream.

Chef’s new take on a centuries-old classic

Next, Tucci stopped by Del Cambio restaurant, which has been serving Turin’s elite since 1757.
Head chef Matteo Baronetto has made it his mission to drag this historical landmark into the 21st century while still preserving the essence of what makes the restaurant unique. It’s a high-wire balancing act that’s earned him a Michelin star.

Tucci tried finanziera, an ancient Piedmontese stew made from the cheaper parts of animals. It contains the veal brain, kidneys, testicles and the middle of the spine. Baronetto makes two versions: the traditional one and his unique take.

First up, the traditional: In this ancient peasant dish, the meat is chopped into small pieces, cooked on low with vinegar and marsala.

“This is really delicious,” Tucci said, “and delicate.”

Now, for Baronetto’s reinvention: His version contains large pieces of steamed meat with a dipping sauce on the side.

“Wow. I was afraid of the testicles, but I’m not now,” Tucci said. “They’re absolutely delicious.”

A finger-licking good hot garlic dip

Bagna càuda is a classic dish from the Piedmont region of Italy. Stanley Tucci raved about the garlic dip on “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” Tune in Sundays at 9 p.m. ET for all-new episodes.

Chef Elisabetta Chiantello cooked up bagna cauda, a Piedmontese specialty. The sauce is made from anchovies and garlic and served warm. It’s perfect for dipping vegetables.

“This will be the best bagna cauda you’ll ever eat in your life,” she told Tucci.

And he agreed when he tried it. “Oh my God! That is amazing,” he said.

But the chef’s son warned: You’ll have bad breath after indulging in this savory treat.

Innovative risotto

Two brothers are serving up risotto in original ways, and their inventive approach earned them a Michelin star. Don’t miss “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” on CNN Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

What pizza is to Naples, risotto is to Piedmont. Tucci heard the best restaurant for risotto is hiding at the back of a 1960s hotel in Vercelli.

Two brothers run Ristorante Christian e Manuel. Their risotto is served in modern and original ways, and this inventive approach earned them a Michelin star.

Their signature dish is a risotto made with coffee, beer reduction and Grana Padano cheese.

“It’s a revelation,” Tucci said as he tried a bite.

Decadent white truffles

Matt Holyoak

If you visit Piedmont, something grows there that’s so special you simply have to try it: the white truffle.

White truffles, which only grow in the wild, are so coveted that they’re sold for huge sums of money.

Truffle hunter Igor Bianchi — known as the “King of Truffles” — showed Tucci how to hunt for the delicate fungi and cook up a simple truffle dish.

Simple recipes are best when it comes to showing off the truffle’s flavor, so Bianchi fried an egg in butter, topped it with shaved truffle and covered it with a lid to warm the truffle and absorb the truffle scent.

“Despite all the razzmatazz and velvet cushions, when it comes down to it, white truffles are really a simple, earthy pleasure — straight from Mother Nature,” Tucci said.

On cloud wine

Next, Tucci traveled up to Langhe to try Barolo, one of Italy’s finest and most expensive red wines.

Giulia Negri is the first person in her family to make Barolo from the vines on their estate.

At 24, she started making wine. The slopes on her family estate get a lot of sunlight, making them perfect for growing nebbiolo, a thin-skinned grape that’s hard to cultivate outside this region. It’s the only grape that can be used to make Barolo.

“The tannins are more prominent, and yet at the same time, it’s sort of lighter. And more delicate,” Tucci said when sampling a glass of Barolo.

Negri agreed. “It’s incredible how really Barolo you put it in the glass, and in 10 minutes it’s changed completely,” she said.

Italian fondue

In season two of “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” Tucci travels to the Alps and tries a dish that its neighbors are famous for, fondue. But the Italian version is called Fonduta. New episodes air on CNN Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Finally, Tucci ascended to Italy’s smallest and highest region, Valle D’Aosta. Nestled in the Alps, its cuisine is influenced by nearby France and Switzerland.

At Alpage Restaurant, Tucci tried a dish that its neighbors are famous for, fondue. But the Italian version is called Fonduta — and it’s made from fontina cheese. The cheese is so lush that it doesn’t need the white wine they add in France or Switzerland.

“Oh my God, that is so good,” Tucci said as he dipped his bread in the warm fondue pot, “so delicious.”

Quoted from Various Sources

Published for: Ipodifier