‘Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy’ Season 2: What’s on the Menu in Piemdont
(CNN) — From exquisite white truffles to rich risottos and the finest wines, Piedmont is a gastronomic paradise.
Coffee, chocolate and cream
Italy has a reputation for coffee, but nowhere is it more evident than in Turin, the capital of Piedmont.
Its signature drink is bicerin, which has been packing a mighty punch since the 1760s.
It consists of three layers – coffee, chocolate and cream – each at a different temperature and beautifully suspended in a cup.
Here’s a tip: don’t stir, but sip the caffeinated masterpiece.
Chef’s new take on a centuries-old classic
Tucci tried financial, an ancient Piedmontese stew made from the cheapest parts of animals. It contains calf brain, kidneys, testicles and the middle of the spine. Baronetto offers two versions: the traditional and its unique version.
First, the traditional: In this old peasant dish, the meat is cut into small pieces, cooked over low heat with vinegar and marsala.
“It’s really delicious,” Tucci said, “and delicate.”
Now for the reimagining of Baronetto: his version has large chunks of steamed meat with a dip on the side.
“Wow. I was scared of the testicles, but that’s not the case now,” Tucci said. “They are absolutely delicious.”
A nice hot garlic dip that’s finger-lickin’ good
Chef Elisabetta Chiantello concocted bagna cauda, a Piedmontese specialty. The sauce is made with anchovies and garlic and served hot. It is perfect for dipping vegetables.
“It will be the best bagna cauda you’ll never eat in your life,” she told Tucci.
And he agreed when he tried it. “Oh my God! It’s amazing,” he said.
But the chef’s son has warned: you’ll get bad breath after indulging in this tasty treat.
What pizza is to Naples, risotto is to Piedmont. Tucci has heard that the best risotto restaurant is hidden in the back of a 1960s hotel in Vercelli.
Their signature dish is a risotto made with coffee, beer reduction and Grana Padano cheese.
“It’s a revelation,” Tucci said as she tried a bite.
Decadent white truffles
If you visit Piedmont, there grows something so special that you just have to try it: the white truffle.
White truffles, which only grow wild, are so coveted that they are sold for colossal sums.
Truffle hunter Igor Bianchi – known as the “Truffle King” – showed Tucci how to hunt tricky mushrooms and prepare a simple truffle dish.
Simple recipes are the best when it comes to showing off truffle flavor, so Bianchi fried an egg in butter, covered it with shaved truffles, and covered it with a lid to warm the truffle and absorb the scent of the truffle.
“Despite all the razzmatazz and velvet cushions, at the end of the day, white truffles really are a simple, earthy treat — straight from Mother Nature,” Tucci said.
On the cloudy wine
Next, Tucci traveled to the Langhe to try Barolo, one of Italy’s finest and most expensive red wines.
At 24, she started making wine. The slopes of his family estate receive plenty of sun, making them perfect for growing nebbiolo, a thin-skinned grape that is difficult to grow outside this region. It is the only grape that can be used to make Barolo.
“The tannins are more prominent, and yet at the same time it’s a little lighter. And more delicate,” Tucci said as he sipped a glass of Barolo.
Negri accepted. “It’s amazing how Barolo you put it in the glass, and in 10 minutes it completely changed,” she said.
Finally, Tucci rode in the smallest and highest region of Italy, the Aosta Valley. Nestled in the Alps, its cuisine is influenced by neighboring France and Switzerland.
“Oh my God, this is so good,” Tucci said as she dipped her bread into the fondue pot, “so delicious.”