Italian Food Safari | Mon at 8:30P | Tue at 12:30A
Italian Food Safari is a celebration of the incredible breadth and hard work of the Italians who came and settled in Australia over a generation ago and have kept their food traditions intact. Food explorer Maeve O’Meara and legendary Melbourne chef Guy Grossi spend time with Australia’s top Italian chefs and producers, celebrating Italian culinary masterpieces alongside beautiful rustic family favourites.
The woman who introduced much of South Australia to Italian food, cooking teacher Rosa Matto, makes a marvellous eggplant parmigiana. Sardinian chefs Giovanni Pilu from Sydney’s Pilu at Freshwater and Pietro Porcu from Melbourne’s Da Noi and The Tea Rooms at Yarck get together to show presenter Guy Grossi rustic dishes from their respective regions. Melbourne chef Graziella Alessi then creates a luscious dessert tiramisu.
Maeve seeks out the best pizza and visits Melbourne pizzaiolo Alessandro D’Auria of Pizza e Fichi who has made thousands of pizzas in his years perfecting the art of pizza.
Artichokes are loved throughout Italy and were brought to Australia by growers like the Faranda family in Werribee South on the flat plains outside Melbourne. Joe Faranda shows Guy what to look for to get the best and Guy then makes delicious stuffed artichokes using a recipe passed on to him by his father.
Italian gelato has colonized the world’s taste buds and Sicilian gelato-making brothers Ciccio and Salvatore La Rosa from Gelatomassi in Sydney explain why it’s so good.
Maeve visits her friends the Marino family in Adelaide who shows how they cure prosciutto on a large scale at San Marino Smallgoods. Legendary chef Armando Percuoco from Buon Ricordo restaurant invites Maeve to his country estate and cooks up the simplest dish of pasta with beans, demonstrating how exceptional ‘cucina povera’ can be. In Melbourne, cheesemaker Giorgio Linguanti takes Guy back to his childhood with the delicious fresh cheeses he makes including luscious burrata, mozzarella and ricotta. Loretta Sartori who once ran her own sweets palace in Melbourne but now spends her time educating troubled youth cooks a spectacular ricotta cake.
Italian cooking teacher Luciana Sampogna from Cucina Italiana demonstrates the lovely little pretzel-like snacks called taralli that are popular right throughout the south of Italy.
Guy meets Italian Australian family, the Pizzini, who come from Italy’s alpine regions and who settled in Victoria’s King Valley and grow exceptional Italian grape varieties. Fred Pizzini, who came to Australia as a small child, shares his standout recipe for duck ragu which the whole family enjoys alfresco with some of their wines.
Presenter Guy Grossi visits the fennel growing Mason family on the fertile plains outside Melbourne and Amedeo Mason explains just how versatile the winter vegetable can be. Mildura chef Stefano Di Pieri from Stefano’s restaurant, who helped to put the area on the culinary map, then shows Guy how he uses the best blood oranges and fennel in the season to make a kingfish carpaccio with shaved fennel, a dish that sings with freshness and flavour.
In Adelaide, one of the Central Market’s favourite characters, butcher Tony Marino invites us to join his family to cook up an exceptional Abruzzese banquet including the classic porchetta on a spit and the most unusual way of serving polenta - spread on a laminex table and served with a rich ragu.
Young pastry chef Alexandra Rispoli from Buon Ricordo restaurant then shows how to mix and cook fragrant pistachio biscotti.
On the outskirts of Adelaide, Pat D’Onofrio and Lina Verrilli grow and cure their own olives to sell in local markets and Maeve is introduced to the women’s olive.
Guy spends a few cold winter days with the Momesso family making their own salami, as many Italian families do during winter. His friend, chef Riccardo Momesso explains why it's so important to keep the old traditions going – and how the delicious the results are.
Maeve joins Sydney restaurateur Lucio Galletto at home as his picks basil from his garden to make a regional favourite from his home region of Liguria – a classic pesto.
In Adelaide, one of the “Cibo boys”, Claudio Ferraro who is a partner in the city’s Italian café chain Cibo, shows how intricate and delicious the pastry sfogliatelle are to make – they’re shaped like a lobster tail with fine layers of pastry and filled with creamy lemony ricotta.
Presenter Guy Grossi shares his recipe for fresh pasta and Andrew Cibej from Sydney restaurant Vini makes a wonderful spinach, ricotta and potato-filled ravioli.
Maeve is surrounded by almond blossom in South Australia, visiting Munno Parra Downs and grower Phillip Costa. Guy then joins by Melbourne sweets queen Marianna Di Bartolo from Dolcetti as she folds resh almonds into her luscious soft nougat.
In Sydney, well-known chef Danny Russo shows off a delicious family recipe from Calabria for quail involtini.
Maeve visits her friend Stefano Manfredi from Bells at Killcare on the NSW Central Coast where he has planted a vegetable garden full of Italian produce – the freshest ingredients ready for a classic minestrone from his home region of Lombardy.
In Melbourne Adelina Pulford from Enoteca Vino Bar shows Guy how to make the silkiest creamy panna cotta with prosecco.
Coffee punctuates Italian life from morning until evening – Italian expatriate Aldo Cozzi from Di Lorenzo and his coffee roaster Geroge Sabados explain why coffee is so important and the rules of enjoying good Italian coffee.
Pioneering Sydney restaurateur Beppi Polese has been responsible for introducing many Australians to new flavours in his East Sydney institution Beppi’s – he shows Maeve how his famous baccala mantecato is made using the salted dried cod called baccala.
Melbourne specialist butcher Roger Ongarato from Largo butchery explains what makes pork and fennel sausages such a favourite in Italian households.
The rice growing area of Italy’s north is where its said the best risotto comes from and Brescian-born chef Alessandro Pavoni from Ormeggio restaurant in Sydney demonstrates the techniques and tips to make the perfect risotto.
Rising star Vanessa Martin from Sydney’s Il Piave shows Maeve how easy and delicious crostoli are to make – they’re the deceptively light fragrant pastries that are fried and dusted with icing sugar.
Suckling lamb is a dish of celebration in Italy and Robert Marchetti, executive chef of Sydney’s Icebergs Dining Room shares his recipe for this tender flavoursome dish.
The episode builds to a crescendo with a huge Calabrese lunch hosted by Perth butcher Vince Garreffa from Mondo Di Carne butchery, a man who never does anything by halves, firing up his woodfired oven, cooking up a delicious veal shoulder on the spit, served with homemade pasta. Vince and his wife Anne also show the secrets of delicious cotoletta with a capsicum and tomato sauce.
We finish at the home of presenter Guy Grossi who keeps Sundays sacred for the event of the day – lunch - the epitome of the Italian philosophy of “La Dolce Vita” – life is sweet! Ciao!