I have to confess I didn’t see the first series of Two Greedy Italians when it was on TV last year, but was delighted to be sent it on DVD to review.
Who are the greedy Italians?
Flamboyant foodies Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo are internationally acclaimed chefs and have been friends for 27 years – and that much is apparent in their jovial and affectionate relationship which makes this series so engaging.
It’s not just about packing in the recipes, this twinkly eyed duo are searching for the real Italian food culture 50 years after they left to start new lives in the UK.
Who is it for? Italian food lovers, or those wanting to know more about this cuisine. Perhaps you’re planning a trip to Italy – this series will give you the low down on a selection of the most wonderful parts of Italy and their food traditions.
What’s on it? Four hour-long episodes set in four regions of Italy.
Episode 1: Bologna – explores love and family, asking if young women have lost interest in cooking, a cookery school helping people find their inner mama, and an inspiring refuge for recovering drug addicts learning to live again by producing amazing food.
Featured recipes: ricotta dumplings, warm chocolate and amaretto pudding, slow coked family stew with polenta
Ep 2 Amalfi coast – set in Camania southern Italy where Gennaro’s grew up. Historically it’s a very poor region where people lived hand to mouth. This episode is all about cucina povera or poor man’s food like pizza and pasta which was born out of the need to survive and has since spread around the world.
Featured recipes: Ragu alla Napoletana, ricotta and lemon tart, linguine with prawns and mussels
Ep 3 – Piemonte – This northern region of Italy is where Antonio spent his childhood and looks at regional pride. Italy has more regionally protected food than any other country, with this area producing a particularly diverse selection of products like truffles, frogs and rice! This episode also looks at the historical reluctance to accept outside influences when it comes to food.
Featured recipes: Pasta ribbons with chicken liver sauce, apple strudel, pork fillet with honey and ginger
Ep 4 – Puglia – A pilgrimage to find religious food in one of the most relgious regions in Italy’s south east corner. This episode examines different specialties for all the festivals and celebrations, as well as a hospital with unusually fantastic food including handmade mozzarella cheese.
Featured recipes: Easter lamb with peas, sweet and sour bread salad, layered pannetone and ricotta pudding
Any extras? No behind the scenes interviews or extra content, but you do get four glossy recipe cards from the book.
Watchability: Evocative music, sweeping shots of Italian countryside, beautiful food being cooked often outdoors in gorgeous locations or in rustic Italian kitchens, with a large helping of mesmerising images of traditional food production.
It’s perfect for relaxing with – feet up, glass of wine and a chunk of parmesan cheese.
The characters are pretty lovable, a bit hapless and totally old fashioned, the way they handle the food with tender loving care and reverence is highly visual.
They do get up to a bit of bad behaviour though – shoving octopus down swimming trunks, walking around with their shirts off in front of the cameras, ogling pretty ladies… old men behaving badly might not go down well with everyone.
Recipe count – not a huge amount of actual recipes going on per epidsode – really the story is the friends and the areas of Italy they are in and food is part of that story.
Would you cook something from this series?
The camera is loving the food, it all looks so delicious you want to leap into the ktichen and get cooking.
The chocolate and amaretto pudding – I love a simple dessert – and my chocolate loving husband would adore this. The mixed meat ragu also looked incredible.
Are the recipes and instructions clear if you want to make one of the recipes?
While they show every step of the recipes, the amounts aren’t always clear so if you really want an exact guide you’ll need to buy the book. I’m guessing this is intentional!
Would you buy it for a friend?
I think this would be a lovely gift for those who love to travel to Italy and want to relive the food and atmosphere, or anyone you know who’s planning a trip there.
Rating out of 10
8 – really watchable, fun and inspiring. You’ll come away having learnt a lot about the rich history of Italian food.
Produced by Fremantle Media, available on Amazon from 2nd April for £11.99
Thanks to Fremantle Media for my review copy
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