Antonio Carluccio, the godfather of Italian gastronomy, travels through Southern Italy sampling and cooking the region's specialities. His tour takes him from Sardinia to Sicily and from Campania to Calabria, with visits to Rome, Puglia and Basilicata. Among the treats in store are an impromptu barbecue in a vineyard, a shepherd's feast in the Barbagia Mountains, a Neapolitan pizza-making class, a moonlit octopus-fishing trip and a San Lorenzo's night grill for ten men called Lorenzo.
Carluccio and the Leopard
Antonio Carluccio travels to Sicily to discover more about one of the most successful novels ever written in the Italian language, The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Whilst tracing the locations that inspired the book, Antonio cooks the food that is such an integral part of the lives of its characters. Giuseppe Tomasi, Prince of Lampedusa, who died in 1957, had seen his family fortune disappear during his lifetime. The Palermo palace he lived in as a child had been destroyed by American bombing in the Second World War and the family's country villa was reduced to rubble by an earthquake. Lampedusa was acutely nostalgic for the aristocratic world of his childhood and at the end of his life he wrote a novel, based on the life of his great grandfather, that recreated this lost paradise. Basing himself in the kitchen of a 16th century villa, Antonio recreates the meals of the 1860s that Lampedusa describes with such artistry. He explores the history of Italian unification that forms the background of the novel and ventures into the vibrant city of Palermo to find the street food that is still an important part of the Sicilian way of life. Antonio discovers the way that food is central to Sicilian culture, with Greek, Arab, Norman and Spanish invaders all having contributed to the island's unique cuisine. He also meets Lampedusa's adopted son and learns how this eccentric and impoverished nobleman died before his only novel was published, causing a sensation in Italy and sparking a national debate on the eve of the centenary of the unification it described.
In Sardinia, Antonio visits a small vineyard and cooks a wholesome lunch for the workers using an open fire. He then visits the Barbagia mountains, learning how the shepherds smoke their own cheese, before joining them for a lunch of roast pork and a curious cheese filled with live maggots. Antonio then goes to the glamorous costa Smeralda. On board a yacht, he makes a mixed seafood and Bottarga salad.
In this programme, set in Campania, Antonio attends a pizza making class in Naples, home of the Margherita Pizza. He and other students make their own pizzas, and share them at lunch. Next he visits his old friend, Luciana Florio, who lives high up on a hill. He cooks a family lunch of Baccala Alla Napoletana (Salt Cod in a Tomato sauce) and Fagiolini Al Pomodoro E Basilico (Green Beads with Tomato and Basil).
In this programme, set in Puglia, Antonio visits the town of Ostuni where the public oven is still used for baking bread on a daily basis. Antonio makes Pane Casereccui - his version of Pugliese bread, with pieces of Cheese and Salami kneaded in. He then goes to the Masseria San Domenico. At a luxury hotel, he cooks a dish of Cavatelli pasta with Mussels (Cavatelli Con Le Cozze). Next, he goes to a sun-dried tomato farm where acres of tomatoes are drying in the sunshine. He makes rolled tomatoes stuffed with capers, olives, anchovy and basil which he gives to the family of the farm to try.
Antonio begins at the Garibaldi Monument. His first recipe is Veal in a Marsala sauce and pasta with broad beans, peas and Artichokes. Antonio goes into the mountains and shares a simple picnic lunch with a mountain Shepherd. He then visits the home of Marsala wine, where he is shown around the cellars and allowed to taste a vintage bottle, before cooking a dish of lamb in a Marsala sauce and Fennel. Sicily is famous for its desserts, and Antonio looks at all the different varieties and Marzipan fruits, as well as ice cream, which was invented in Sicily.
Antonio is in Rome, where he shops for vegetables and cooks Fave E Guanciale (Broadbeans and Bacon) and also Barba Di Frate Saltata (Friar's Beard Sauce). Antonio meets up with a jewish friend who shows him how to cook kosher chicken meatballs. His next stop is Frascati, where he meets up with an army regiment. They eat the Frascati speciality of Porchetta (Roast Pork Sandwiches) and drink Frascati wine. Antonio's final visit is to the British school in Rome. Antonio cooks a lunch of pasta Creciuto, a deep fried mixture of anchovy, Basil leaves, Courgette flowers and sun-dried tomatoes.
Calabria & Basilicata
Antonio begins in the small mountain top village of Accettura, where a local cook shows Antonio how she makes hand made Macaroni with a meat Ragu. Next, Antonio visits Matera, famous for its caves. Here, Antonio cooks a lunch of lamb in a Lemon and Egg sauce served with Asparagus, and a dessert of Ricotta with sugar. Antonio then visits the orange groves near Reggio Calabria, where he cooks Sabadas, a deep fried pasta filled with Pecorino cheese and topped with some of the orange honey..