In the first episode of Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, the chef travels to the beautiful islands to discover more of their mouth-watering recipes and traditions, a well as looking at how their cheese and sausages are made.
Episode 1 of Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escape
Inspired by ‘good food that stays in the memory for a long time, sometimes forever’, Rick Stein journeys across the Mediterranean, visiting islands and places which radiate a vibrant sense of individuality through their spirit, history and food. From spices and perfumes to the lavish use of wine and herbs, Mediterranean food is a large culinary mosaic full of colour, taste and smell created by the Arabs, Greeks, Italians, Spanish and Turks. Join Rick as he travels from Corsica to Crete, straight through the very cradle of cooking in the western world.
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[Applause] after 59 days traveling through leafy green tunnels on the canals of Southwest France I finally reached what I think is a magical sea the place which has long been considered the very center of our Western civilization at the end of the last series we were what we finished up in Marseille as you know but one of the last shots was going out to see how to the mouth of the road on the barge on the aunt charity and I was sort of thinking I want to carry on now we've done this trip I want to go somewhere and of course the obvious choice was across the sea to Corsica I did think about doing a trip around the Med in a sailing boat but it would have turned out like the old song I joined the Navy to see the world but what did I see I saw the sea so it was the trusty Land Rover and ferries you know in the 70s before package tours and air travel I used to take my old Land Rover across Europe to places like Marseilles or Genoa and Paris and take a ferry somewhere and it was hard work it really took it out of you most of the time he had no money so our sleepy on wooden benches and it was so interesting it was tough but there was a real payoff for that toughness because you've got to know people on the boats you've got a flavor of the food and you arrived somewhere in the morning almost part of the atmosphere and you don't get that on aeroplanes I just think that if you really like food then this is the best way to travel but in my journey round the meadow visit the well-known places where thousands of British people go and where surprisingly food is not really the number one thing on their minds well I didn't really come here for the cuisines chip cheese and gravy there's nothing wrong with brown sauce but there's really fabulous local dishes to be had lurking in the back streets in hillside villages and next to the hundreds of markets that a lot of holidaymakers miss altogether [Applause] I'm going pretty far afield from west to east with food at the forefront of my mind most of what I'll experience will be a first for me although some of the dishes will be serious old favorites that I've loved ever since I first came to the Med as a teenager I think the Mediterranean holds something dear to us all is clear sparkling sea which in some places is hopelessly not as clear and sparkling as it should be they say we kill the things we love and how true is that but this is my first port of call the island the French call ile de beauté a the beautiful island well that's it I rest my case ferry travel look at that over air travel I can't wait to get ashore I mean it's like an oil painting that can already smell the Maquis and I remember that Napoleon when he was imprisoned on Elba was always made very sad when the wind came from the west and he could smell the Maquis from his homeland to me this looks as if I'm arriving in Italy a port in Liguria perhaps but this was owned and run for five hundred years by the gin Owens and they sold it to France two hundred and fifty years ago so there's a lot of Italian influence here even the northern capital bastia comes from the Italian meaning stronghold or Citadel Napoleon Bonaparte might very well be corsica's favorite son not everyone will agree with that but judging by the freshness of the flowers under his statue I suspect the local council here like him very much indeed I don't think a great deal has changed since he popped his clogs he'd still be able to find his way around here they say that the Corsicans themselves tend to be a little Stern a little suspicious and they think very much of themselves as Corsicans first and French firmly second now this is the sort of little touch stones in a market I'm always looking for the special products from from the area now I suspect that some yes and for your place off we tog see ya the camp that's some mullet gray mullet roe that salted it's a real speciality of this part of the Mediterranean so that's interesting and this these are actually is also a lot most years we MLG we love the sealers of TI a la mama she says these are anchovies I love anchovies anyway but they're done in her much to her mother's recipe with some oil garlic and parsley tell me on for some sweet anchovies bread some Tomatoes a glass of wine perfection I'd like to try some ham so how come you speak English so well well I've been living in London for a few years when I was a student and I was working in a Greek restaurant so do you imagine a French girl in England working in a Greek restaurant interesting then I came back here on the steps worth yeah it's exquisite hum could I have a couple of slices could I buy a couple of sauces so what would you recommend and Corsican food to somebody that doesn't really know foreskin food the best yeah you found it in charcuterie yeah cheese of course goat goat cheese and sheep cheese is difficult to Kousaka like this that's perfect merci now sorry we don't make cat I didn't realize before this trip that the creator of nonsense first Edward Lear put Corsica on the British tourist map some 150 years ago well this is a very important spot because it's almost identical to an illustration that Edward Lear did of dustier in his book Journal of a landscape painter it's about a trip he made to Corsica in the 1860s Thalia opened up the interior of Corsica to tourism now I like to think that the Owl and the Pussycat which he wrote about the same time was about Corsica if you remember it goes they sailed away for a year in a day in a beautiful pea-green boat and it then goes on and there in a wood a piggy-wig stood with a ring at the end of his nose that that to me would refer to the excellent charcuterie that Leah would have found everywhere he traveled Lear was a sort of endearingly shy and whimsical man and rather embarrassed about his bouts of epilepsy so he was quite astonished by the warmth of his reception everywhere he went until he discovered that his Albanian servant was referring to him as the British finance minister if I'd come by sailing boat then I wouldn't even be halfway here having the Land Rover is really helpful because Corsica is the most mountainous rugged and wooded island in the whole of the Mediterranean when I saw that silky pink light on the budge I was thinking of pastel colored fishing boats palm trees and vineyards this is like driving through the Highlands of Scotland but here there are goats munching the maquis once you've tasted a leg of a roast kid then it's a food memory locked into that special place in your mind at home go to a kid is not an impossible to find I think that farmers markets would do well to consider the prospect of selling it terrible turning circle on these things anyway our meeting Vance on tabarani he's well but Delia Smith of Corsica and he runs a school which the local TV televised Saturday mornings and because the population here are so proud of anything to do with Corsica it's very popular he's cooking a lunch here made of roast kid lamb figs and roasted tomatoes say this is a writer of cookery books but there's no substitute for the real thing in other words being here I mean just to see this dish being prepared if I was going through am a recipe book for a confit of milk-fed lamb I might just afflict past it because it would have been boring but just to see Van Sant's evident enthusiasm for the raw materials and to be in this cookery school I'm it's a great advertisement for cookery schools I think because they're all really getting stuck in and it's very clear what's going on just watch the way he's cooking these and these little G goes of hid and the way that he he wrapped them in in caul fat and crépinette just to keep the nice and moist and the way it was roasted very delicately taken out and then a a nice gravy being made with all the bones and the bits and bobs with lots of wine it's just really good fun just being with him and picking up on what he's saying to them also how interested they are as well I love these cocoros oh yes the bit of onion and Roma ah I mean they're just that all the ingredients sort of go together so well a lot lucky B she didn't like Eugene coughs she in cuisine Dotel walk she lamontagne that's all said this basically it's extremely pastor all that the cooking of course occurred actually it's based on what Sheppard's would have cooked to the legs of kid or or milk fed lamb and these simple things are just a very obvious addition he also said that they came from Africa they're pulses years and years ago but they've been bought in to their local cuisine but he just said it's pastoral cooking and that's what I find really exciting because I just really like very simple basic food like this which which really relies on the specific taste of local ingredients that's what it's all about the concept of roasted kid and knuckles of lamb with wine cooked with wild herbs is a really good idea for lunch and actually the meat doesn't need anything added to it because it's so full of flavor from what the animals eat on the mountainside and then the roasted tomatoes and figs I've never had them cooked like this before Vance um wanted me to taste a little bit of the Isle of Corsica voila when I first came to Corsica some years ago I was looking for seafood and I must confess I was a little bit disappointed but the fact is I've learned today that the Corsicans are really involved in in food from the land and from the mountains but I just have to say this is perfect food to me I just like simple cooking I like food which reflects the region which which it comes from and there's this much subtlety in this sort of food in fact more than any of your michelin-starred restaurant and this is a sort of food that really speaks in the country it's fantastic of course yes I salute this is a center of Bastia and this is why it's called dustier a Bastian and whenever the town was threatened this is where the townspeople came for protection and it was where I met quite by chance a party of schoolchildren on a history tour and of course I couldn't resist asking them what their favorite course condition now I just wondered if you asked the same question of a group of English and British children very difficult thing to ask not trying to rub people's noses in it but all these kids know their dishes so well and they're all the sort of dishes that I would suspect they choose not burgers and chips most of the children said they really liked figure tele Corsican sausages and here in the village of Murat Oh famous for its charcuterie the best emerged from the Corsican black pig the flesh is gained eeeh the more suited to these strong flavored sausages Pascal flurry Farms his own because he says farming your own pigs is a start if you like of the whole business of making charcuterie to be proud of and this is it the famous nigga telling and it's maybe bloody awful notably the heart the liver the kidneys the cheek and all all those bits that don't tend to turn up on the butchers slab but what makes them really special is they add salt pepper red wine and then most importantly they smoke them over chestnut wood and you end up with I think the best tasting product on the island myself to pedasi de Ferran poured weed he says that for him the importance of making figure Tully is feeding a passion but it's also about improving the product all the time and making something that wins prizes on the island here charcuterie is as important as local politics to be making these charcuterie products because Corsican charcuterie is what Corsica is all about he said he started life as a professional footballer for bastia that football team in Bosnia but he wasn't strong enough to make the first team and he remembered that his aunt was a famous producer of charcuterie and he just copied and learned what she was doing and now as it happens he is possibly the best maker of charcuterie on the island that evening I went to the village of soryo de tender to a local festival where the figure tele were grilled over a wood far they've been cooked like this for centuries but they didn't have pride of place that went to this pearl ender chestnut flour heated up in water and stirred and stirred until it takes on the consistency of well fudge I suppose I've just been watching him it's quite hard work you have to do this for about half an hour and not only as you can see as he's stirring it but he's also twiddling me sit pull end I will pull end are you that's the actual button that he's using I suppose it's like poor people's food in the same way actually is the very similar sounding polenta is the poor people's food to the Italians but it's now more of a social thing let's say so when it's stirred enough its celebrated rather like the piping in of the highest but to me it's something well I wasn't in a tremendous rush to try it I was fascinated to see that once it had cooled down it was cut by a piece of string tied to this man's finger Corsica moves in mysterious ways I feel interesting I don't know what I liked it so much on its own it does taste very chestnut II but with a figure talu that's a single sausage it goes together very well a smoky taste and the chestnut toast just remind you of them Corsican forests well I won't be cooking that back home in Padstow but I do feel really strongly about this my little interpretation of Corsica of all the islands in the Mediterranean Corsica is about forests and mountains in the winter it gets really really cold so this really reflects it this dish I mean we've got game in the form of wild boar we've got wild mushrooms we got figure Telo of course can't get it in the in the UK for some reason it's so delicious so I've had to use Qi aretha instead now the other thing about this dish of course is chestnuts I'm gonna finish it off with a load of chestnuts just thrown in at the last minute and that their I suppose they would be the food symbol of the whole island of corsica well this is actually my dish but I wouldn't mind guessing that there's very similar dishes all over Corsica because as I said it's using all those very distinctive flavors but I came up with the idea at that village really because of where they were celebrating all those particular foods of the area and for me as a cook I think that's really quite important to sort of use the local ingredients come up with a dish and it's sort of it sort of sets a picture of the dish in the country in my mind having marinated it all in red wine for 24 hours I drain it off and then fry the wild boar to brown the meat I'm just putting the the pork in two batches otherwise that all that boil in its own juice rather than caramelize now if I was still in Bastyr I'd be putting in two figure telly but because I couldn't find it anywhere I'm using Teresa Corsica is watching this will be most indignant I'm sure now for a spoonful or two of tomato puree and flour to thicken the stew and that will help absorb some of the fat this is a new look Maino measured amounts of flour anything learnt from mothers and grandmothers all over Mediterranean just bung it all in next Burma it's got a really herby flavor and the residue of the Redwine marinade they're so important to really really see me when you're making us – I mean the Corsican snow that let's truce to everything I was reading somebody rather jokingly said you know it sort of strips jus their grandmother if you gave them a chance that was a sort of jokey implication of it but it's really lovely velvety now and I just know it's gonna end up tasting and the colour is so good when you really caramelized the meat I put in some dried porcini mushrooms for a woodland flavor and said homemade beef stock i season this well it's a rich dish comforting or tumble food I say perfect when the wind is whistling through the machi in the back end of October a cover now and gently simmer for an hour to an hour and a half then add some fresh ordinary mushrooms and chanterelle and then put in the essence of Corsica chestnuts these come from a tin and I'm very pleased they did too because it would take longer to peel of living things and cook this entire dish at chop parsley cut for a further ten minutes and serve with a good chunky pasta like penne afterall Corsica has many strong links with Italy and a deep local read like patrimonio would be a very welcome addition Bon Appetit France as we all know is famous for its food festivals every village it seems has one culinary item they celebrate each year this is the town of Vanek oh right in the middle of the island and today is cheese day a celebration of Corsican cheeses and with it all things these people hold dear to their hearts like danios deep-fried Donuts the Corsicans are crazy for beignets Balzac the French writer and serious gourmand thought that Corsica was the back of beyond but today really does reflect part of their character which is fiercely independent and totally tied to the landscape these people aren't so much farmers as someone said they're more like hunter-gatherers we're free-range animals live alongside free-range people the president of the cheese makers is John Samsa Metea in the rest of France of course Corsican cheese's hi and you know everybody said that to France either that cheese country the country with 200 cheese is very important but the coos can't was a country where the shepherds were the most important person people of their of the villagers because they had the capability to give everybody something to eat I was just told a couple of days ago by a shepherd here that 20 years ago being a shepherd was regarded as the lowest of the low previously they'd been the most important person in the village but they'd slipped in estimation but since then because it was a growth of a slow food movement and interesting food generally the idea of being an artisan crafts were making goats or sheep's milk cheese in Corsica has caught on with the sort of trendy set in Paris and people are literally selling up they're a part of mine Paris and coming here buying up a little small holding and making cheese the little town of llama is famous for its bread cheese that's a generic term for used milk cheese rather like chevre means made from goat's milk it's got a sweet and nutty flavor and I've never seen it in a British supermarket mind you I've never seen a really good cheddar in a French supermarket either so he won't go into that I've come here to meet up with a shepherd not one of those johnny-come-lately types from Paris he was born here and has kept on the farming tradition jean-francois summer chili he was far too busy to go to the cheese festival as he milks his sheep twice a day and he's got no one apart from his wife Anne to help him make a few dozen cheeses every morning what I was saying and I was just well he was talking to me noticing how quick the milking and and how little amount of milk comes from each sheep I mean it's really hard one this sheep's milk not like cows because I was brought up on a farmer watch milking all the time lots of milk in the cow but what it was saying I was just ask him about the importance of them of the Shepherd's in Corsica and he said shepherds really are the landscape of Corsica and he said he's carrying on the same tradition as his grandfather and his father he said it's a little bit easier now is that their mother milking equipment but otherwise it's essentially the same and I feel really privileged to be watching this because he's a true artisan I can't wait to taste his bread Ichi I mean jean-francois I was saying earlier on about the flavor of the milk about how it comes from the Mac either the wild herbs and bushes that the sheep graze on up here in the in the hills what I didn't realize is that it changes depending on where you are on the mountain well here we've got things like sisters Heather oak wild pear over there a myrtle further down the mountain we've got various wild mints rosemary and that's what makes the use milk so special and the finished flavor of that Bray B cheese so unique and makes the cheese she comes from a neighboring village and has bought her own particular expertise to llama after a month the cheese tastes mild and delicate but it's fully mature at four months when it's tangy and nutty and now the bitter I've been really waiting for had to get up before breakfast to attend the milking the Brady this is about two months old it's everything I would have expected utterly delicious very tangy got a unique flavor I can almost taste the Marquise in there and I mean this is perfect our toes aren't produce you know to my mind Corsican cheese's are some of the best in France well I must say that was a fantastic day with jean-francois renown but one thing he was saying a bit earlier which made me rather depressed was that there's a lot of people now buying milk from the mainland bringing it over in the ferry and tankers and making cheese over here and calling it Korsak and cheese when isn't that depressing it reminds me a few years ago I was talking to a large supermarket about Cornish dairy ice cream and they took a survey about 20 ice creams and only one of them had Cornish dairy produce in it I mean if so sorta tacky you know anyway long live Jean Francois Rohan and their beautiful cheese well I suppose my perception of Corsica was of a hot Mediterranean Ireland lovely sandy beaches seafood and all that sort of thing so it came as a bit of a surprise to discover that actually the seafood is quite quite rare it's quite hard to find good seafood and it's all about sort of mountain cookery I mean the really good food I've found here is the simple stuff high in the hills and the reason I think is summed up by this place this is the Citadel and this is where all the locals ambassador would come to for refuge when the sails were on the horizon and the Barbary pirates were coming to town but were still for the coast was malaria and in this island there were swamps all the way around so naturally people lived inland part pirate part malaria and the malaria was only cleared up in the second world war by the Americans so really it's a food about Swasey saw harms and chestnut flour all mountain stuff but I had to find some fish the weak cannot go by without fish or shellfish now one of the local people helping us to make this program suggested I come to the fishing village of Irbil Unga well it certainly had its fair share of rape and pillage judging by the battlements but I suspect it's fishing days along over and it's become a backdrop for wealthy tourists to eat seafood this fish is a dentist named because of its sharp teeth which it uses to crunch up shellfish from the rocks which goes an awful long way to give it its flavor I think it's one of the best fish in the Mediterranean it's got a lovely firm sweet flesh I reckon this would have been cooked for about 15 to 20 minutes with lemon and olive oil and it cost an arm and a leg no wonder the Corsicans don't eat much seafood let's see a little bit each mistake beautiful flavor the way to just said it's like sea bass only better I know that there's a very similar fish in Australia called a silver trevally which is also very good absolutely superb you can't get dentex back in the UK but you can get gilt-head bream another great Mediterranean fish and I think just as good still on the subject of fishing I really wanted to guard on a boat to see just how difficult it's become to get a living out of the Mediterranean other stories love this moment I've said this before that about the Mediterranean I'm really looking forward to things like so turbot monk that we get that having said that they've already caught one monkfish and they're hoping to catch some more they're also hoping to catch as a long goose that's the Mediterranean lobster so we will see this is like a millpond is not like the fishing back home where you can hardly stand and this is a great fish it's from the tuna family is called a bonito and they're really good grilled and then serve in the mustard sauce like mackerel they're best eaten sparkling fresh and the fisherman said that even a thunderstorm can change the flavor of these fish no that's better that's a little longest but they were also telling me but in the 60s and 70s these longest used to be really plentiful and could be caught 40 or 50 yards from the shore not anymore Jean de la pêche a bomb no battery in the battery Burris say yeah beaucoup de Fito pronto don't Philip a smile he's just saying that there's a lot of plankton in the Naboo Chicago way he said a lot of plankton is really I've seen it in the net it settles on the on the net and to the fish makes them the net look opaque so they can see it and they swim away from it so it's not good fishing I just it just makes me laugh because whenever you talk to a fisherman there's always some reason while they're not catching fish the world over was such a beautiful still life a more natural more as a French say of them Mediterranean fish so different trying it's so colorful they've been fishing for a couple of hours it's not a bad catch I mean the a lot of this fish fetches good money so they've done well this is a Jessie oh the capital of Corsica famous as being the birthplace of Napoleon there's a continual flow of tourists here who make a beeline for the house where he grew up his family were bourgeois originating from Italian nobility his father was a lawyer and represented Corsica at court in Paris Napoleon was the man who coined the adage an army marches on its stomach and it was he who put food in tins on a large scale because it was a convenient way to feed his troops on campaigns and this was his garden where he'd play with his tin soldiers no doubt and maybe consider conquering half of Europe with a bit of North Africa thrown in as you do I mentioned Edward Lear earlier and when he first sailed here to a jasio he thought he could see lots of pretty beach huts lining the shore only later to find out they were family tombs one of which now bears the name of course of his other favorite son the famous opera singer Tino Rossi Jean vero is a chef and restaurateur whose ultimate dream would have been to serve the Emperor and the opera singer his signature dish longest with pasta before he became a cook he ran a discotheque just as I did his restaurants are always full with customers coming back time and time again for long goosed which we call spiny lobsters and pasta served with a really rich sauce it's a bit like a strong fish soup with loads of tomatoes and chili and cinnamon and flame with brandy lots of brandy basically the spiny lobsters are harmed and left to cook in this sauce for about 15 minutes and it's just one man cooking it all I've got nine cooks at any given time in my restaurant food for thought I think John Farrow conveniently made the sauce before I arrived it was a bit cagey about giving the recipes away but it's his only dish and who can blame it the closeness to Italy in corsica's Histories I think reflected in this dish with its intense flavor of garlic and tomatoes except that I can't help but feel the Italians might just have been a bit more subtle and understated than this it's the sauce that wins the day here and not the lobster which I feel is the wrong way around but when in Rome hey and actually I loved it I met up with Rollie Lou karate who suggested we filmed here she wrote the very first Corsican cookery book in English incidentally this is not just for the two of us you know such a good idea they're just having one special dish than just cooking that and the world beats a path to your door I think the cooking the cooking is very very gutsy I totally noticed this is quite spicy there's nothing insipid about Corsicana food it's it's very Mediterranean it's very colorful and in the tastes as well it's very colourful which is what I love about it actually before when I came here first it was very difficult to find Corsican fusion restaurants they were almost ashamed of it they sold pizzas and steaks and chips and things and the only Corsican food was in the family and it was passed down from mother to daughter or in fact from father to daughter because the men cook here as well they're very passionate cooks really yes yes which is interesting so they don't regard it as being absolutely not maybe two something different in the Mediterranean that in Corsica the men do love cooking as well and I've heard him fashioned arguments in bars for men saying oh well I never put anchovy in my sauce but I'm saying yes I do so that everybody takes the interest in the food here so there was one man cooking and one waitress serving for at least 60 people that night now that is real profit and so to Bonifacio my departure point from Corsica to Sardinia on a really blustery day when I hope the ferry would be canceled and I could have my last lingering shot at this robust Corsican food but it wasn't to be these ferry men are made of tough stuff I'm fairly certain that in the Odyssey this is the spot where the giant for last stretch in Ian's were raining boulders down on Odysseus and his crew and in this rough weather I can imagine the feeling of having a load of large limestone boulders crashing down onto you to be pretty very scary the seller Haddad has written something about Italian cooking which i think is entirely appropriate in the relationship of its parts the pattern of a complete Italian meal is very like that of a civilized life no dish overwhelms another either in quantity or in flavor each leaves room for new appeals to the eye and palate each fresh sensation of taste color and texture interlaces with a lingering recollection of the last to make time to eat as the italian still do is to share in their inexhaustible gift for making art out of life I was so pleased that it was only ten miles or so between one country and another so it's goodbye Cathy au lait Napoleon Bonaparte and hello cappuccino and Garibaldi so a few thoughts on leaving Corsica where cheese and charcuterie were King's strong flavors and stews chestnuts and sausages to Sardinia which gave its name to the silvery little fish because sardines were found in abundance around its shores I was looking forward to Tomatoes pasta sheep cheese lovely wines how difference is this going to be though I thought but that's what I really like about a ferry journey it really stirs up your imagination that was a bit startling it's a tourist to remember you're not in Italy that's exactly a very wonderful welcome I suppose it's a bit like in Scotland you see English go home or in Monty Python's Life of Brian Romans go home there's two of them kidnap tourists here now you may think I'm odd but the main reason for going anywhere is to find some particular food or drink for example the main reason for going to Marseilles in the first place for me was to find the perfect brew of s and the main reason for me to come to Sardinia has been for many years to find the source of vermin t no I just think it's one of the best white wines of Italy famous all over Italy and the reason I think apart from a little bit of oak in the wine is that the what the vines really have to fight to gain nutrient out of this really harsh soil this granite soil that's what it's all about it's those vines finding their way down into the granite chippings that gives us it that it's precise and a minerally flavor which I find so well dare I say enchanting this area on the north of the island is one of the largest producers of cork for the wine industry forests of cork trees line the roads they remind me of clipped poodles where the bark has been stripped away but the March of the screw cap and plastic corks is getting stronger all the time even my friends in the food and drink business serious traditionalists are singing the praises of the screw cap over cork so where does that leave a small family business like that of Marco pasilla very important for us for my family for my factory for a journalist or international court to information is very very important because it's a my life or life over there in the town I can't help feeling that I'm watching something from an archive in ten years time this could well be a cork museum with old machines being run as a tourist attraction but I think for what it's worth that if you want to mature fine wine for any length of time no one has come up with anything better than cork because in the big blue wine Italian big one there is the deck Orton for 2025 year 50/50 year and off only over the corn this material I just find this so interesting because myself my colleagues and everybody I know is really into the whole idea of slow food and the whole sort of naturalness of food but when it comes to corks most people you talk to say no we don't want Corky wine we only want a perfect bottle every time but haven't we got double standards in this respect I mean with the for them in the same voice we say no we don't want to go to the supermarket and get uniform green and red peppers or apples at all rosy and round we want them all different and yet here's a guy that's producing providing us with exactly what we want as slow food lovers and we turn around and say give us a plastic core every time [Applause] I'm going to see one of my favorite Italian cheese is being made and the best is produced by shepherds in the Hills its pecorino that comes from pakora which means sheep when it comes to sharing these Shepherds help each other by going from farm to farm this is if I'm stepping back in time here but it's like that a lot in Sardinia not however on the coaster Esmeralda this is loose REO puji Oney he's heating up the sheep's milk putting in rennet and leaving it for a while before the next stage of separating away it doesn't take very long for the milk to set and form curds I was brought up on a farm but they gave up using these Clippers in about 1958 but I can remember one of the chaps on the farm called Charlie who my brother my oldest brother was big naughty and he pinched him and he pinched him so hard that he actually pinched through his shorts because his hands were so strong from work and the Clippers well just thinking this is a basic how to make cheese lesson I mean I've but I've been in enormous factories with wearing hair nets and white coats and I must say I know which cheese I would prefer to eat I just love this it stirred with her with a branch cuts up the curds absolutely perfectly I know I've said this before but I'm always uh turley mesmerised by people do it things with their hands with extreme expertise I just could watch him forever it's just so relaxing there's nothing new in cheese making is an age-old way of preserving milk which goes right back to over ten thousand years ago when sheep and goats were first domesticated and put in herds to graze there's even cave paintings of cheese making it's that old and if that's a bit social nah I'm about the people in my quest of what he was saying was that he just loves making cheese has been doing it all his life and he loves being in contact with his with his animals in Britain made most Chiefs making the way is probably fed to pace but here they make a second cheese ricotta the ricotta just means re cooked and he's bringing the temperature up again and he's just gonna gather what's left in the way to make the ricotta fresh ricotta you have to eat within 24 hours absolutely delicious of course just also noticing that he's so scrupulous and his cleanliness in making this cheese I mean no not only is he so expert but everything is kept perfectly clean he totally understands what he's doing of course after half an hour he thinks the ricotta is just about ready well this is a culinary first for me we've all had ricotta but I bet very few people have had the chance to have ricotta that's not 24 hours old but like 24 seconds of I don't know how to describe it it's like the sort of less rice pudding you've ever tasted you know it's just creamy and delicate and it doesn't taste like cheese it just tastes like a lovely lovely pudding really well that's how they do it it's the real thing and I'm really pleased to have been there now I want to cook with the pecorino back at home and I'm going to make a spaghetti carbonara and this really hard cheese is perfect for it the other thing of course is a good chunk of pancetta well pancetta is very light bacon of course that the subtle difference being that it's cured for longer that it's it's salted and hung up in drying sheds a bit like Parma ham for much longer than bacon therefore it has a more concentrated flavor and it's absolutely essential in a load of Italian dishes gives that a lovely sort of meaty salty flavor in the background just chop it into chunks or lardons or as I say an Italian cue Betty little cubes now one of the things I had picked up in Italy a little tip which gives me a great pleasure is how to open a packet of pasta don't mess around with the potato or get a knife just go like that macho stuff as loads of stories as to where carbonara comes from but one I like most is actually from the Second World War when though all of GIS were over in Rome and they had loads of bacon and eggs and so the Italians presumably acquired them in a legal or illegal way they came up with this dish bacon eggs and pasta so with a pancetta I put in about three cloves of chopped garlic a good Fistful of parsley and spaghetti which goes straight into the pan no a little tip pilot picked up in Italy they often use a little bit of the cooking water of the pasta just to make a bit of sauce perfect another strong contender for the origins of this dish goes way back in time to days of charcoal burners who worked outside the walls of Rome it's said they used to cook bacon eggs and cheese on their hot shovels hence charcoal carbon carbonara this is nearly as popular as spaghetti bolognaise but it's much more typical of Italian pasta dishes because it takes no time to make I met this Italian chef not so long ago and who said it came from Rome he said you never use parmesan in carbonara and never used cream I was a bit bearish because I was used to using both so I said what about pecorino then is it all right to use Sardinian pecorino oh yeah yeah he said but never clean next to pecorino an importance in Sardinian food is this hard-working people are making a thing called pan a carousel which literally means music paper bread and the reason it's called music paper bread is they first bake the bread like a big Peter and then that they separate it and bake it the second time tool it comes over crisp and crackling a bit like the music sheets used to be in the very old days when people play pianos and didn't watch TV but I just was trying to find out as one does that all is always a reason for food and what was the reason for this and apparently the point is it keeps forever by double baking it like this it completely dries out and the intent the idea was to the shepherds who were up in the high pastures for six eight weeks at a time it could take something which wouldn't go off which would be perfect from day one to day 71 it's really early in the morning and I'm starving this is made with freshly chopped tomatoes garlic olive oil and salt doesn't get a lot simpler than that perfect bruschetta if you ask me bread tomatoes and olive oil the most common combination in the Mediterranean Gino I'd be surprised if it ever tasted as good as that again just before I came away I was in the pub with a few people I know and one of them was saying um where I was going and I said Corsica and Sardinia they said well why both are they both the same it's a bit of a shame two weeks into the trip I said no way there's no way they're the same in corsica's almost one big mountain range and the food reflects that you got sausage wellbore chestnuts Sardinia it's much lighter it's much more fertile tomatoes olives wild fennel myrtle well then I was thinking about them and of course I hate to say this but they just go to those tourist hotels all the time so of course it seemed the same I mean Cancun would seem the same and I was passing through when I came out of the ferry port in Sardinia I saw this this sign the tunnel coming out who said tourists remember you are not in Italy yes I am in Italy one of the great success stories in Italy is agriturismo it's called firm auberge in France and it's geared to tourists really wanting to taste the real food of the countryside people are opening up their farms and small Holdings and inviting perfect strangers to lunch cooking stuff their grannies used to make I realize of course this business relies a bit on set decoration these cheeses catch a caballo do it beautifully I've just watched the way he's been roasting these suckling pigs it's just about attention to detail you know simple food is hard it really requires thought and it's just the way he's sort of gently turning them over and then put the myrtle branches on there and also basting them with that with a hot fat the hot lardo actually flaming lard and he says that just gives it that special flavor and I can't wait to try it to be honest remember you don't have any choice of menu this is typically what you get suckling pig which I love so I know some people would have trouble with these stuffed in testing but not me we're very hungry the smell is is just wonderful this is real sort of grown-up boys stuff this all this meat this is a typical Sardinian dish the pork bacon and chickpeas you've got to have a serious appetite here and this is lovely wild fennel ricotta and olive oil pecorino cheese of course and local wines and this which is mincemeat in a sort of Bolognese type sauce sukkah carne they call it and a poached egg delish and it's served on that music paper bread I mean this is right in the centre of Sardinia it's not a tourist area and it's May and the cuckoos are going cuckoo in the valleys I just feel sort of feeling it's almost like a time of innocence because that's the trouble with tourism you know that's the trouble with programs like this you come somewhere like this you have this beauty food cooked in the work being cooked for four centuries and you enthused about it infuse about it to such the extent the tourists come upon and it's not the same again because these people are cooking for themselves everywhere we've been in Sardinia they're cooking to please Sardinians and they're cooking with great love and affection and there's something about tourism that just ruins it you don't have to travel very far here to find a village festival this is luxury and events like this are really good to look for local food the people here don't need too much persuasion to dress up it's a statement of belonging I suppose it's a bit like pod stirs Mayday where all the real locals dress in white with red and blue neckerchiefs one very special day I'm intrigued by these actually Hortensia hydrangea leaves the thing is called to cook boy did go go Rico which is pumpkin so it's a mixture of pumpkin flour lard oh that's the sort of salt part mint and olive oil and seasoning I'm very very keen to try them never seen anything like it yeah ja I see you see that's okay good David the directors just asked me to join in the dancing my immediate reaction was no I can't do that that I was thinking no I can't do that without a couple of beers but nobody's drinking here they're all really really enjoying it and getting stuff into it I think that's very sort of testimony to the Italian temperament they're very extrovert they enjoy themselves without booze and I'm just watching some of the girls in there they're they're so showing off like this that it's just that lovely this song is about sailing off to America because of the hard times in the past but on a night like this you can see why so many are coming back home [Applause] it started late morning went on right through without a break till the early hours and nobody became tired and emotional nobody disgraced themselves and I'm willing to bet everybody had a wonderful time in the next program on the west coast of Sardinia they're netting mullet then it's off to Corleone en Sicily to see how the best posture is made