Photograph: BBC/FreshOne TV/BBC

By chance we happened to tune in just in time to see Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio on a mission to see if food was still at the centre of Italian life.  It was the first in a four part series which sees these two giants of the cookery World touring Italy in a classic Alfa.

To me the programme had a certain real feeling which so many cookery programmes seem to lack.  Gennaro and Antonio seem to have a genuine passion for what they do and, to be totally honest, I found that far more infectious than a lot of the other cookery things you see on TV.

The Guardian reviewed the programme and John Crace wasn’t entirely enthusiastic about the format talking about the “60s soft porn music” and the “manly I’m not gay joshing”.  I think John might have missed the point here.  Could it just be a genuine programme about two real guys going back to their real roots?  Of course, by some, it could be considered sexist that the women do the cooking, but cooking, like the Two Greedy Italians said, is love.

Obviously Gennaro and Antonio have a cookbook they want to sell on the back of it but were they really that far from the mark in their search?  And is there really anything wrong with wanting food and family back at the centre of life?  My wife likes being cooked for and she likes being taken out but at the same time gets a huge amount of satisfaction from feeding and looking after her family.  We spend lots of time sitting around the table together eating and talking and she facilitates much of that. Does that mean she’s repressed?  Does it mean she doesn’t to continue to pursue her career?  Of course not.

So for me, the Two Greedy Italians gave me a warm feeling inside and got me searching the internet for an Italian escape!

But what about Italian sausages?

Wikipedia shows the basic distinctions are:

  • Raw sausage (salsiccia) with a thin casing
  • Cured and aged sausage (salsiccia stagionata or salsiccia secca)
  • Cooked sausage (wuerstel)
  • Blood sausage (sanguinaccio or boudin)
  • Liver sausage (salsiccia di fegato)
  • Salami (in Italy, salami is the plural of salame, a big, cured, fermented and air-dried sausage)
  • Cheese sausage (casalsiccia) with cheese inside
  • Apparently fennel seeds and chilli are generally used as the primary spice in the South of Italy, black pepper and garlic in the Centre and North.
    Where to should I start?  Modena?  To try a cheeky cotechino?

    Who makes the best sausages in Italy?

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