Following the inimitable Stanley Tucci, a lovable and charming host of the much-adored Searching for Italy, is a refreshing diversion of television time well-spent. Based on his previous shows, it may be wise to consider a fast before feasting with him again for Season 2, which was due to drop on March 20, but CNN and Tucci recently announced that they will delay the debut of the second season as a result of the war that is playing out in Ukraine.
For those who felt cheated by the two long years we’ve been held hostage at home, without the ability to meet friends for dinner / lunch / brunch, loosen your belts for another season of CNN’s most delicious delicacy, exploring Italy with Stanley Tucci, a feast for the senses.
Appropriately described by Helen Rosner of the New Yorker, as “a late-career sex symbol”, Tucci has hosted more television guests on his tours of Italy than some of New York’s top restaurateurs.
In Season 1, filmed pre-Covid, I personally felt a sense of jealousy as he remained unmasked while indulging in some of Italy’s most exquisite specialties. I believe I speak on behalf of many others, when I say that we delight at Tucci’s natural ease and style while sipping prosecco and aperitivos as he takes large bites out of life. As we watched and envied his delightful, amicable and unmasked face, his ease with a wide range of foodies, running the gamut from farmers, to cheesemakers, to chefs, to restaurateurs and sommeliers, this series became addictive.
It’s time to strap on the feed bags with Stanley Tucci as he will whet our appetites in Season 2 on his continued exploration of the love affair Italians have with their food.
According to an article in Italofile, by Melanie Renzulli–and confirmed by CNN–three of the locations for Season 2 are Venice, Umbria and Piemonte. Tucci will also explore the culinary traditions of the Italian diaspora in London.
The season is scheduled to begin in Venice where Tucci was spotted on-board a gondola and on the stairs of Piazza San Marco. There is no shortage of sights to see and I would predict that he’ll be stopping at Harry’s Bar to challenge bartender Chris Evans over the perfect martini. (As seen through my Murano crystal ball.)
Then Umbria, where he will be meeting with TV chef and cookbook author Giorgione (Giorgio Barchiesi). Based on Umbria’s signature truffles and pork products, it must be an easy choice for Tucci and his crew.
I am most eager for the episode shot in Torino, as this ranks among my favorite cities in Italy. The slow food movement had its origins in Bra, Piemonte and Tucci was there for ‘cibo torinese’ while dining at Del Cambio, founded in 1757 and Torino’s oldest restaurant.
However, because of the announced delay in its debut until mid to late spring, for now we are forced to speculate about the rest of the episodes.
While waiting for Season 2, I thought it would be a fun exercise to follow another journalist, Sara Porro of Fine Dining Lovers, as she made a list of favorite regions in Italy, and how she imagines the new series. Here are some selections from her article:
First, she suggests that he begin in the Piemonte region in the Langhe, where he would visit the three Michelin-starred Piazza Duomo in Alba and would then reconvene with Enrico Crippa in Piazza Duomo’s vegetable garden, picking vegetables for one of Crippa’s signature dishes, the Salade 21, 31, 41. At the show’s end, Tucci might go to the Ferrero plant to see how Nutella is made.
In this imagined itinerary, Sara Porro takes him onward to stops at the Lago di Garda in Lombardy and then to Veneto, and onto episode 5, where he would travel along the coast of Marche to determine the best brodetto di pesce, a rich fish soup. Competition among the towns is fierce, envisioning Tucci as he would be forced to pick a favorite between Fano and Senigallia, his pick of the latter would make the Mayor of Fano quietly weep!
In the final episode in Sannio Campania, Tucci would visit the Cav. Innocenzo Borrillo factory and test an award-winning torrone, a classic recipe of honey, egg white, almonds and hazelnuts dating back to the Arab presence in southern Italy.
These imagined stops sound enticing, but as for seeing exactly what the real stops will be in Season 2, I can only suggest we stay tuned for further updates. In the meantime, you can check out Tucci’s food memoir, Taste: My Life Through Food.