The Art of the Feast, As Seen on the BBC's Italy Unpacked Series

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 06:30

In the photo: Salumeria Simoni (Bologna).

Early this year, the BBC introduced a three-part documentary series, Italy Unpacked, where art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon and chef Giorgio Locatelli travel through northern Italy, specifically the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Piedmont, to explore their history, culture, food, art and landscape.

The first installment, called “The Art of the Feast,” takes place in the region of Emilia-Romagna, “the birthplace of modern Italian cuisine and home to some of Italy’s most fascinating artists and powerful dynasties.”

As explained on the BBC website, Graham-Dixon and Locatelli's journey “begins in Bologna, the capital of Emilia-Romagna. They find out why the city is know as la Dotta (the Learned), la Grassa (the Fat) and la Rossa (the Red), while visiting its shops, art institutions and the oldest university in the world. Andrew and Giorgio experience the social and friendly atmosphere of the region and meet fishermen casting huge nets at the mouth of the river Po. From there, it is a short journey to Ferrara where they discover the legacy left by the famous dynasty d'Este, and to Modena, home of balsamic vinegar and Ferrari. Finally, Giorgio reveals the source of modern Italian cuisine - at the Palatina Library in Parma he views an original copy of the first cook book of the newly united Italy - while Andrew admires Correggio's magnificent fresco in the dome of Parma Cathedral.”

If you missed the documentary series, you can watch the first episode, The Art of the Feast, here: