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“David Rocco’s Dolce Vita” is our guide to all things Italian. As always, the starting point is food. Italian cooking is all about the simple things, and how, if you learn to do these simple things well, life is that much better. I say this all the time and believe it absolutely: you don't need a cooking diploma to make fantastic Italian dishes.
The show is also about how food brings friends and family together.
Since the show began, it was based in Florence. Season one and most of season two were all about beautiful Florence, Firenze, from the sophisticated cafes and restaurants to the markets, some of the great characters who work in the food sector, and of course friends and family. At the end of season two, David takes viewers south to the legendary Amalfi coast, famous for its lemon groves.
In season 3 Rocco spends the day putting together an insider’s food guide to Florence. Along with his photographer friend Chris, Rocco shows us the ins and outs of buying fruits and vegetables at one of the city’s fabulous open air markets; he explains everything you’ve ever needed to know about ordering a coffee in Italy. He shows us a recipe from one of Florence’s hot restaurants, and finally, he takes time out to enjoy a pre dinner aperitivo and of course, an after dinner digestive. This is la dolce vita.
Season four of David Rocco’s Dolce Vita is all about the beauty of basics—and the alchemy and magic of Italian cooking that anyone can achieve at home. David and his family have settled at a centuries old farmhouse in the Tuscan countryside in the small town of Monteloro, just outside Chianti. Inspired by ‘cucina povera’ or ‘peasant cuisine’ that is at the heart of Italian cooking, David makes dishes using great olive oil and simple seasonal fresh ingredients sometimes even picked from his own garden. David also draws his inspiration from the Italian cooking philosophy of Quanto Basta—taking as much as you need, no more and no less, and passes that on to the viewers. It’s not about exact measurements. It’s about being in the moment, connecting to what you’re cooking, the sensuality of ingredients and your personal preferences. It’s really about empowerment and the joy that starts when you open your kitchen and have fun cooking.
Rocco and his friends throw a monthly potluck dinner party. This month the theme is chocolate, an ingredient that has a surprisingly significant historical tie to Tuscany. Rocco uses chocolate to make some savory main dishes for the gathering, but it's not all work for our intrepid foodie. Rocco treats Nina to a chocolate and wine tasting at a favorite bar, and a chocolate massage in a local spa.
Palermo, Sicily is famous for its three massive outdoor markets, where the food ranges from the freshest fish, meat and produce available to some -um, shall we say unique--specialties that perhaps only a local could love. Rocco takes it all in. Along with his friend Giacco, an internationally renowned musician, and his band, Rocco fires up the grill and helps throw a name day party right in the market piazza.
Rocco and Nina take a scenic drive to the Medieval Sicilian town of Erice, to visit a man considered the epitome of Sicilian Hospitality: hotelier/chef Carmelo Tilotta. True to his reputation, Carmelo has booked every second of the day. Rocco learns how to make Sicilian cannoli. They wind up the day at a noisy backyard festa --a BBQ--Sicilian style, where everything is homemade and where friends become family.
While in Sicily, Rocco visits Salvatore, who runs his family's business harvesting natural sea salt. The visit kick starts an adventure that takes him to the fishing port of Sciacca, a visit with Baldo, his family and a trip to a frenzied market where fisherman pull their boats in, auction their catch off and head back out to sea to do it all over again. Along the way Rocco cooks with local ingredients and teaches us how to make world class lemon granita.
The Roccos take a relaxing weekend visiting the Sicilian beach resort of San Vito Lo Capo. They explore the beautiful beaches by boat. Rocco makes some of his favorite beach food and is taught how to make a surprise Sicilian specialty-couscous-- from scratch by an internationally renowned expert.