Gas­tro­naut rides the whirl­wind into Italy

David Rocco’s Dolce Vita 8.30pm, Dis­cov­ery Travel & Liv­ing

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - Ian Cuth­bert­son

DAVID Rocco is young, slim and good look­ing. He is also into his third se­ries of Dolce Vita ( the sweet life), which de­buts tonight on Dis­cov­ery Travel & Liv­ing, a cable chan­nel mainly ded­i­cated to the plea­sures of travel and eat­ing. This is a lib­er­a­tion, be­cause in­stead of be­ing stuck in a kitchen some­where, bang­ing out yet an­other recipe for risotto while try­ing to make pan shuf­fling and adding in­gre­di­ents en­ter­tain­ing, the world is Rocco’s oys­ter.

The show fairly belts along, with a poppy, world disco sound­track that seems per­fect for the whirl­wind tours of places and peo­ple he brings to our screen. Tonight our man has been asked to come up with an in­sider’s food guide to Florence, Italy. ‘‘ You know, a tour of Florence, the food, the whole works.’’ So we are pas­sen­gers on the tour that will even­tu­ally be­come the book. Talk about cross­over mar­ket­ing.

So there we are — just Rocco, his cheeky pho­tog­ra­pher mate Chris and us, hang­ing off the top deck of a tourist bus as it combs the sights of Florence.

First stop: the pro­duce mar­kets. I have to say that pro­duce has never looked so ap­peal­ing. Us­ing a win­ning blend of video and Chris’s still shots, the sense you get of be­ing able to smell and han­dle the fruit and veg is pal­pa­ble.

Ev­ery­where they go the guys bump into en­gag­ing char­ac­ters, start­ing here at the mar­ket with all the colour and vi­brancy you’d ex­pect of Ital­ian pro­duce ven­dors.

Af­ter a few tips on how to work an Ital­ian mar­ket to per­fec­tion, it’s back to the kind of Floren­tine apart­ment that will make you want to re­live

The sense of be­ing able to smell and han­dle the fruit and veg is pal­pa­ble

sec­tions of E. M. Forster’s A Room With A View . In this gleam­ing white tiled, well- lit cook­ing space, it’s time to do the tra­di­tional Ital­ian cook­ing thing, start­ing with fa­gi­olini in umido. Green beans in a tomato sauce never looked so fine. To go with that, how about some in­salata carciofi? Rocco tells us this is some­thing most peo­ple wouldn’t have thought of — a raw ar­ti­choke salad. I cer­tainly haven’t, but it looks great, es­pe­cially with the fa­gi­olini fry­ing in onions in the back­ground, and with the sound of the church bells of Florence seep­ing through.

Soon enough, it’s time to feed the pho­tog­ra­pher. But be­fore the show can settle into a male equiv­a­lent of Nigella Feasts , it’s back to the streets to find out what cof­fee means to the peo­ple of Florence.

Done no harm by Rocco’s au­then­tic Ital­ian back­ground, this fast- paced flight ( 21 min­utes) through the sights and tastes of Florence will leave you hun­gry for more.

The world’s his oys­ter: David Rocco comes up with a food guide to Florence

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