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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.
Simple ingredients make magical meals. For instance, its just flour and water but from these two humble ingredients Italy has built several culinary classics. David goes to an organic farm, grinds his own grain in a windmill, and then makes some of those classics: including Tuscan bread and pasta. And then another simple combination produces the classic dessert zabaglione.
Every fall the Tuscan Hills ring with the sound of guns as hunters track the famous cinghiale, or wild boar. This wild meat is so associated with Tuscan cooking that the area's capital Florence has a bronze statue honoring the beast in one of its major tourist markets. David goes out with a group of hunters and then prepares dishes with the meat. David also befriends his neighbours who have a gourmet men's cooking club that meets once a month to cook some macho dishes-including their own take on cinghiale that no woman in their right mind would touch.
It's in every kitchen, but it doesn't get as much respect as olive oil or wine. David travels to the Tuscan town of Volpaia to see how fine vinegar is made and cooks with it. The same place also makes fine Vin Santo, a wine with spiritual associations that he uses to make a heavenly dessert.