The Hairy Bikers go off the beaten track in search of authentic flavours of Italy, from simple, local ingredients to spicy n'duja pate and some of the best gelato to be found.
Browse content similar to Episode 1. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Oh, mate, it's good to be on the road again!
Now, that's a view, Dave.
New people. THEY SPEAK ITALIAN
And new food.
Ooh, that's good!
This time, we're doing almost 3,000 miles around the Mediterranean
in search of the authentic flavours of Italy and Sardinia,
Corsica and France,
the Balearics and Spain.
We'll end up in Andalucia
for one of the biggest festivals in the Med -
the festival of San Juan.
But it won't be all sun, sea and sangria, Kingy.
-Oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui, oui!
-They're all looking at us now.
Too right! We need to track down the real Mediterranean.
You'll never get a tune out of that.
Little, out-of-the-way places,
and all the culinary loveliness on offer.
-It's so simple.
We get to eat the tiger cow. Moo!
And, of course, we want to cook with the locals.
And hear their stories.
This is our take on a magical part of the world
right on our doorstep...
..where we hope to find the meaning of life...
..the spoon-iverse and everything.
-Hold on to your helmets.
Wah! HE LAUGHS
It's going to be immense.
And we're in Italy!
I can't believe it, dude.
We're here again at the start of yet another epic adventure,
right on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Oh, mamma mia!
Look at this, Kingy.
We're way off the beaten track down here, right on Italy's heel.
But you know the rule, dude -
every great journey starts with breakfast.
And we've heard that the seafood on this stretch of coast
is as fresh as you'll ever find it. Shall we?
Look at this, Dave. I cannot believe it, man.
Local delicacy, sea urchins - ricci.
Right here from the sea. It's perfect, man.
Right now, I feel like the ricci-est person in the world.
-What do we have with it, Kingy?
-Well, it's pretty simple, I think.
Bit of bread, bit of cheese, bit of mortadella. Look, there's some tomatoes there.
Si, un piatto, grazie.
-What's 12 in Italian?
Hmm, the language thing's going to be interesting, Kingy.
-I thought you spoke Italian.
-Poco, mate. Poco.
This is how they do it here.
-Scoop and doop.
-Scoop and doop. Oh, man!
-How awesome is that?
-It's so fresh.
-It's just the taste of the sea, isn't it?
-I'm worried about pricking my tongue.
-I don't care.
Thing is, Dave, you and me know the north of Italy,
but the south is new territory for us.
I'm wondering if we're going to find the purest of Italy,
the purest Italian food.
Look, like we've got here.
I mean, simple ingredients, but perfectly fresh.
And you know what, as well, dude?
Here in the south, it's traditionally poor,
so the kitchen here is called kitchen povera,
and it does it the best in the world anywhere.
I think you mean cucina povera, Si. Literally "cuisine of the poor".
Simple, minimal, no waste.
Historically, it was food to keep starvation at bay,
but that was then.
Now it's appreciated as some of the tastiest in the world.
And that's just for starters.
HE GASPS You know what else grows down here?
Tropea onions. You know, chefs' favourite at home.
Cost an absolute fortune in the trendy markets.
Here, they grow in the fields, and therefore hardly anything.
'Nduja sausage. It's like that spicy sausage pate.
I can't wait to find out how it's made
and to taste the real thing.
Righto, Mr King, we've got 3,000 miles ahead of us.
-Shall we hit the road?
-Let's do it.
From here, at Porto Badisco, we'll ride west to Nardo and Matera.
Then, it's south into Calabria, stopping at Pizzo and Tropea.
We'll finish at Bova,
right at the tip of Italy's toe.
Dave, you know we're after the undiscovered, the unspoiled,
Well, how about this for starters? This is Nardo.
It's like, well, Tuscany without the tourists.
A small town in Puglia, traditionally a poor part of Italy.
We should be able to find some cucina povera here, Kingy.
Well, according to the locals,
the best place is just around the corner,
and the man we need to meet is Giuseppe.
-Oh, here it is, dude.
-It's the Antica Trattoria Salandra.
Hey, your Italian's getting much better.
-HE SPEAKS ITALIAN
-Ah, OK. So, frittini.
-Si, si, si.
Well, this is it, Giuseppe.
Because we have the greatest of pleasure
of being in Giuseppe's kitchen.
-Giuseppe's kitchen is cucina povera...
..which is a kitchen of limited ingredients,
but the most fantastic flavours.
Doesn't get any better than this, does it?
-It's very runny. Ooh.
-So, is that tomato, olives, capers?
It's like a ready-made, fried-up pizza all in a oner, isn't it?
How fantastic is that? Simple. Oh, man!
So, in there, we've got tomatoes, olives, capers.
-I'm going to do this at home.
-This is what I hoped to learn.
It's those super simple things that people can do at home.
-Look at those.
-But, listen, it's crispy.
You see, this was a... Scusa.
HE LAUGHS Get off, Kingy!
Don't know about you, Si, but this is Italian
-like I've never seen before.
-Me neither, mate.
-Oh, look at this. Look.
-How does it go? Mm.
How can that be that good with just that?
Giuseppe's on a roll now. That's octopus.
I'm going to be in so much trouble with these potatoes.
I'm trying to leave as much potato on as I can.
-There's not much, is there?
-OK. OK. Bravo. Bravo.
Of course, if you can't get hold of octopus,
you can try this with squid.
It's simple, but it's so focused, and it's so difficult to get right.
-It's like culinary homoeopathy, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is.
You get 4g of garlic, but it's enough.
He's being frugal with the tomatoes, Si.
He's frugal with everything!
Except taste, Dave. Except taste.
Ah, OK. OK.
20 minutes with the lid on - job's a good 'un.
Well, I reckon that's going to be our lunch. What a good idea.
Well, there are worse places to spend 20 minutes.
Roger that, Myers.
-Va bene, grazie.
Three cucina povera classics.
Broad bean puree,
horse meat with potatoes, and octopus cooked in a pot.
The octopus - it comes with so much natural flavour from the sea.
Giuseppe was so careful that that flavour shouldn't be
overbalanced by too much onion, too much garlic.
It was just right. And, indeed, it is.
And I think that comes from
a knowledge of knowing your ingredients locally, as well.
I've learned a lot today,
but I think there's something that we can all learn from cucina povera.
That's respect for the ingredients, reduce your food waste,
and, above all, enjoy and rejoice in what nature's given you.
-Giuseppe and cucina povera.
-What a start.
-What a start.
And finally, Kingy, I think one of us
has actually pronounced it correctly,
and we're feeling inspired.
Well, in true Hairy Bikers style,
we've got Kingy back to his native Newcastle upon Tyne
to cook our first dedicated recipe to Southern Italy.
-Haven't we, mate?
-We certainly have.
-It's flamin' freezing!
It just goes to show, it's changed.
That is the beautiful, azure-blue Mediterranean.
This food will bring out the sunshine before we finish.
It's our homage to cucina povera.
Basically, we're going to do stuffed aubergines.
Then, we're going to follow it by a cialledda salad.
First off, I'm going to take these aubergines
and I'm going to cut them in half.
While Dave's doing that, I'm going to finely chop an onion.
Take the aubergine. I cut round it about 1cm in.
But what we're going to do is we're going to paint this with olive oil
and then bake it, so you've got, like,
a lovely, golden aubergine shell.
I'm putting about - oh, I don't know -
two tablespoons of olive oil in here.
Lot of oil in the cuisine here.
The one thing I'm rapidly learning, Si, is this appreciation of veggies.
To give the aubergine the respect that, once upon a time,
we would have done with, say, a nice piece of veal
or a pork chop, because it's just so special.
-But the cooking methods are simple, too.
-And I think...
-I think it's going to change the way we cook a bit.
You need to cook the onion down for about five minutes.
Now, it needs to go translucent, so...
Because we need to soften it.
But then we're going to add three cloves of garlic.
Meanwhile, I'm brushing the aubergine halves
with more olive oil, ready for the oven.
Now, when Dave's taken those off,
I'm going to add the flesh that he's taken out of the aubergines
to the pan with the garlic and the onion.
And what we need is we need a little bit of colour
on these aubergines now.
Time for some sun-drenched tomatoes, but I don't want the skins,
so I'm scoring them and plunging them into boiling water
just long enough for the skins to loosen.
Peeling like my auntie Edie
when she went on her first holiday to Benidorm.
A quick dip in cold water will stop the tomatoes cooking
and make it easier to peel them.
OK. So, look, that's the sort of colour you want on your aubergine.
I think it's time now to put our herbage in.
It's back to that old thing - dried herbs you cook into the dish,
where sometimes it's better to finish off with fresh.
About a teaspoon of dried thyme.
About a teaspoon of dried oregano.
-And peperoncino, or chilli flakes.
-Shall we go with a good pinch?
What do you think, Mr King? A little bit more?
-I think a little bit more, mate.
-Yeah, cos that's our taste.
Some salt and pepper. Oh!
Heat down, lid on.
Ten to 15, I reckon, Si. Or however long it takes.
Let's have a look at these. Oh!
Once the aubergines are cooked, they're ready for the filling,
which we're going to top with breadcrumbs...
..and grated pecorino.
And a top tip - save that heel of cheese,
be it Parmesan or pecorino.
Put it into your sauce when you're making it.
Really enriches the sauce.
-Actually, in a meat-based stock, it's great, isn't it?
To complete our topping,
we're adding lemon zest and a good bunch of basil.
-Your pecorino, the basil, the lemon zest.
-Oh, wow, man!
-A little bit of salt?
But be careful with the salt because we've got the cheese.
If we were using Parmesan cheese,
you're probably inclined not to do the salt,
but that pecorino's quite mild, it's quite young.
Once the aubergines are topped, they're bound for the oven again -
200 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes.
Just enough time to make our cialledda salad.
And nothing could be more cucina povera than this.
I mean, it starts with stale bread.
Next, slice your onions,
then toss them in salt and pop them into cold water.
This brings out the sweetness.
Just need to moisten the bread.
So, it's literally, as Dave'll show you,
-I love this salad.
It's a textural thing. It doesn't need a lot.
Grate a clove of garlic,
then squeeze in about three chopped tomatoes.
It's juice, skins, cores - the lot.
Add a liberal glug of the best Italian olive oil you can find.
Again, some dried oregano - about a teaspoon,
because everybody knows it goes so well with the humble tomato.
And to finish - the onions, some black olives
and a handful of basil, all mixed together thoroughly.
Now, that might be cucina povera, but that is so good.
And that's our take on a Southern Italian classic...
DAVE WHISTLES A TUNE
We got here last night late on.
Just straight in here, saw nothing. I lay in bed.
It was only when I looked up, I realised I was sleeping in a cave.
Well, there's a reason for that, mate.
We're in Matera, which is, frankly...
-This is stunning!
It's a city built into a mountainside.
What a landscape, Kingy.
But there is a stark reality behind the views,
because, for centuries, the people here were so poor,
they had to live in the caves, and over time,
they built a massive network inside the mountain itself.
The little museum here
honours the people who lived such impoverished lives.
-Well, dude, it's definitely a cave.
-Yeah, it's home.
-Oh, look at the kitchen.
I suppose this is the origin of the food that we've been tasting.
Can you imagine eight surviving children in here?
But, of course, the big problem is, how do you feed the family?
I don't know how they survived.
But, you know, from what we've tasted, it's that skill,
-ability to make the best of what you have.
-To make it stretch.
So, you know, it's your turnip tops or your broccoli -
the weedy part - you turn into something delicious.
The re-creations of life here are one thing,
but it's the photographs that really stop you in your tracks.
You know, what's striking about looking at these old photographs
is that people lived like this up until kind of the mid-'50s,
nearly into the 1960s.
And this type of living was incredibly difficult for people,
and it was the shame of Italy,
because the industrialists in the north
and the politicians in Rome
completely neglected this area of the south.
Matera is no longer this,
but they still remember the roots of it
and the importance of it,
because that shouldn't have happened.
Thankfully, things have changed. Today, Matera is on the up,
and in 2019, it becomes the European Capital of Culture.
Our natural habitat, Kingy - the market.
-Look at those!
Buongiorno! Un chilo of tomato?
-Chilo. Si, grazie.
-That's the Mediterranean.
-Look at them, man. They're beautiful.
Don't these markets just make you feel...?
-It's good to be alive?
HE SPEAKS ITALIAN
-Grazie, signore. Grazie.
-Oh, mate! Look at this!
-It's beautiful produce.
-Oh, man! Look at that.
Mortadella, per favore.
-Con pistacchio o senza?
Oh! Sausage pepper.
-Not four kilos, no.
-No, no, we don't want...
No, we'll put them on the thing, and then we'll go...
-What cheese are we going to have, Kingy?
-Oh, man, that looks nice.
Pecorino, look. HE SPEAKS ITALIAN
Yeah, perfect. Grazie.
-Questo e anche podolico.
-You got it?
-Go on, have a guess.
Hey, Dave! Look over there!
Can you see that temple? How about lunch?
Spot-on. Picnic at a real-life Roman ruin.
The joys of a road trip, eh, Si?
What an amazing place!
The history of Metapontum. Kingy, it's got nowt to do with Rome.
-"A mixed Greek native centre."
-Read on, Macduff.
-"Dedicated to Hera and Apollo." Greek gods.
2,500 years ago, Southern Italy was Greek.
It's more taramasalata than tagliatelle.
Look, dude, there's Sparta, Argo, Olympia.
-Straight into Italy.
-Across into here.
Mediterranean Sea -
the cultural, historic, and culinary superhighway.
Well, Jason my Argonauts!
Time to dine like Hera and Apollo, mate.
Food of the gods, Si.
I can't even do it now, mate!
As we head even further south, we leave Puglia behind.
This is Calabria, and they say it's a wild place.
It's big country, all right.
And I tell you what, Dave - with the wind in your face,
you get to kind of feel the scenery as well as see it.
-And smell it!
And I'm getting a strong waft now of something...
Look, Si! Onions!
There must be millions of them,
and we're just above the town of Tropea,
so I think it's safe to say that they're Tropea onions.
One of the best onions in the world.
-They cost a fortune at home, dude.
And it's the chefs' special onion.
-You can smell them from here.
-You can. Wonderful.
-Buongiorno, signora. Buongiorno.
-Buongiorno. Buongiorno. Buongiorno.
Ah, these are Tropea onions.
Oh, smell those, man!
-Straight from the ground.
What makes the Tropea onion the best?
-Yeah, it's sweet...
and it's good for your body.
These little Calabrian beauties are so prized back in the UK
that they cost £5 a kilo at posh markets.
I wonder how Francesco likes to eat Tropea onions.
-Let's have a frittata.
-Francesco, una frittata.
-Dave and I will cook.
-Cucina Hairy Bikers.
Yeah, cucina Hairy Bikers.
Oh, you see?
-Do you know, you could buy your wife flowers...
..but I know my wife.
-If I went back with those onions...
-..oh, she'd go off her head.
Aren't they beautiful?
And guess who first cultivated Tropea onions here.
-Erm, the Greeks?
How are we going to cook? We've got no tables.
-We can't cook on the ground.
I'm sure Francesco won't mind if we, well, borrow his Panda, will he?
No! It's for a good cause. A Tropea onion frittata,
celebrating the simplicity of Southern Italian cuisine.
-You are watching cucina Panda.
It's all about these Tropea onions.
Let's have our first taste of Tropea onion.
That was there ten minutes ago.
Oh, honestly, man!
-It's sweet, it's firm...
Open the oil sluice gates, Kingy,
and I'll get started on the star of the show.
These will need to cook for about 20 minutes.
Now, my inclination is to put a couple of cloves of garlic in.
No. I think we just need to be all about the onion.
-These are going to cook right down.
So, I'm going to go on till I've got a right good panful,
as my mother would say.
And all I'm doing here is just moving them around the pan.
That's just covering the onions as they cook in the oil.
The last one, Kingy.
If you haven't got Tropea onions, then don't worry.
What I would use is what the supermarkets describe
as white onions, or kind of sweet onions.
Now, these onions are so naturally sweet,
I don't want them to caramelise.
Little bit of water when you're rendering your onions down
stops them having any colour on them.
Another Panda, dude!
I think Francesco's neighbours have got wind of us.
-Buongiorno! Grazie, signore. Grazie.
It's Maria and her husband Pino come to offer some Calabrian expertise.
-Buongiorno. What do you think?
-Maria, va bene o...?
-Si, piu cotta.
-I don't know. Maria, quanto tempo?
SHE SPEAKS ITALIAN
In Calabria, Puglia, it is the slow food.
It is. Absolutely, yes.
Five of Francesco's whopping onions went in,
so I reckon six or seven eggs will do the trick.
Hmm, I wonder if I can sneak any cheese in.
I mean, you could put some soft Mediterranean herbs -
some oregano, some sage, some rosemary - but not here.
Right, now for the turn, and in this onion field,
well, we're a bit short of kitchen equipment.
Si. It's all we've got.
-Are you doing it? Oh, you're brave.
-Oh, OK. Right.
Go on. Just flip it.
-I think my cardboard's on fire.
There's a reason cardboard isn't generally used in the kitchen, Dave.
-Ish. Scrape that off there quick.
Maria's found a plate.
-I think we should let her have a go, don't you, Kingy?
SHE CHUCKLES Maria.
She's going for another! She wants the crispy side up, Dave.
-Oh, look at that!
-That is fantastic.
..we can't take any credit for this whatsoever.
So, out of Tropea onions, oil, salt, water and eggs,
you can produce something truly wonderful.
Oh, happy days, Si.
On the bonnet of Panda one, our Tropea onion frittata.
And on the bonnet of Panda two,
Maria's home-grown, home-made pickles,
preserves and pates.
All this was meant to be our contribution to Maria's picnic,
but fair enough. This is Maria's frittata.
And wow! Look at this.
All sorts of pickles and preserves.
-Aubergines, tomatoes, peppers. 'Nduja.
First out of the blocks, thick slices of 'nduja -
the fiery Calabrian sausage.
From the casa?
-That's the spicy sausage pate.
Minced pork, chilli. It's so moist.
-Oh! I've never had home-made before.
-No, I haven't.
But what about the frittata?
-I'm going to have a taste, mate.
-This is our tribute to Calabria.
You would swear we put a couple of spoonfuls of sugar in that.
-The onions are amazing.
It's like the best Italian picnic you've ever been to!
I mean, look, Dave,
all of this from an Italian, Calabrian farmhouse kitchen.
Time, love, care, and knowledge.
Sunshine, ground, and the Mediterranean.
I don't know about you, mate,
but my taste buds are on fire after that 'nduja.
Me, too. And, look, this is Spilinga.
I was reading about it last night.
The name comes from the word for cave in Greek.
Ah, that's those pesky Greeks again, isn't it?
But, perhaps more importantly,
Spilinga claims to be the birthplace of 'nduja.
So, do you think there'll be a little Italian lady here
who's happy to show us how to make it?
This is Rosa,
who's been making 'nduja in her back room for most of her life.
This is it, Si.
This is the biggest opportunity in the world
to unravel a mystery for us, which is the 'nduja sausage.
It's like the best salami/pate you'd ever taste.
And, look, this is the ingredients.
We have pork fat with some pork in it, we have sale, and peperoncino.
-OK, OK. That's enough.
-I don't think there's ever going to be a low fat option.
See, it's the belly pork. The belly?
That's why it's spicy.
-It's a lot of salt. A lot of chilli.
It's potential to go incredibly well
with a cold beer on a hot Italian day.
-I'm loving your thinking!
-Yeah, I know!
-So, we're looking about 30% peperoncino, aren't we?
20% salt - and, of course, that's part of the preserving process,
because the meat is raw, and it's cooked.
It's smoked and hung.
Ah, from your mammy, and...
I mean, without being indiscreet, if Rosa was from a vintage of 1933,
that means Rosa's at a certain age of...84,
but the lifestyle here, you could live forever.
It's funny, you know, Dave, it's a bit like dough,
because it kind of comes together
-once the fat warms up slightly.
Right, well, it's time to load the 'nduja gun.
Va bene, OK.
-Lock and load, Kingy.
-All right, dude.
I'm going to go and wash my hands.
The skin of the 'nduja sausage is made from pig's intestine.
Oh, I get to fire the 'nduja cannon!
Go on, dude, go on.
It's our first 'nduja.
Now, Rosa makes it look easy -
but, then again, she's been doing it for 70-odd years.
There's some weight to that!
So, you take the string...
put it round there...
Do you want a bit more slack, dude?
No, I'm...I'm all right.
It's like trying to knit a bagpipe.
I think I've got it.
Hairy Bikers, 'nduja.
Ten days in Rosa's smokehouse,
then three months ageing in her back room,
and it'll be ready for the table.
It's so good, it's so tasty -
but, you know, the pig is king in Calabria.
Which is why we're doing Calabrian pork ribs.
Now, the cut is basically the belly
-on the rib.
-But kind of without so much of the fat.
It is a traditional Calabrian recipe,
and, like the 'nduja,
it's absolutely packed with chillies and flavour.
And the medium for our Calabrian flavour
is going to be a spicy marinade.
There's a head of garlic goes into this, so, it's not shy.
About 100ml of olive oil -
but, in true Calabrian style, we don't measure it.
Two tablespoons of red wine vinegar.
In so many parts of the Mediterranean,
vinegar always goes with pork.
A teaspoon of dried oregano.
So, we've got chilli flakes, inspired by Rosa.
We are more downscale than her!
She just kept going...
and I was like, "What, more? OK..."
His hands were like a five-bar radiator!
Anyway, we'll put about a teaspoon.
Fresh herbs in this one. Look at that rosemary.
Just whipped from the garden.
What I've done is I've just chopped a whole head of garlic, there,
just roughly, because it's going into the blitzer,
and I'm just deseeding the four peperoncino fresca that we need.
The 'nduja was so simple, wasn't it?
Pepper, salt and fat.
This is kind of a bit more sophisticated, really -
but the core values, the flavour, are there, aren't they?
And some thyme.
Once garlic, herbs and chillies are ready, slice half a red pepper, too.
And that goes into the blender.
The chilli and the garlic.
And lastly, salt and pepper. Put lots and lots and lots of pepper in.
If it wasn't tasty enough already.
It's funny, Italian food - some of it is so delicate
and minimalistic, but then, when it goes for it,
you know, it would put the average curry house to shame.
-You wouldn't think it, would you?
We blend this to a smooth paste.
One layer of the marinade goes under the meat,
and the other goes on top.
Look at that.
And just make sure that you cover your ribs
with every single morsel of that beautiful flavour.
No vegetable has died in vain -
and now we've got to parcel this up.
Let the meat marinade for as long as you fancy.
We'd leave it for a minimum of three hours.
Then, roast for two to three hours at 140 degrees.
The perfect interlude for making our cracking potato dish.
First, we fry up an onion -
and it's an unctuous little throwaway dish, this one.
It's onion, potatoes, peppers, just cooked down in olive oil,
salt and pepper, and it's the perfect thing to go with the pork.
First, a nice big gloop of olive oil.
I'm just going to cut those into strips.
So, look, I'm going to halve the potatoes,
I'm going to slice the halves that way.
They've softened nicely. Lots of seasoning.
If you were feeling posh,
you could put a slug of wine in this, as well -
but I don't think it's necessary.
The potatoes will take 30 minutes or so.
Time for stage two of the pork.
What you could do is cut it, cut it off into the ribs.
It would be brilliant to finish on a barbecue - or, alternatively...
So, take your lead from where the ribs are, look.
You can see them -
and then just...
To make them more manageable, I'm cutting the ribs crossways.
So, I want to put this on.
Now, you're going to have to be quite careful with these,
because the meat is falling off the bone.
Do you know what I'm tempted to do with this?
-Put it in the potatoes.
What a great idea.
You see? Nothing goes to waste.
Look at those.
So, those potatoes are full of colour and vitality.
That's perfect, Si.
-Again, being quite gentle with them.
That second cooking, either on a barbecue, a plancha or a griddle,
really just gives it that extra bit of texture.
It's about getting the absolute maximum out of your produce.
This also would be great served with polenta,
with the resting juices going into the polenta.
That's a bit more kind of North Italian.
Calabrian pork ribs with Calabrian potatoes and peppers.
Slow, low, and very, very tasty.
Si, this Mediterranean trip was such a great idea.
We've got mountain ranges that drop off into the sea,
we've got winding, twisting roads
that led up onto the tops of the plateaus.
It's beautiful. Absolutely amazing.
This is also tonight, Si. An agriturismo!
And these places are where the best Italian food can be found, Dave.
Agriturismos are rural stopovers
where you're sure to find authentic local Italian food.
This one is run by Mariella,
and we've heard her cooking is amazing.
Mariella doesn't speak any English.
She prefers to let her food do the talking.
Salsiccia, pecorino, ricotta.
This really is, as the French would say, the product of the terroir.
I'll tell you one thing I've found here, though -
the Calabrian food, it's spicy.
-There's chilli, there's fire.
Mariella's primo is home-made pasta
with a sauce of beautiful simplicity -
Tropea onions reduced for many hours...
..and a spoon or two of last summer's tomatoes
preserved in olive oil.
It's all about capturing what the sun provides,
then giving it time and respect.
A sprinkling of pecorino, and it's ready for the table.
Mariella's son Alberto is visiting from his home up north...
..and he does speak English.
-Some fresh pasta.
Freshly made by my mummy.
Oh, Alberto, come and have a glass.
-Oh, thank you.
-I have to say, this house wine is absolutely delicious.
So, this pasta is an ancient recipe that was taught to my mum.
-Tropeana pasta is the name of the sauce.
The sauce is 90% onion, and still doesn't taste very strong,
-like a normal onion would.
-It's absolutely fantastic.
-Calabrian food is so pure - but you still like spice.
We are a very hot region, and we have a lot of influences
from the spices coming from North Africa, Greece, France.
-We have been colonised by many different cultures.
What was the reason that you left?
Basically, there isn't much to do here.
The institutions are weak, there is a lot of corruption,
and it's very hard if you're not the son of someone,
or if you're not into the right circle,
to emerge, even if you have talent.
So, is it a Mafia thing?
The Mafia in Calabria is called 'Ndrangheta.
-That's how they call themselves.
It's very, very powerful, and there is some areas in Calabria,
like rural villages, where you cannot go in.
So, it sometimes gets scary -
but there is also a lot of clean people that want to fight it
and speak up for it.
Alberto, thank you so much.
This whole Mafia thing is kind of shocking -
how even today, their influence is holding the place back.
But there are people who resist, Si,
and thanks to Alberto, we're going to meet one.
He's a businessman called Signor Callipo -
and, fortunately for us, his business is ice cream.
One while we're waiting, Dave, do you think?
-Hey, buon giorno!
-Buon giorno! Buon giorno.
-Bergamot, per favore.
Grazie, grazie. Yeah.
-Ooh, I get a proper pot.
-HE SPEAKS ITALIAN
Why bergamot, Si?
Well, it's grown here, isn't it?
It's that mad citrus fruit, you know,
that you can wear as a perfume, or you can eat.
-Cinque euro, signori.
-Cinque euro, OK.
Hey, man, look at that. It's beautiful, eh?
-How's your bergamot?
-It's absolutely fantastic.
-It's more like a sorbet than ice cream.
-Lovely, isn't it?
That looks like our man arriving. Signor Filippo Callipo.
He was born and bred here, wasn't he?
He was, and it's a lovely spot -
but the problem is that even making ice cream can be dangerous
if you refuse to pay the Mafia their cut.
He is asked an English friend to help explain what happens.
you're famous for actually standing up against the local Mafia.
How do they work? I mean, what happens to new businesses
when they move into the area?
HE SPEAKS ITALIAN
So, basically, the way it works, someone with a local business
might pick up in the morning and find a bottle of petrol
outside the door with a tiny box of matches next to it.
The petrol bottle hasn't been lighted,
but you know that is a message.
After that, you might find your car has been burnt
or your business - or maybe the door to your business has been burnt.
After that, everything will just keep on happening
until you're forced to either close your business,
sell it or give it away.
HE SPEAKS ITALIAN
He has received several attacks.
Many gunshots, both the gates of the main offices,
and, the last one was exactly one year ago.
It was ten gunshots to the gates.
Signore, why did you choose not to? Why did you choose not to pay?
HE SPEAKS ITALIAN
It's a lesson his father taught him.
It's a family philosophy, and that's what he's inherited.
HIS VOICE BREAKS
He's got many friends, and also,
the family of people that work for him, he considers them friends,
too, and he gets emotional when...
Signore, the greatest respect to you and your family from all of us.
Grazie mille. Grazie mille.
Despite the difficulties in Calabria,
one industry is thriving -
and it's because of the incredible growing conditions.
There is a citrus fruit that grows better here
than anywhere else in the world.
There's loads of the stuff.
Ah, buon giorno, Signore!
-Buon giorno, Signore!
-Can we go and have a look at them?
-Yeah, we can, man.
-Yeah. Oh, lush.
-Oh, that's nice.
-Oh, what a lovely man.
-Well, everybody's been lovely.
They have, haven't they?
Bergamot contains an oil
which it has long been prized for its unique qualities.
That looks healthy, dude.
It's funny - well, I've never been in a bergamot grove before.
-Well, I've got to say, neither have I.
-Look at that!
-It's loaded with fruit.
-Oh, look at the quality of those.
-The oil is going to be in the skin, isn't it?
You know, the first time I was aware of bergamot
-was looking at the box of Earl Grey.
What my dad would describe as the peculiar tea -
and it's bergamot that gave it the scent.
-It's so full of oil.
-Oh, look, man.
Right... I'm wearing it. Smell me.
Smell. I am, honest.
It's like a mixture of petrol and oranges.
I don't know about petrol, dude, but bergamot's special scent
is the key element of various high-end perfumes.
-What does it taste of?
It's like a cross between an orange and lemon, but the lemon takes over.
Yes, with the holy mother of God grapefruit thrown in there, as well.
-It reminds me of the Japanese yuzu.
You know, that they would use with fish, to make a sauce,
a ponzu sauce, or you would have it in puddings,
-or, indeed, ice cream...
-..or yuzu oil.
-Let's take one home. He'll not mind.
He's up at the top, he's got hundreds.
Can't come to the Mediterranean, can we, without cooking fish?
-But it's one of the big boys, swordfish. Spada.
I know you going to say - "Where do I get bergamot from?"
With this recipe, say, at home, use lemon.
So, I'm going to start with the marinade
for Dave's beautiful swordfish steaks.
And the marinade starts with bergamot zest - if you can get it -
or the lemon zest, if you can't, plus garlic.
And while Si's on the marinade, I'll prep the fish.
I'm just removing the skin and slicing it into steaks.
And is going to use the juice of about half a bergamot.
-Yeah - if it was a lemon, you'd use the juice of a whole lemon.
I'm going to squeeze, use my hand...
and save the pips.
Glug of oil...
And then a teaspoon of oregano.
Season your fish, and it's ready for the marinade.
We just spoon it over the steaks.
We want to leave that to marinate, but no more than 15 minutes -
cos after 15 minutes or so, the citrus, be it lemon or bergamot,
will start to cook the fish, and we don't want that.
Which gives us time to make a gremolata,
and a gremolata is like a savoury topping.
You use it with lamb or fish.
Our gremolata kicks off with chopped parsley,
plenty more citrus zest, and capers.
You know, the fish really is the star,
but you've got a purity of flavour in all the other ingredients.
There's the bergamot peel.
The zest - and there's more pith there.
It's just so fresh.
Let's have an olive-off.
How much better can your life be?
Stood here with your best mate,
chopping olives on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
-It doesn't get better than that, does it?
Look at that.
Even now, it's just beginning to colour with the citrus.
I'm going to fry that simply in olive oil
for about three to four minutes each side.
Meanwhile, I'll prepare some chicory.
So, if you see what I've done, and just rubbing oil into the chicory.
It's really, really, really that simple -
and then I'm going to put a little bit of salt on the top.
I got a little sizzle on now, so let's get the fish in.
What do you think, Kingy?
-Oh, yeah, perfect, yeah.
Time for the third element, known as fava beans over here,
broad beans to you and me.
What we've done is, we've blanched them, then double-podded them.
That is to take the outer skin off - it's laborious,
but these are like little emeralds.
Now, I reckon that fish is done.
We don't want to overcook it.
Just going to set that aside, hopefully out of the wind,
whilst we make the sauce.
Cos fish like that, you should leave it to rest like a steak.
I'm going to deglaze the pan with a big glass of white wine.
Just scrape up all those lovely bits of goodness
in the bottom of the pan.
Now, the sauce is very simple.
The white wine is reduced with the fishy bits,
and we put a nice piece of butter in.
Now, into that, the blanched double-podded broad beans
or fava beans.
I always think of Hannibal Lecter when it says fava beans.
"Fava beans and a nice Chianti!"
But look at that.
Just like the emerald green in the Mediterranean.
-Today, ooh, we are a light sapphire blue...
..but when that sun comes out, emerald green, blues -
it's a kaleidoscope of kind of aqua.
-Oh, it's lovely, isn't it? Mm!
-Turn it off, eh?
-I think, pretty much, we're ready to plate up, aren't we?
Me mum would always put pepper on broad beans.
She said it helped to break the wind.
That'll do. Lush.
There we go.
The gremolata goes on the top.
-A little chicory in...
-Looks like mackerel!
-A little... It does, doesn't it?!
A little chicory there.
-Little bit of salt...
And there we have it.
Our Mediterranean swordfish with bergamot, gremolata,
chicory and fava beans.
Broad beans, to us.
Well, Dave, we started at the heel of Italy,
and we've nearly reached the toe.
What a trip!
I know, Si - and it's been full of surprises.
You know, it's been a total revelation to me,
the extent of the Greeks' influence on Calabria and southern Italy.
Yeah, same here, dude. The influence is everywhere.
I mean, look what we've seen - temples, the food...
Now, we stumbled on that 2,500-year-old Greek temple,
but there's a village up here where it's not buildings but people
that are the remnants of that lost the civilisation.
-What, they're Greek?
-Well, kind of.
Apparently, some don't speak Italian or even Greek -
they speak ancient Greek.
Oh, man, that's nuts.
The village of Bova
is one of the last bastions of ancient Greece in Italy.
Now we're going to meet a man who speaks only that forgotten language.
Right. So, we'll need two interpreters
if we want any chance of understanding him.
HE SPEAKS GRIKO
INTERPRETER SPEAKS ITALIAN
So, basically, we are keeping talking this language.
We don't want to lose it, because when you lose a language,
it's like somebody dies.
History is fascinating.
I mean, we had the Romans came to Britain,
but a thousand years before that, the Greeks came to Italy.
We always say, "What have the Romans done for us?"
Maybe they say, the Italians say, "What have the Greeks done for us?"
HE SPEAKS GRIKO
-They brought the language, and they brought the culture.
-They brought work.
Basically, from Napoli, from Naples, themselves,
especially Calabria, this region, they got a lot from Greeks.
HE SPEAKS ITALIAN
Because the Calabrese tradition, hospitality,
-comes from the Greek gods.
-Yeah, well, I think
we've well and truly found the heart of Greece
right here on a hilltop in Italy -
and, for that, we'll be forever grateful.
Italian, Greek or just Mediterranean,
the people of Bova have laid on some traditional hospitality.
You know, Si, these tables,
they bring together our whole southern Italian experience.
Cucina povera, it's all here.
It's early days on the trip, Si, but already my head is spinning.
What I'm finding out is that the Mediterranean cuisine
is one of the best in the world.
You don't waste anything, you use everything,
you make the best of every little scrap of ingredient,
and the way of doing that is thousands of years of culture
all coming together around this mysterious sea.
Out of the melting pot, we found magic.
And there's so much more to discover.
Our culinary quest takes us to an island
that is the beating heart of the Mediterranean.
We'll be blending in with the locals...
Oh, get off!
And, of course, eating.
That is so beautiful.
It's going to be...
The Hairy Bikers go off the beaten track in search of authentic flavours of Italy, from simple, local ingredients to spicy n'duja pate and some of the best gelato to be found.