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How can you resist  the charming and entertaining Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo? I thorougly enjoyed watching their television series Two Greedy Italians when it screened prior to going to Italy – but watching these two delightful chefs again since our return, as they travel through their country, means so much more to me now that I have been there myself. It is wonderful revisiting with them as they deftly showcase local dishes while they tour the colourful towns and beautiful countryside that we found so enchanting on our recent trip.

What I have realised since visiting Italy is that the Italians have such a wonderful attitude towards food – food is the focus of family, and social activity  – food is celebrated over long lingering lunches and dinners, where every mouthful can be savoured.  We gave in very easily to this appproach to eating- it seems so sensible and civilised really. After all, why not take time to linger over something as delicious as this bruschetta that I had in a ristorante bordering Il Campo, in Siena?:

Bruschetta in Siena by Il Campo- yum!

You can read more about these delightful and unlikely stars in an interesting article from the Daily Mail, here.

Incidentally, Gennaro has also been important in the career of Jamie Oliver, another TV chef whom I enjoy. They have a similar passionate and engaging approach to presenting their dishes.  It has been delightful to see Gennaro involved in Jamie’s Family Christmas, a programme currently screening in New Zealand. I am a sucker for cookbooks and I have several of Jamie’s. Up until now his Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals was my favourite, but this has recently been usurped by Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, and as luck would have it, the television series is now screening here too. Both are absolute winners in my book!

Now back to Gennaro and Antonio, who have published a  beautiful cookbook, funnily enough called Two Greedy Italians – while I don’t really need another cookbook, it is top of my want list…..