I have been following the 3 BBC programmes “Sicily Unpacked” with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli and Andrew Graham-Dixon touring Sicily. While Andrew was introducing Giorgio to some of the artistic treasures of Sicily, Giorgio was rustling up some Sicilian art of his own in the kitchen and I couldn’t have been happier to watch; these are my two favourite subjects after all, Food and Art.
As with the programme “Two Greedy Italians” last year, I was aware of strong echoes of subjects and themes that I discuss in my book “Androula’s Kitchen”; “Sicily Unpacked” even more so as art is discussed alongside the food. The programme certainly made you want to visit as the island seems full to brimming with some beautiful and ancient works of art. In the last episode particularly, as they visited two sculptures that I would love to see in the flesh: a very fluid almost whimsical figure of a possible satyr and a very ancient impressive sculpture of Demeter the goddess of fertility, with an elegantly spare face. The last has only recently returned to Sicily, after being missing for many years and has just been re-claimed back from America where it was discovered in a museum in California.
The pair also visited a photographer, Guiseppe Laoni who has been recording Sicilian life over five decades and whilst looking at some photos he took of a village wedding, Giorgio was reminiscing back to his youth in his village when the whole village was invited to a wedding. Of course this used to be the same custom in Cyprus and the photos could have been taken there. This is Mediterranean island culture. Of course Sicily was colonised by the Greeks around 750 BC and they remained for several centuries. Cyprus was ruled by the Venetians much later but retains traces of this both in the food and language.
The whole programme is a delight from visiting the wonderful tomato grower to the fabulously lush hillside vineyard full of butterflies. The scenery is beautiful the food looks mouthwatering and so is the art. Please check it out when you get the time.
- Giorgio Locatelli’s recipes from Sicily (telegraph.co.uk)