Sundays are sacrosanct in the Italian world, and families gather around some great food. Depending on the size of your gathering – and, remember, one must always cater for twice as many – whole suckling pigs or lambs may be the centrepiece on the day.
It's the beautiful simplicity of Italian food that weaves its magic and seduces our tastebuds. Think of a caprese salad – buffalo mozzarella in all its fine silky creamy perfection, tomatoes that sing of summer, and aromatic basil leaves. In this final episode, Guy shares his recipe for this supremely simple wonder. Sheer perfection.
The buffalo mozzarella, by the way, is Australian – from Far North Queensland and the enterprising Vanella Cheese people, who use buffalo milk from local farmer Mitch Humphries to make beautiful cheese. They originally opened in Italy and migrated to Australia, opening the cheese factory in Cairns in 2004. Buffalo milk is marvellous to work with as it has double the fat and protein of cow's milk and is also lactose-free, which is good for digestion.
Robert Marchetti, executive chef of Sydney’s Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, and North Bondi Italian Food, shares his recipe for suckling lamb, which he annoints with olive oil, garlic, salt and paprika.
And on the other side of Australia, Perth butcher Vince Garreffa invites us in for a Sunday lunch, Calabrian-style – wood-fired bread and slow-cooked vegies accompanied Vince’s garlic and herb veal shoulder, which was turned slowly over coals. I do love Italian ingenuity – the device Vince had rigged up used an old washing machine motor that turned the meat slowly and perfectly, keeping it moist until that happy moment when it was ready to serve.
It's such a fitting end to our delicious journey with Vince remembering, tears in his eyes, how his parents went without to give their children a wonderful life in Australia. How the table spread before us was a tribute to all their hard work and their dreams... and you just know how proud they’d be of their son and the other sons and daughters of Italy in making such a go of it in Australia. And, of course, for passing on all that great food knowledge to the rest of us.
It has been an honour and a joy sharing the delights of the Italian world with you. Please try the recipes, kiss an Italian on both cheeks, and enjoy la dolce vita!
Maeve and Guy