In “Belmondo, Italy’s heritage”, on MyCanal, Alessandro and Luana tread the Boot with relish

The return to family roots is a great classic of culinary documentaries – particularly with regard to Italy, a famous gastronomic land

In “Belmondo, Italy’s heritage”, on MyCanal, Alessandro and Luana tread the Boot with relish

The return to family roots is a great classic of culinary documentaries – particularly with regard to Italy, a famous gastronomic land. One of the recent examples, Searching for Italy (2021-2022), on CNN, filmed the actor Stanley Tucci, an amateur but competent cook, who left for the Peninsula to tour producers and restaurateurs.

We don't quite leave the cinema with Belmondo, Italy's heritage, since it often mentions the actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, whose films were as well known in France as in Italy, where he filmed. in the early 1960s and where his grandparents were born. But it is his grandson, Alessandro Belmondo (born in 1991), who became chef, who is mainly the subject of Marius Doicov's film for Canal.

On Alessandro's maternal side, Italy is only one generation away: Luana Belmondo (née Tenca), a Roman with a lilting accent well known to television viewers (she was one of the hosts of the late Cuisine TV channel and recurring guest conductor in the early years of “C à vous”, on France 5), accompanies her son for this ultramontane trip.

Ricotta and fresh pasta

The mother and son had already undergone such an exercise in 2019, with the five-part documentary series Italia Mia: Luana cuisine Rome (available on Facebook or RMC BFM Play): between two city trips in a red Fiat 500 (a nod to Julie Andrieu's Peugeot 304 cabriolet of the same color in her “Carnets de Julie”?), they played four hands on the cooking piano.

However, in Belmondo, Italy as a Legacy, Luana wants to clarify about her son: “He is a chef, I am a cook. » In 2018, Alessandro opened his own restaurant in Paris after having trained with Hélène Darroze (friend of his mother and famous juror of the show “Top Chef”) at the three-starred restaurant of the Connaught Hotel, in London .

The show covers almost all the obligatory figures of Italian culinary customs, with an extended break in Sicily, the Belmondo's homeland (in Cefalu in particular where "my grandpa's grandmother" was born), says Alessandro), passing through Venice (where Jean-Paul Belmondo shot acrobatic scenes for Le Guignolo, by Georges Lautner, in 1980), Tuscany and Rome.

We learn to pick pistachios and almonds, to make ricotta, fresh pasta (from “the only man in Rome who knows how to make them,” says Luana). We deplore the disappearance of artisanal squid fishing on small boats, but we are delighted that the pastry shop known by little Luana still offers the same mini pizzas and biscotti.

Alessandro pretends not to know how to make cacio e pepe pasta (which he saw cooking in episode 3 of Italia Mia: Luana cooks Rome) in order to let the chef of a restaurant that his grandfather frequented ( but also Woody Allen, a photo of which can be seen on the wall) explaining to the viewer the method of this dish from the Roman region, simple but technical.

Venetian stroll

We visit Sant'Erasmo, "the vegetable garden of Venice", says Luana, then the Venissa estate, on the island of Mazzorbo, a stone's throw from Saint Mark's Square, which produces an amber wine which seems sweet at first glance. eye, but is dry in the throat. Its typicality comes from the fact that the grape variety – imported from a neighboring island – has adopted the strong iodine component of the soil by adapting year after year to the acqua alta (the rise of water in the lagoon).

Later, an old family friend, who has not seen Alessandro since his childhood, cooks acquacotta, a peasant soup-stew made from vegetables, stale bread, tomato sauce and eggs. With Luana, who seems surprised, we learn that we must salt with coarse salt “which penetrates better and has more flavor”.

Followed by a visit to a restaurant that cooks blue crab, an invasive species from the United States. The young chef, eco-responsible and French-speaking, provides information on Venetian restaurants: fire is prohibited, only induction is permitted.

And we end the Venetian stroll with a photo session where Alessandro replicates the poses of his “grandpa”, in the same places. The sequence was not essential, but, like the rest of the film, nicely produced, it is driven by the good humor and the tender understanding which binds the young chef and his cook mother.