When CNN teamed up with Stanley Tucci to do an entire series about Italy and its incredible cuisine, I jumped at the chance to watch and – no pun intended – ate the series up. The Emmy-nominated series first premiered back in February and follows Tucci around different parts of Italy as he samples local dishes while also learning about the people behind the dishes in casual and creative ways. “Searching for Italy” was just recently renewed for a second season, and if you missed out on seeing the first season live, it will soon be streaming on HBOMax

While I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the series, here are eight of my favorite moments that will make you want to rewatch season one and get you excited for season two. 

1. Making (And Tasting) Fresh Mozzarella 

Courtesy of CNN

In the first episode of the series, Tucci explores Naples and the Amalfi Coast. In his quest for the freshest pizza ingredients, Tucci dons a hair net to visit Mimmo La Vecchia, who is considered one of the best cheese-makers in the country. We get to watch as La Vecchia uses fresh buffalo milk to create delicious chunks of mozzarella cheese and eventually see Tucci enjoy a taste of the first of many ingredients on his journey to make an incredible pizza. 

2. Chiku Restaurant 

Courtesy of CNN

Next in episode one, Tucci visits a community kitchen in Scampia, a neighborhood north of Naples that is now the home of Romani travelers from Eastern Europe. Despite a lack of access to running water and electricity, a group of Italian activists opened a restaurant called Chiku after seeing the poverty that exists in the area in order to give the Romani women the ability to work while also sharing their culture through their food. The food Tucci gets to enjoy is a fusion of Neapolitan and Romani recipes, and the business is now so successful that it is able to provide education and childcare services to the residents of Scampia who normally would not have the opportunity to access these things. 

3. The Lemon Delight

Courtesy of CNN

In the last five minutes of episode one, Tucci travels to Minori, a town on the Amalfi Coast known for the Lemon Delight, a dessert consisting of sponge cakes filled and coated with a creamy lemon custard. After walking through the lemon groves of Minori, Salvatore De Riso — a world-famous pastry chef — creates the Lemon Delight for Tucci to taste. My favorite part of this scene has to be Tucci’s reaction to the massive amount of cream used to make the cake. As someone who loves lemon desserts, the Lemon Delight has officially been added to the list of things I have to try when I finally make it to Italy.

4. Fighting Oppression Through Pasta  

Courtesy of CNN

Moving on to episode two, Tucci’s next stop is Rome. He meets up with Daniele De Michele (also known as DJ Don Pasta) to learn more about the roots of Italian food, more specifically, pasta. I don’t want to give away all of the juicy details if you haven’t watched yet, but Tucci describes how pasta was somewhat of a revolutionary food item and how throughout history, Italians have fought oppression through pasta. Pasta dishes are some of my favorite Italian dishes and to be able to learn more about the roots of a food I enjoy so much was extremely interesting.

5. A Taste Of Black Gold 

Courtesy of CNN

Episode three sees Tucci travel to Bologna where he visits the Giusti family who has been crafting vinegar products for over four-hundred years. In Tucci’s own words, “This isn't just any old vinegar, this is black gold.” He’s then taken up to an attic where Claudio, a member of the family, shows him barrels that date back to 1600 and then gives him a taste of some of the vinegars made there. Based on Tucci’s reaction, I can assume my store-bought balsamic vinegar doesn’t even come close to tasting like “black gold.”

 6. Prosciutto, Prosciutto, Prosciutto

Courtesy of CNN

Next, Tucci visits the city of Parma and is taken on a tour of what he calls a “shrine to piggies past”: a giant warehouse filled with prosciutto. Each piece of ham in the warehouse is aged for fourteen months and throughout that time is inspected and tested by a group of workers. The most intriguing part of this segment is that DNA segments are now required to be done on all of the hams because people were creating and selling fake prosciutto in 2017.

7. Two Thousand Year-Old Cheese 

Courtesy of CNN

Next, Tucci travels to The Bitto Center in Lombardy to see one of the most expensive cheeses in the world. This cheese, called bitto, is over two-thousand years old and each wheel of it can cost up to $850. Tucci meets with cheese maker Paolo Ciapparelli, who gives him a taste of bitto paired with some red wine. As someone who’s lactose intolerant, cheese isn’t usually on the menu, but the way Tucci describes the flavors of bitto makes me want to sacrifice my stomach to take a bite!

8. Little Doors of Paradise

Courtesy of CNN

After Milan, Tucci’s journey takes him to Tuscany where he discovers the “little doors of paradise.” These doors are holes in the walls of buildings and are connected to bars. Through the holes, a person can order and enjoy alcoholic drinks. This tradition is over 500 years old and I think the best fun fact from that time period highlighted by Tucci is that people were encouraged to drink at least one liter of wine every single day. By modern standards, a liter of wine every day seems excessive, but hey, whatever floats your boat!

As someone with Italian heritage who’s never actually been to Italy, Tucci made it feel like I was there with him experiencing and tasting the same things he was. The way the show combines his love of food with the history behind each area he visits is truly fascinating and each episode left me wanting to learn more. I was devastated to find out there were only six episodes in the first season, but thankfully Tucci will be returning to Italy for a second season of food and fun facts and I, for one, can’t wait to tune in.