My wife and I honeymooned in Rome, and while we were there, we decided to do one of those honeymoon-y things and have a hot chocolate – well, it was October – on a cafe terrace in the beautiful Piazza Navona.
It was wonderful, and romantic, and eye-wateringly expensive, andI was reminded of it when watching Remarkable Places to Eat (BBC2, Wednesdays, 8pm).
Fred Sirieix –the bearded maitre d’ from First Dates –and chef Angela Hartnett enjoyed a jaunt around Venice, eating the food and finding out what it takes to make amazing meals on an island in the middle of a lagoon.
After every espresso, or spaghetti alle vongole or tiramisu, they would turn to each over and say “that’s expensive for a coffee/pasta/pudding, but it’s worth it”.
And the thing is, from the looks of things, they were right.
The food they ate –in a tiny restaurant, tucked down a narrow alley, and a cafe in Piazza San Marco, or a family restaurant overlooking bobbing gondolas – was picture perfect, the vibrant rainbow of the tomatoes, herbs and vegetables popping off the screen and straight on to your tastebuds.
Yes, the white-jacketed waiters in the needlessly overdone Cafe Florian, doing an intricate waltz through the terrace tales, silver trays held one-handed above their heads, was a culinary Disneyland, where tourists gape open-mouthed and queues for hours.
But this was not a love letter to the city, it was a love letter to the chefs, waiters, greengrocers, the fishmongers, to fresh ingredients treated with care in simple ways, and it all looked delicious.
By the end of this transporting hour, I was ready to book my flights –I just don’t think my bank manager could cope.
Gameface (Channel 4, Wednesdays, 10pm) returns after a long absence, but Roisin Conaty’s sitcom about a lovable loser is still as funny and silly as ever, and still has its heart in the right place.
Elementary (Sky Witness, Tuesdays, 9pm) also returned, with the added bonus of Tamsin Greig. The plots still stretch your patience, but it’s done so slickly, an hour passes in a flash.