In this episode, the staff of Festa are thrown into a panic because of an important customer; Teiri Niza. He is the owner of a high-class Japanese restaurant but likes to come to Festa to eat sometimes. It seems like owing to the easy-going way the restaurant is run, Morina wasn’t aware of his coming or his importance until she arrives at work that day, but she gets caught up in the bustle.
He orders ‘the usual’, which is spring roll caponata and is very excited about how tasty it is, to the point where he discusses the dish in detail (I liked the way that they decided to summarise the huge amount of food discussion by creating a wall of text behind the characters owing to the time constraints of the show, even if I did have to pause to read what was being said). I do feel a bit cheated that the show has discussed lots of the finer points of the caponata spring roll as discussing the details of the dishes is part of what I’ve been doing with this blog post, but it’s also super interesting!
The dish Morina tries this week is caponata in a spring roll. It’s a dish with eggplant, capers, celery, olives, onions and tomato which has a sweet and sour taste. The name of the dish comes from the capers which are included and it originally comes from the Sicily region in Italy. It’s a recipe which has a lot of different variants, some include seafood or other vegetables such as artichokes, but each variant still includes the main ingredients. The caponata has been wrapped in the spring roll wrapper, briefly fried to make the outside crisp, and served with melted mozzarella cheese on top. Obviously traditional Italian cuisine doesn’t feature the spring roll wrapper and would just serve the caponata by itself. Caponata is usually served chilled, is apparently popular in summer, and can be served as a side or a main dish. The ingredients seem accessible enough that I’d consider trying to make some for myself at some point in the future (but not in a spring roll).
Niza invites his granddaughter Sara who is with him to try the caponata, as Sara has an excellent sense of taste and he thinks she may enjoy it, but Sara is unimpressed. She says that she doesn’t like fusion cuisine and that she hates Italian food because it has a vulgar image in comparison to French food, and the episode ends on this note. This is a surprising amount of drama from what has previously been a pretty easy-going series! As the synopsis mentions Morina learning about food and friendship through her time at Festa, it’s possible that next episode there will be some discussion of the charms of Italian food. I’m definitely looking forward to this as it feels a bit odd for a show about the joys of Italian cookery to close with a character mentioning how much they don’t like it.