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Last night’s ‘Conan’ special featured wine, coffee, truffle hunting, and more edible moments.

Mike Pomranz
April 12, 2018

There’s an old adage that all comedians want to be rock stars and all rock stars want to be comedians. However, the saying is from back before celebrity chefs became “rock stars” in their own right, and now you could make a similar statement that everyone in showbiz wants to be a food expert. So we probably shouldn’t be surprised that, last night, late night talk show host Conan O’Brien decided to take his show on a tour of Italy—and included plenty of food-filled stops along the way… with his own comedic twist, of course.

For this “Conan in Italy” special, the host teamed up with his regular on-air foil Jordan Schlansky, one of the show’s associate producers, and took a road trip starting in Florence, traveling through Tuscany including a stop in Cortona, and wrapping up in Naples. Yes, they partook in plenty of non-edible and -imbibe-able activities, but food and drink played a huge role.

In Florence, the duo stopped by Schlansky’s favorite sandwich shop, a tiny storefront called I Fratellini, where—and you’ll see a theme develop here—Conan mocked Italy’s fine culture... in part by, spoiler alert, drinking wine while a large chunk of what appears to be prosciutto is still hanging from his mouth.

In Tuscany, an entire segment is dedicated to truffle hunting. Conan’s take after watching some truffle hunting dogs uncover a couple of the coveted fungi: “I strongly suspect these guys, because they knew we were coming, hid these ahead of time because they’re finding them very easily.”

Clearly, it’s not Tuscany without wine, so Conan devoted the next segment to dropping into the Felsina Winery in Chianti, home to one of Schlansky’s favorite wines. Though you won’t learn a ton about Italian wines from watching, you will learn “a magic trick” Conan learned “in alcoholism school.” (It’s a solid trick, to be fair.)

In Cortona, food once again plays a major role as the pair visit Schlansky’s favorite spot for dinner, Ristorante La Loggetta. “Tuscany, as I’ve mentioned, is a region of meat, and the meat of this region, in particular, is the Tagliata,” Schlansky begins as he introduces the menu to Conan. Luckily, Conan has brought his own ketchup packets.

And for their final segment in Naples, the show stops at Gambrinus, a café that Schlansky calls “the best place to get [a coffee]” in the city. He specifically has Conan get a Neapolitan cappuccino—as opposed to an order they have a little more trouble with, a pumpkin spice latte.

The whole adventure ended with a “movie trailer” recap, but unless you consider seeing Conan shoot a wine cork out of his nose, the foodie moments are over. Though frankly, in this clash of upmarket foodie stops and low-brow humor, it fits right in.

Watch the entire special (if you have TV provider access to TBS programming) here.

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