Food editor Russ Parsons says: 'I want my Corti TV!'
Darrell Corti doesn't have a computer, but he does have a website. Somehow, that's appropriate. In case the name doesn't ring a bell, Corti is the Sacramento grocer who over the last 40 years has become legendary for being the go-to source for information on food products ranging from Japanese salts to Chinese teas to almost anything having to do with Italy. And even, as in the above scene, a Chicago hot dog at the airport.
He is the kind of old-fashioned gentleman scholar who can recite the most arcane of details and put them in a sensible context. But at the same time, so far-flung are his fascinations that he couldn't operate without the assistance of air travel. And the Internet.
For his website we should thank his assistant and apparently tireless traveling companion Rick Minderman. He's the one who has cobbled together what must have been endless video bits of Corti on his travels and organized them into something resembling logical order.
Minderman is also the brain behind the Facebook page devoted to Corti: Darrell Corti Will Always Know More Than You About Food and Wine.
That's not hyperbole. Corti is a walking talking polymath and a conversation with him will quickly lead in unexpected and amusing directions. Of course, you won't get a chance to have much of a say in it, but then only a cad could complain about that.
The website has plenty of stunning scenery as well as peeks behind the scenes of some of the most treasured artisanal food producers in Palermo, Venice and northern Italy. And always, there's the soundtrack by Corti, learned, erudite and endlessly fascinating.
-- Russ Parsons