The Trip to Italy: Food Capers

June 2, 2014

“We’re not going to do any impersonations are we?” Steve Coogan asks Rob Brydon early on in The Trip to Italy.

The sequel to 2010’s cult hit film The Trip is a delicious excuse to again offer the two comedians an opportunity to outperform each other during a culinary roadtrip. Of course there will be impersonations.

It’s true they can be insufferable at times, but the exchanges reach such levels of absurdity it’s hard not to admire the comic interplay of the mostly improvised script. I guffawed harder than I imagined I would.

Steve & Rob still


The premise – that they travel from the northern Piedmont region down to Capri reviewing six fine dining restaurants for the Observer magazinedoesn’t stray from the first film’s successful formula. I desperately wanted to eyeball more Italian food while re-aquainting myself with Michael Caine, Hugh Grant, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Humphrey Bogart, Woody Allen, Anthony Hopkins, Roger Moore and many more.

Al Pacino and Marlon Brando make a welcome appearance as the Corleones (in Cooper and Brydon’s double act). Given The Godfather is rich with scenes of family dinners, I was craving their dialogue be delivered from mouths packed with ravioli. Coogan suggests that Brydon stuff a bread roll in his mouth for his Marlon Brando impression but Brydon demurs as he has a yeast intolerance.

The summer roadtrip in a black convertible mini continues through postcard vistas down the Ligurian coast through Tuscany, Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Capri. The non-stop banter takes in literature, art, family and the word “cumquat”, with Brydon the perfect alfoil for Coogan.

Dishes incorporating rabbit, quail, guinea fowl, squid, bonito, octopus and something scarily called ‘scorpion fish’ are served. I wanted more lingering food shots – and bigger reactions to those first mouthfuls. On the Amalfi Coast, Coogan tastes the main course and moans in ecstasy “oh, oh my God”. Not as memorable as the Meg Ryan/When Harry Met Sally scene, but not to be sniffed at.

One of the film’s rewarding themes is director Michael Winterbottom’s “homage to Byron and Shelley”. He has Coogan and Brydon retracing the romantic poets’ footsteps to the beautiful ‘Bay of Poets’ in Liguria where Shelley died and Byron’s house in Genoa.

Coogan and Brydon have admitted in interviews they don’t know much about food. Brydon backs this up with this gem on a hotel terrace – “Eggs for breakfast. Can’t top that … except with brown sauce”.

They came, they ate, they cracked jokes.

Black Ink RavioliThe recipe below comes courtesy of Australian distributor Madman who sent me a tantalising selection from the film. 

Pictured left is Black Ravioli stuffed with Mussels on Potato Cream, Candied Tomato and White Tomato Foam. It’s from the two Michelin-starred Ristorante Oliver Glowig in Rome.


The Trip to Italy is currently screening Australia-wide.
Images courtesy Madman Entertainment.















  1. A great post.

    • thanks Jovina. I enjoyed writing it – brought back some of the funniest moments from the film.

  2. Got it!
    At last!
    In Bali speak soon

    Sent from my iPad


    • Phew, that’s good (and interesting). Thinking of you (Fileep rang me). Let me know when you’re back in Sydney. xxA

  3. Strangely, I still think of The Trip. The under note of melancholy edging toward depression lingers on the palate! I look forward to the new movie. Thanks for the alert through a great post.

    • You’re right about the melancholy Lyndal. This time the tables are turned and it’s more about Rob Brydon and mid-life crisis. There’s one early scene in particular in Camogli (on the Ligurian coast) and the vista from the balcony – quite pensive.

  4. Twice two nights running i’ve heard good things about his film. Haven’t seen The Trip yet, either – feel a filmathon coming on!

  5. They’re both pretty good IMO, although the two leads can certainly divide the audience. I’ve also heard that there’s much more food action in the six-part series, so I look forward to that.

  6. Loved both films! Very amusing… we saw The Trip to Italy on a cold winter’s days…. it was like taking a short summer vacation to Italy. Popping in to say hello from The Food Sage, BTW!

    • Thanks Liz. I think it helps to see both films too. It helps to put into context Rob and Steve’s banter and I thought it was interesting that they reversed the ‘roles’ this time, ie Rob’s personal dilemmas.

  7. hello! i have of course found you thru the food sage.
    i saw the first ‘trip’and remember loving the scenery but mostly, of course, the amazing repartee between the two of them. just brilliant. i really need to rouse myself and see this instalment. i too will probably want more food.
    looking forward to workign thru your older posts – thank you for visiting Dig In.

    • Lovely to meet you too, and what a great idea a Blog Hop is. Yes, I enjoyed the repartee in both films, I think because it takes me back to my art college days and a couple of guys that I hung around with … we had the same kind of machine gun banter (although possibly not as clever as Steve and Rob’s). Anyway, thanks for your comments and hope you enjoy The Trip to Italy. I’ll now explore some more of your posts.

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