Sunday, 26 July 2015

Hannibal S3 Ep8 The Great Red Dragon

Vide cor muem 

When you see the beauty of my heart

You no longer see the beast

Blood-red black in black of night. 

Empowered by the moon

But longing to burn in the fire of the sun.

Vide cor meum “See my heart” is from Dante’s sonnet to Beatrice, his unrequited true chivalric love (why are these objects of epic love always called Beatrice?). He only saw her twice but was devoted to her long after her death.
Dante and Beatrice before the Eagle of Justice (c1450)

Eating your heart with flaming lips  

According to Benjamin Daniels, Dante, in a dream “sees the vision of Love holding a woman (Beatrice) who is wrapped in a veil. Love says, "I am your master." In one of Love's hands there is a heart on fire and he says to Dante, "Vide cor tuum: See your heart". Then Love wakes Beatrice and feeds Dante's burning heart to her which she reluctantly eats. Love, then, becomes very sad and takes Beatrice with him up toward heaven.”

Vide cor meum, the Musical 

At the request of  Dino DeLaurentiis, Vide cor meum was written by Irish composer Patrick Cassidy for the film, Hannibal. It was to be the aria sung at an opera attended by Lecter and Pazzi and was used at the end of our season one and two.

While we are in Florence portion of the Memory Palace, let's enjoy Botticelli’s painting of Fortitude one of the Seven Virtues. He painted this, one of his first important commissions when he was 24. Hannibal sketches it with Alana’s face.
Fortitude by Botticelli

Art, art, art. Where's the beef? 

I tell you all of this because there is not much to say about the food in this episode. Why I hardly had to run around at all! Because it’s all hopeless.

This time I had to fake the white Alba truffles Here they are made out of plastecine and cocoa

Truffle Surprise

White truffles are no longer in season and I really can’t believe I spent over $700 on fresh truffles a month ago when we shot a scene where Alana shows Verger all the luxury comestibles that Hannibal is consuming in Italy.  They were barely seen. (Dark….far away…out of the frame) Now there’s a truffle close-up and the truffle-hunting boars have all left the building. So I have to make one out of modeling clay and cocoa. I have some truffle oil that I rub on it so that Mads will get something to sniff at in the scene and really, no one is the wiser. 
Yet another out-of-season request from the writers' room.

But how about a chilled glass of beer with good old Alana?

In that same scene there’s only wine now, not beer which the Old Alana used to love. But now having been thrown from a window, Involved in fratricide, got a girlfriend and still-birthed a baby, she is the New Alana. Cool, wiser, tougher -- not up for the infatuated three-ways of her youth.
Remember back in Season One, having a beer with Hannibal in his kitchen? Times were simpler then...
Speaking of beer, the Doubters have been voicing concerns that beer does not have anything remotely people-ish in the recipe. Well, I don’t know much but I do know that recipes were meant to be altered.
Sweet bliss of innocence enjoys a tall cool one
This image borrowed from
I always thought that Hannibal had barrel-aged his beer for Alana in an oak wine barrel that had previously held body parts (eau de Mirium Lass’ arm?) but if you have any suspicions that he would stop at that, just check out these few breweries for the possibilities: Walking Dead tribute by craft beer-maker Dock Street:

This fine craft beer is made with smoked goats' brain to celebrate the Walking Dead. And cranberries of course for a nice red colour.

Drippy, sticky, scary but delicious

And Right Brain Brewery’s Mangalitsa Pig Porter made from pig faces. A nice accompaniment to Verger Stew.
Porter.  Pig parts. Party.

OK ...who's been in my beer stash?

Meat me half-way...

Another possibility, albeit remote (oh, the first three recipes aren’t?) is that Hannibal could have made glycerine from bones, cartilage and fatty tissues of his victims by boiling them to render the fat and collagen. Then, to extract the glycerine, he would have boiled the fat with lye and salt then strained off the glycerine that separates out. (what remains is soap) He would add the glycerine to his beer to add a velvety texture to the beer and to stabilize it so it keeps longer. But this is not likely since glycerine is not something you would add to a quality hand-crafted beer.

Sanguinaccio with Ladyfinger biscuits and fresh berries

But don't get me wrong, there was a food scene

Bryan Fuller, our genius showrunner/creator/god wanted to show that Hannibal could still have a gracious life in prison. Feeding Dr Chilton was one way of maintaining his pattern of sensuously cooking to classical music and serving Dinner with a Speech. So we had to do something that was simple to make but beautiful. Writers Nick Antosca and Steve LIghtfoot did a lot of practical research eating out in LA and found Sanguinaccio Dolce on a menu of one particularly posh place. It is an old Italian recipe that calls for fresh blood and dark chocolate cooked in milk. 
Soundies sampling sanguinaccio on set - Ao and Sean

Everyone loved it, not the least because it references "Blood and Chocolate" a horror movie from a decade ago that stars a very young Hugh Dancy as a graphic novel writer who gets involved with a werewolf (Kids these days -- what are you gonna do?).

Chris Hargadon, Head of Costumes holding Red Dragon's silk robe
Of course rest of this season is all about the Red Dragon. And although he has the teeth to chew his way through anything I could concoct, I am sad to say he’s more into tattoos than tasty treats.  So I give up. Here’s a lovely picture of his robe – since I know you were inspecting it closely and annoyed that he dropped it to reveal his muscled inked posterior. 

For those of you who would like a closer look. (Hey, eyes, my robe is up here ^)

Robeless Red Dragon

By the way, I can see why Richard Armitage has such a loyal fan base. Not only is he a gifted and dedicated actor, he is a wonderful man. All the crew adored him - especially Hair Department's - talented Karola Dirnberger and Make-up's sweet Katie Brennan. (Hello: daily tattoo application/removal)

NEXT WEEK: Dinner at the Dolarhydes’. Keep your fork – there’s pie.

stole this carved watermelon dragon right off This is Colossal

Hannidinners: Too many to post but a few select ones from Australia

Thank you Aussieannibals! I will plug in your names as soon as I get them from eOneANZ.


  1. Thank you, Janice, for another entertaining post! I hope Hannibal gets to cook more dinners in his memory palace. I would be so sad if there are no more sumptuous food scenes left on the show!

  2. There are a few more dinner scenes and one in particular at end of the very last episode. I hope it doesn't get cut in the final edit because it is the shot of which I am most proud in all 3 seasons. And as the final scene, I would have the last word! That is until someone #SavesHannibal...

    1. You did have the last word ... and what a last word it was! Bravo! Can't wait for you to tell us how that scene was done - and hopefully your interpretation of it! It was beautiful and sinister and mysterious and hopeful/terrifying all at once!!

  3. Janice, maybe you know why Hannibal have such a luxurious apartment in detention, and he was even allowed to cook desserts? This is a real luxury detention cell in the hospital or is it just the imagination of Hannibal?

    1. Alana, now head of BHSCI, knows Hannibal uses certain perks like books, a paneled cell, fine wine, truffles to keep him in line. She threatens to take them away (including his toilet seat cover) if he misbehaves. So that luxurious library really is his cell.

  4. Another awesome post <3
    Thanks for all the explanations and for making me hungry!

    1. Thanks! I really hate not being able to share more behind the scenes stuff but I have to keep my publisher happy and save it for the cookbook!

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  6. Janice, I'm doing sanguinaccio dolce for an unrelated (French-zombie themed) dinner. How do you keep the pig's blood fresh until you need it? Do you de-coagulate it and then store it in the freezer?

    (It's so much fun to get to ask these kinds of questions.)

  7. Sorry this answer is a bit late but I hope it will be helpful the next time you cook with blood. (In time for Halloween?)
    Yes, you can freeze it. It should be fairly liquid when you buy it -- only a few globs floating which you can get out by whisking briskly or by running thru a strainer a couple times. Blood sellers sometimes put a tiny bit of vinegar in the blood as that keeps it from coagulating. You can do the same, But you probably already figured that out.

    Hope the sanguinaccio turned out great!

  8. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work and tips with us Janice!
    Have you ever heard of Auto-Brewery Syndrome? Hannibal might have been doing some interesting torture to get that beer:

  9. Don't you just love "The Salt'? They do such great stuff. It's factiods like this that make me wish we were still doing Hannibal. The Writers' Room would have a field day with Auto-Brewery Syndrome!

  10. I hope i still get an awnser sinds it realy late that post my question.
    But how can you make sanguinaccio without pigs blood?

  11. Hi! Exsanguinated recipe for Sanguinaccio: In a heavy saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup 35% cream, 2 eggs (beaten), 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Beat together with wire whisk, Stir over low heat until thickened (like a thick cream soup) with a rubber spatula so you can scrape the bottom and sides of the saucepan. Add 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, broken up in bits. Stir until chocolate melts. Add up to 2 oz more of chocolate if you want a richer taste. Whisk again to get rid of any lumps. Stir in vanilla and 1 Tbsp butter. Pudding will thicken more as it cools. Pour into prepared orange peel halfs and serve with ladyfingers.

    Hope that works for you! The eggs do the same work as the blood to thicken the pudding.

  12. Great blog. I'm hoping to find an occasion when i can make Sanguinaccio Dolce for someone who will appreciate it. I do have one quibble about the beer Hannibal gave Alana. Since he only cut off Miriam's arm right before it was found, he wouldn't have had any bits from her to add to the barrel. SO unless he was bleeding her, which seems inelegant, she can't have been the source for the beer. Does anyone have any other ideas?

    1. My theory was that Hannibal kept Miriam submerged in beer that he was aging in an old oak bourbon cask. Of course he would have drugged her and put one of those white hairnets on her head and rinsed her off first - but not so much that he removed the yeast and bacteria naturally occurring on her skin which would add to the fermentation process. At least, that's how I figured it.