Europe

Italian chef arrested over cannabis 'was testing new flavours’

Police found two large cannabis plants and Indian hemp at Carmelo Chiaramonte's home Image copyright Carabinieri Catania
Image caption Police found two large cannabis plants and Indian hemp at Carmelo Chiaramonte's home

A Sicilian TV chef has been arrested on suspicion of drug dealing after police found cannabis at his home, Italian media report.

Carmelo Chiaramonte was caught in possession of two large marijuana plants and 1kg (35oz) of Indian hemp, police said.

Cannabis-infused wine, olives, coffee and tuna were also seized from his home near Catania in eastern Sicily.

The chef reportedly told police he was researching "new flavours".

Mr Chiaramonte described himself as an "agro-food consultant for third millennium cuisine", Italian newspaper La Sicilia reported.

The 50-year-old chef, who lives in the village of Trecastagni, at the foot of Mount Etna, has been released pending trial.

Known as a connoisseur of Sicilian cuisine, Mr Chiaramonte is a chef at the Katane Palace Hotel restaurant in Catania.

Mr Chiaramonte cooks according to the "aromatic nuances" and "the taste of the Mediterranean peoples", according to his website.

He hosted a TV cooking programme about "the history of produce and the tradition of Sicilian agriculture", La Sicilia reported.

One of his shows was called Immoral Recipes and Aphrodisiac Foods, the newspaper said.

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