ANDREA BOCELLI: ‘I’d sing an aria for family and friends, while they ate dessert’

John Hind writes: The tenor on the joys of family food and how he stays in tune by eating pasta every day – but only with olive oil and no sauces or butter

Mamma said that when I was little I refused to eat. I suppose I didn't want to waste time. I was very restless and wanted to run and climb on the agricultural machines my father sold. My mother would run after me with a spoon and try to distract me, so she could put one spoonful of minestra in my mouth.

Mamma certainly wasn't a good cook, but Oriana, a domestic in the house, my second mother, was great, and she bought me my first record, of Franco Corelli. I especially remember sweets on feast days and celebrations – castagnaccio cakes made from chestnut flour and bombolini, small deep-fried ..............