Gino’s journey takes him to the pearls of the Mediterranean - Sicily and Sardinia - revealing the hidden secrets, past and present of Italy’s largest two islands. In this stunning series, he reveals the islands’ fascinating histories, hugely varied lifestyles, vibrant cultures and larger-than-life characters. All the while of course, being marvelled by the spectacular scenery - from the heady heights of Sicily’s Mount Etna to the private beaches on Sardinia’s super-rich Emerald Coast.
THE AMALFI COAST
Chef Gino D’Acampo begins his Italian journey on the stunning Amalfi Coast. He visits the pretty town of Amalfi, a favourite holiday destination from his childhood, which is still popular with tourists today. Amalfi is world-famous for its lemons and Gino explores a secluded citrus grove, high on the cliffs above the town. Here, he picks
and tastes Amalfi’s legendary lemons with a family who own the grove. Motivated by the breathtaking location, Gino whips up a creamy lemon mousse topped with crushed amaretti biscuits - using Amalfi’s unique fruit and the local citrus liqueur, limoncello.
Eager to find more tasty Italian ingredients, Gino travels further down the coast to an organic buffalo farm. Here, he meets expert mozzarella makers and is keen to try his hand at crafting the pliable cheese. As the sun goes down, Gino hosts a sailing trip with his new friends from the lemon grove and dishes up delicate buffalo mozzarella wrapped in parma ham and rocket, paired with a delicious cocktail of limoncello and prosecco.
Chef Gino D’Acampo continues his Italian Escape in Naples – the area where he was born. Here, he examines the key foods and ingredients that have made the city famous, namely pizza and coffee.
Gino investigates the Neapolitan food trend of fried pizza – and helps an award-winning chef make this surprisingly tasty street snack.
Enthused by the mouth-watering food around him, Gino shows off a dish invented by his mother – chicken in breadcrumbs, topped with fresh mozzarella and surrounded by a pizza-style sauce. Before he leaves the city centre, Gino is thrilled to find a tiny café, which serves sixty-three different types of coffee.
The region’s volcanic landscape is the inspiration for Gino’s final Neapolitan location. To the west of Mount Vesuvius lies an extinct volcano, which houses a quaint organic restaurant. Gino picks vegetables and herbs inside the fertile crater – and creates a sumptuous courgette frittata, topped with a vibrant tomato, basil and olive salsa.
Italian chef Gino D’Acampo explores the intriguing region of Puglia – where centuries old tradition meets modern day Italy. The region is world-famous for its olive oil and Gino takes a close look at the gnarled olive trees, which have dominated the landscape for thousands of years. In the shade of an old masseria – or farmhouse – Gino dishes up a carpaccio of tender beef fillet, served with a refreshing Italian gremolata dressing and rocket salad.
Gino’s culinary quest continues in Puglia’s capital – Bari – where he samples an innovative olive oil ice cream… however he soon finds something even more fascinating. Tucked away in one of Bari’s medieval side streets, Gino discovers a group of local ladies, who spend their day skillfully and rapidly handcrafting orecchiette – or ‘little ears’ – pasta. Our chef is keen to learn the ancient technique… but is better at cooking the pasta than shaping it! He creates a colourful plate of orecchiette with broccoli, cherry tomatoes and chilli – simple yet exceedingly tasty. As he finishes his time in Bari, Gino heads out to the town’s harbour at sunset, to see how the locals spend their evening.
Gino D’Acampo’s Italian Escape continues in the country’s capital. As a chef, Gino has always been inspired by Rome and its cuisine. His first stop is at one of the city’s finest delis, where he is on the hunt for succulent pancetta to make a traditional pasta carbonara. Armed with not only the deli’s pancetta, but with the luscious cured meat ‘guanciale’, our chef decides to cook his pasta at a location he’s thrilled to call ‘the coolest place ever’ – in front of Rome’s iconic Colosseum.
Keen to explore the outskirts of the city, Gino travels to Ariccia - a town that is passionate about porchetta (slow roasted, moist, boneless pork stuffed with seasoning and rosemary). Naturally, he has to sample this succulent treat, which must traditionally be enjoyed in rustic bread. Gino’s final port of call outside the city is a restaurant belonging to Anna Dente, a chef who has been keeping authentic Roman recipes alive for 40 years. In Anna’s garden, Gino shows off his Roman-inspired dish of pan-fried lamb in rosemary and honey sauce, with fennel salad.
This week Gino D’Acampo returns to his native Campania – the Italian region where he grew up and where his family still live. As a chef, he is eager to visit the town of Gragnano, which is world-famous for its pasta. Gino tours this unique place, where a combination of natural elements - sea breezes, hot sunshine and mountain water – has contributed to producing outstanding pasta. Our chef visits one of the town’s historic pasta factories, where local ladies teach him the traditional skill of hand-rolling long fusilli.
Pasta isn’t the only food Gragnano is renowned for. High up in the surrounding mountains is a picturesque orchard, where Gino comes across the reddest cherries he’s ever seen. He can’t resist climbing into the trees to pick these sweet fruits to use in a dessert. In a corner of the orchard, Gino conjures up a contemporary tiramisu using whole cherries, creamy vanilla mascarpone and cherry liqueur. Before he leaves Gragnano, Gino calls in on his Italian relatives and – for the first time in his life – decides to cook for them. He nervously dishes up a delectable dinner for his family: Gragnano’s legendary pasta in a spicy arrabbiata and salmon sauce.
Gino D’Acampo’s final leg of his Italian Escape starts on the ‘heel’ of Italy’s boot, in Puglia. As a chef, Gino is always on the lookout for amazing food and is rewarded in the town of Altamura – a place that is world-famous for its historic bread. Here Gino visits a bakery, whose ancient oak-fired oven is used to cook not only the bakery’s own loaves, but also the bread belonging to Altamura’s ladies. Gino cannot come to the area without shaping the town’s distinctive loaves and helping unload the huge oven.
His next stop is one of the poorest regions of southern Italy – Basilicata. Here, in the hauntingly beautiful old town of Matera, Gino samples traditional “cucina povera” or “poor people’s cuisine.” He uses local bread to rustle up a tantalizing Italian version of beans on toast - cannellini beans with succulent cherry tomatoes on crusty bruschetta.
Back in Puglia, Gino visits the enchanting town of Alberobello. This tourist haven was a favourite childhood holiday destination of Gino’s. The town’s unusual ‘trullo’ houses with their conical roofs made the young Gino believe that the Smurfs lived there! Above the distinctive rooftops of Alberobello, our chef transforms a rustic loaf into perfect picnic fare – bread stuffed with salami, piquant cheese and grilled vegetables.