The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing - in the public domain - until Tuesday 17 September 2013.
“For Italians, the most important thing in life is food. Let me show you how mouth-watering ingredients have shaped my home country.” Gino D’Acampo
Italian chef Gino D’Acampo presents a new six-part primetime series for ITV, combining lifestyle, travel and cookery as he travels across his beloved homeland.
Gino’s Italian Escape sees the chef revealing the best-kept secrets of Southern Italy - where he grew up - a region renowned for its vibrant people, food and culture, all of which gave Gino the rich traditions that continue to inspire him today.
Gino travels across the regions, from the beautiful Amalfi Coast to bustling Rome and the relatively unexplored Puglia and Basilicata regions, meeting local characters and sourcing the best ingredients so he can celebrate a perfect season with family and friends.
In episode three, Gino visits Puglia, a region where centuries of tradition meet modern day Italy. Near Bari, the bustling capital of the Puglia region, the cool sea breezes help provide perfect conditions for growing olives and producing olive oil.
Gino says: “They’ve got everything here, they got the sun, they got the wind coming from the sea…this is paradise as far as olive oil is concerned.”
There are estimated to be 60 million olive trees in the Puglia region and they thrive on the hot summers and cool winters. Gino visits a traditional farmhouse to take a closer look at the amazing olive trees that produce Italy’s famous oil, before sampling some of the oil himself.
Gino says: “For any Italian, especially for a chef like myself, olive oil is the most important ingredient when you create a dish. Especially with a savoury dish, you will realise that it always starts with olive oil.”
The olive grove inspires Gino to cook Carpaccio of beef with his take on the Italian garnish gremolata, using flat leaf parsley, garlic and capers, served with rocket and parmesan.
Italians have built a global reputation as the best ice-cream makers and Gino heads to a parlour in Bari old town to taste traditional ice-cream made with some unusual flavours, including gorgonzola and walnut.
In the maze of medieval narrow streets in the old town, Gino is keen to witness local women who specialise in making their own distinctive pasta: “I’m searching for women in the middle of the street making handmade pasta. I’ve actually never seen it before, but I know that they are around here.”
Angela Laspella agrees to show Gino the traditional method of shaping the orrechiette pasta, but is far from complimentary about his attempts.
Gino admits: “This is the most embarrassing thing that I done in my life. This woman is telling me off, that I can’t make a particular shape of pasta. She’s making this look so easy, but this orrechiette is a nightmare!”
Accepting defeat, Gino prepares a tantalising dish using Angela’s pasta with broccoli, fresh tomatoes, garlic, chilli and olive oil.
Finally, Gino samples the Puglia nightlife and meets some of the locals.
He says: “This is what I like about Italy, the good weather, fantastic scenery, happy people everywhere, amazing food, drink, what do you want more from life?”