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“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 six, the final leg of Gino’s Italian Escape starts on the ‘heel’ of Italy’s boot, in Puglia. On the lookout for amazing food, Gino is rewarded in the town of Altamura – a place that is world-famous for its historic bread.
Gino says: “Very rarely you will see an Italian family sitting down at the table eating without any bread. As far as I can remember from when I was a little boy, we always had bread on the table.”
Here Gino visits a bakery, whose ancient oak-fired oven is used to cook not only the bakery’s own loaves, but also bread made by Altamura’s ladies who have traditionally always used their local baker’s oven. Gino cannot visit the area without attempting to shape the town’s distinctive loaves and then helping unload 300 of them from the huge oven.
His next stop is one of the poorest regions of southern Italy, Basilicata. In the hauntingly beautiful old town of Matera, Gino samples traditional cucina povera, which translates as 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, a tourist haven which 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!
Gino says: “With its fairytale atmosphere, Alberobello is a real draw for tourists…There are places where it’s full of tourists, shops, bars…and then there are places where its very quiet, where people actually live in the trulli. It’s weird to me.”
Above the distinctive rooftops of Alberobello, Gino transforms a rustic loaf into perfect picnic fare, bread stuffed with salami, piquant cheese and grilled vegetables.