Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South — release date, destinations, recipes, interview, episode guide and everything you need to know

Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South on ITV1 sees Gino D'Acampo on a fun gastronomic tour.
Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South on ITV1 sees Gino D'Acampo on a fun gastronomic tour. (Image credit: ITV)

In Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South popular TV chef Gino D’Acampo returns to his beloved home country on another food Odyssey, this time exploring the secret recipes of the little-known regions of Italy’s far south.

"I’m back in stunning Italy discovering amazing food and the rustic traditions of Puglia and Basilicata," says Gino, 47. "I’m on a mission to discover the ancient recipes and ingredients that these sometimes forgotten regions have to offer."

The six-part ITV1 series sees Gino travel from the fortress port of Gallipoli to remote mountainous region of Pollino, tasting some well-kept food secrets and learning to cook some traditional culinary delights. He kicks off in the UNESCO Heritage city of Matera, famous for its cave dwellings and the best bread in Italy!

"I met an incredible 86-year-old grandmother in Matera," says Gino. "She was great – cooking with grandmothers is the thing I love to do the most. You hear all these stories, and it shows the passion that they have for cooking, which you don’t see every day!"

So here’s everything you need to know about Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South on ITV1…

Gino's James Bond car

Gino's James Bond style car for his tour around Italy's south. (Image credit: ITV)

Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South release date

Gino’s Italy: Secrets of the South is a six-part series that starts on ITV1 on Sunday, October 22 at 7.30pm. Episodes will also be available on ITVX. We'll update with any international air dates where we can.

Is there a trailer for Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South?

There's no trailer for Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South. But the series is a lot of fun so do make sure you tune in.

What happens in Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South?

Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South sees Gino on a foodie tour of Italy, as he explores the secrets of Puglia and Basilicata, regions that are full of rugged mountains, ancient cave cities, beaches and clear turquoise waters. 

They’re also a melting pot of history and culture, with much of the culinary fare influenced by former occupiers, ranging from the Ancient Greeks to the Byzantines and Spanish!

Gino discovers the secrets of Puglia and Basilicata.

Gino discovers the secrets of Puglia and Basilicata. (Image credit: ITV)

Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South episode guide, destinations and recipes

Where Gino is heading...

Where Gino is heading... (Image credit: ITV)

Here's our complete episode guide for Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South...

Episode 1: Matera 
Gino arrives in a tuxedo and Fiat 500 in Matera, a city known for the high-speed chase sequence in James Bond’s No Time To Die. He starts by sampling his father’s favourite tipple, a herbal liqueur called Amaro Lucano, before learning how to knead the dough with a master baker to make Matera’s famous bread. Next, he meets an 86-year-old grandmother, who teaches him how to make the fried lampascioni balls made from hyacinth bulbs. He finishes his journey at a local farm, where he cooks up beef in breadcrumbs in an old pizza oven. 

Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South on ITV1 sees Gino D'Acampo on a fun gastronomic tour.

Gino's mini James Bond car, the Fiat 500! (Image credit: ITV)

Episode 2: Gallipoli
Gino travels to the fortress port of Gallipoli, famous for its raw fish. Originally founded by the Greeks, the name Gallipoli means beautiful city in Greek and it’s now considered the melting pot of Puglia. Gino meets Laura, a hand diver who makes her living fishing for sea creatures, before sampling the unusual purple-headed prawn at the local fish market. He ends up by cooking tiella, the Italian answer to paella, made with mussels, rice and potatoes. 

Episode 3: Bari
The chef tours Bari, the capital of Puglia, by rickshaw. Stopping off in a rustic square in the old town, Gino meets a great-grandmother who teaches him an ancient way of making a semolina orecchiette pasta, before he samples a street dish made with polenta. For his grand finale we find Gino on a rooftop where he prepares a dish unique to Bari, spaghetti all'assassina – a spicy spaghetti dish cooked like a risotto.

Episode 4: Cisternino
Gino travels through Puglia’s meat country, taking in the town of Cisternino and the Itria valley, which is dotted with ancient cone-shaped homes called trulli. Along the way he’s shown the secret of capocollo, a tasty cured meat unique to the area, before discovering some unusual products made from olive trees, including beer. Then it’s time for a barbecue, as Gino cooks a local favourite called bombette, the region’s tasty answer to pigs in blankets!

Episode 5: Salento
Gino takes a Vespa to Salento. Along the way he meets an Italian free-diving champion who still fishes with a spear underwater like the Ancient Greeks. He also learns about the secrets of organic farming in Salento’s rich soil where giant onions grow alongside strawberries and potatoes. On the edge of the stunning Ionian Sea, Gino cooks his freshly caught pan-fried sea bass with a new potato salad. 

Episode 6: Pollino
The chef heads back to the Basilicata region, this time on horseback, to explore the hilly and remote area of Pollino, home to the largest national park in Italy. It’s also where Albanian refugees settled 500 years ago, fleeing their Ottoman oppressors. At the hill village of San Paolo Albanes, Gino’s introduced to cruschi, dried sweet red peppers, which only grow in this region. He learns to make Albanian-style pasta and searches for wild herbs that grow in the park. To top off his adventure, Gino cooks his mother's favourite – pasta with chickpeas, adding a tasty wild pesto and sweet cruschi peppers. 

Gino travels through a treasured region of Italy over six episodes.

Gino travels through a treasured region of southern Italy over six episodes. (Image credit: ITV)

Interview: Gino D’Acampo reveals all about his series Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South

What can viewers expect from your new series Gino’s Italy: Secrets Of The South? 
Gino says: “I think the title says everything you need to know. In terms of recipes and places, I’m going to show you things you’ve never seen before.   This is one of the main reasons I decided to film in Puglia and Basilicata, because they are lesser known, and you need to know about them because they’re incredible!”

So what’s so special about Puglia and Basilicata?
Gino reveals: "Puglia is a region that has become more known in the past five or six years, but Basilicata is a real secret of the southern region of Italy. It’s incredible because it has the most amazing old cities. It’s not the usual Italy - these are secret places that only Italians know about!”

What’s the secret of the incredible food in Puglia and Basilicata?
Gino says: “Because it’s close to the sea, the soil is very rich in minerals, so the ingredients grown there are very unique as far as flavour is concerned. Puglia is also the region where Italy produces the most olive oil!”

You learn some traditional dishes during the series. What did you find the most difficult to master?
Gino says: “Making the orecchiette pasta was very hard. I thought, if these ladies can do it in the middle of the road just with a table and a little chair, and without any kitchen set up, then it should be easy for me. But it wasn’t. It’s a unique technique that some of them have been mastering for 50 or 60 years. It would be impossible for any chef, no matter how good, to be able to compete with those ladies. They were insanely good at making orecchiette!” 

Did you discover any new ingredients that you haven't used before? 
Gino explains: “Yes, I discovered quite a few new ingredients. For example, when I was in Matera, there was an onion called lampascioni, which I did a recipe with. It’s like a shallot onion, I’ve never seen that before. I also discovered the crusco pepper when I was in Pollino and cucumarazzi in Bari, which is like a mix of a cucumber and a melon. We also went to an olive grove where they produce extra virgin olive oil, but that’s not the only thing they make with the olives, they also make soaps and beer. I tried the olive oil beer and it was excellent!”

We see you get stuck in with things like spearfishing and horse riding. What was that like?
Gino says: "I’m not a very active guy, as a lot of people know! But I really enjoyed these activities because there were reasons behind them. I enjoyed the fishing because I wanted to catch a fish to cook, and I went horse riding because I met a lady who showed me around this amazing place in the mountains where they grow herbs and the only way to do it was on horseback - otherwise I would have had to walk for ages!”

In the series you often refer to your late mother’s cooking. Is she still your greatest influence?
Gino says: “My mum was a good cook. She wasn’t the greatest cook in the world, but she had this mentality that I loved – two or three ingredients and you can create a great Italian dish. She always reminded me that Italian food should be kept simple. She used to say to me, ‘waste more time when you buy ingredients and waste less time when you are in the kitchen’. It’s true. The more time spent on the ingredients, the less time you’ll spend in the kitchen.”

If someone has never visited southern Italy before, where would you recommend?
In Gino's opinion: “The answer to that is everywhere I’ve been in the series! When I do Gino’s Italy, I take a lot of time to research because I always want to show viewers the best, I want to show them something special. So if I’ve been there, you should go there, it’s as simple as that!”

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.

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