This little known region sits in the middle of Italy, bordered by Lazio, Marche, Umbria and the Adriatic sea. It's a world away from modern Italy - one third of it is home to three national parks, making it one of the most rural of the Italian states…
It's so far off the beaten track; it only opened an airport at the turn of this century. Fishing and farming are what defines this region, so that's exactly what Gino experiences first hand.
Starting in the coastal town of Pescara, Gino though first starts his food odyssey learning about the region's unique contribution to the culinary landscape – Chitarra pasta, named after the guitar like contraption that shapes the pasta. He learns from Giovanni Minicuci how to make this iconic pasta by using a 200 year old technique.
Gino then travels along the historic Trabocchi coast line where he learns from 25 year old Tomasso Vert how his family of fishermen are keeping another ancient tradition alive. Fishing from the centuries old Trabocchi.
He is inspired to make a pasta dish using the pasta he made earlier in front of a stunning backdrop of the Trabocchi.
Gino then travels deep into the mountainous terrain, where the locals make their living working the land, and meets Mauro, a farmer who also trains the local breed of sheep dog. While Gino tries his hand at herding sheep in this idyllic setting, he learns about the dangers these shepherds face. After trying the simple shepherd snack of Arrosticini, Gino is inspired to create his own Mediterranean BBQ meal. Salute!
This far Northern state Trentino-Alto Adige is a unique region that borders both Switzerland and Austria. A thousand metres above sea level, and home to the Dolomite mountains, it really is like an Alpine paradise tucked away in Italy!
This is the furthest north that Gino has ever been in Italy. The culinary heritage here revolves round local food markets where farmers sell their products. So, to uncover the secrets of Trentino Alto-Adige, Gino rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck into two local products, cheese and Speck.
Starting in Valfloriana or valley of the flowers where dairy and meat farmers still follow ancient methods of producing food, he meets dairy farmer Graziano, who shows Gino how to make the local soft cheese, Zighera Della Valfloria, and the uses it as his star ingredient when he whips up a quick and easy pasta dish.
Then he moves further into the mountains to learn about the local cured meat, Speck. This is without doubt the most important produce that comes out of this region is Speck, or cured meat. Dating back to the 1800s, the word Speck is trademarked and Trentino Alto-Adige is the ONLY Italian region licensed to call it this. To unearth the secret of it's success, Gino has to work hard for his supper. He finishes his journey in a picture postcard location where he whips up an apple strudel, but with his usual Gino twist.
One of Italy's largest northern region, Lombardia borders Switzerland and is known for it's breathtaking mountains, picturesque towns, and of course is home to Italy's lake district, and the A-listers favourite, Lago di Como.
Here the likes of George Clooney and Madonna have snapped up holiday homes, which can cost up to a cool €38m. And when they need a drink they head to the infamous Harry's Bar on the lake. Gino goes on a mission to unearth the secret to the best selling drink at Harry's Bar, the Bellini.
Gino hitches a ride on George Clooney's boat to take a tour of an Italian villa, on the market for €16m, and against the stunning backdrop of the lake, he reveals the secret ingredient of the Bellini plus some simple appetizers designed to whet your guests appetite.
Then Gino uncovers a completely different side to lakeside living. Just a few miles up the shoreline, but feeling a million away, are a group of amatuer fishermen who still fly fish on the lake, and Gino is lucky enough to be there during the Agone breeding season, when the deep swimming fish come to shore for only 15 days a year. Gino gets his tackle out, and fishes for his own supper, which he creates at the water's edge. Simple, tasty and stunning!
Umbria is known as the green heart of Italy. It's fertile plains provides vegetables, grains, truffles and meat. Home to St Francis of Assisi, it is a region blessed with many pretty towns, and Gino is starting in the pretty town of Spoleto.
Not far from here is a small working farm which produces Umbrian lentils. The same family have been working this land for over a quarter of a century. Moving through the region Gino ends up in Norcia, which is the food capital of the region. The name of of Norcia is synonymous with meat and the skilful cutting of it. But Gino also discovers a place to indulge his sweet tooth as he treats himself with a taste of the sweet stuff.
He ends up in the stunning man made Marmore waterfalls, where he whips up a feast inspired by his food Odyssey.
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