Gino D’Acampo set off on an epic railway journey around Northern Italy to discover the little-known local recipes that make delicious cooking easy
Once again I was lucky enough to be given the chance to travel around Italy – this time by train. It was a
fantastic journey and as I travelled around, I gathered recipes that were authentic, used local ingredients, and for me evoked the places that I visited. Sometimes I adapted the recipes, either to give them my own twist, or to ensure the ingredients were widely available outside Italy.
Over the past few years I’ve spent a lot of time travelling around my beautiful homeland, mainly by car and boat. However, this time I was asked to take a tour of Northern Italy by train for a new TV series and I jumped at the chance, as I hadn’t been on a train for 15 years.
There is something relaxing and exciting about travelling by train (and I’m not talking about the daily commute). You can just sit back and admire the sights, the rhythmic sounds are soothing, there’s plenty of space to walk around, and, if you’re lucky, there’s a restaurant car – a big plus for me!
I went on eight journeys in total and all were incredible in completely different ways – we travelled through spectacular mountain passes and rolling valleys and vineyards, alongside glistening lakes and sparkling coastlines, past pretty fishing villages and straight into major city centres.
And, of course, throughout my travels I sampled the typical foods of each area and enjoyed cooking for all the wonderful people I met. I learned so much from them and it was an honour to give back.
To reflect the express theme, I made sure I selected recipes that are quick and easy, while still being impressive and delicious. I noticed that lots of ‘quick’ recipes were basic in flavour, so I made it my mission to create recipes that I would serve at a dinner party, but would not take long to prepare and cook. Many of these dishes are now served on a monthly basis in my home.
There is a huge misconception that you need to spend hours in the kitchen to produce something special, but I’ve proved this isn’t the case. So for those of you who have busy lives and little time, yet who want to eat well and produce flavoursome Italian meals you can be proud of, I dedicate these recipes to you. Ciao and buon appetito!