The Italian chef and TV personality Gino D’Acampo lives with his wife Jessica and their three children between Hertfordshire and Sardinia. Here, he talks us through how he celebrates Christmas each year (spoiler alert – it involves a lot of food!)
What is your favourite time at Christmas?
My favourite time at Christmas is being surrounded by family, cooking, eating and drinking at Villa D’Acampo on the island of Sardinia. Everyone is in charge of one dish that makes up the whole Christmas meal – so no pressure!
What’s your non-negotiable, must-have at home at Christmas?
Peaches soaked in Sardinian Cannonau red wine. We have it every year without fail and it’s delicious. You get the best of both worlds: wine-infused peaches, and peaches-infused wine – we love it.
What part of Christmas planning do you love the best?
I love sitting down with my family and choosing what we are going to eat on the day. I remember doing that as a child, with my mum and aunties. That is why my new cookbook – Gino’s Italy: Like Mamma Used To Make – is so special to me. I really want to keep traditions like those alive.
What part of Christmas planning do you dislike the most?
The presents. In the last decade or so, Christmas has all been about the presents you receive and who got what. I don’t think it should be about that at all. Christmas should be about no mobile phones for the day, good food and good-quality family time. And also getting drunk.
What’s your favourite Christmas recipe?
There’s too many to choose from, however I have some fantastic simple recipes in my new cookbook – go check them out!
What do you like to cook for Christmas dinner?
As we all cook one dish in our family that makes up the meal, I like to give myself the simplest one. I cook for work all year round, so it is time for my family to make an effort! As long as we don’t have turkey, I am happy.
What smell says ‘Christmas’ to you?
Funnily enough, recently it has been fish. The last couple of years we have had fresh fish and seafood around Christmas time – which I know may be strange to some people. In our house, we call it Fishmas…!
When do you put up your decorations?
Usually the first of December, unless my wife Jessica has different plans. She is definitely the one in charge of the decorations.
Are you a Christmas decorating minimalist or do you prefer to go all out?
Definitely a minimalist. I think that when people go all-out, it can sometimes look tacky. Less is definitely more, in my opinion.
Do you have a favourite Christmas decoration? And why?
It would have to be when we dress up my little daughter Mia up as an elf! And yes, I know she is not a decoration, but she’s still super cute.
Do you have any family traditions at Christmas?
Yes, actually – every year at the end of the day we play Cinco, which is a lot like Bingo but with cards instead of numbers. At least that’s how we play it! It gets super competitive between us all and probably not the best way to end Christmas Day…
Do you host your friends and family over the holidays? And if so, how do you celebrate?
I usually like to host people over New Year’s Eve. My boys are a little bit older now, and often go back to the UK, so Jessica and I invite another couple to celebrate New Year with us in Sardinia. For Christmas, it is always just my family and no one else.
Quick fire questions with Gino D’Acampo
Decorations – traditional or modern? Traditional.
Tree – real or artificial? Artificial.
Tree decs – themed by colour or a mixture? Mixture of colours.
Presents – do you treat yourself? Not often, but when I do, I do it properly!
Stockings – yes or no? Never done stockings, always presents under the tree instead.
Pets – do they get a present? Yes, but I think the best present for them is the leftovers…
Christmas meal – lunchtime or dinner time? Both.
Turkey or not? Absolutely not!
Catch Gino weekdays on ITV’s This Morning and watch his festive on-off special Gino’s Italian Christmas Feast on Friday 23rd December at 8.30pm on ITV, or later on catch-up at ITVX.