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Ligurian Cuisine!

Italia! The very word itself is a synonym for heavenly cuisine. Recognized across the globe and all cultural divides, Italian food is associated with rich, red sauces, aromatic herbs and creamy, melt-in-your-mouth desserts. Outside of Italy, spaghetti bolognaise and pizza reign supreme as staples in most people’s go-to menu items. Within the nation itself however, cuisine is greatly varied. Always influenced by local produce, the cuisine of Italy is an amazing adventure and so much more than pasta and pizza.

Liguria: Market shopping

taralli-savoryLiguria, located in the most north-west aspect of Italy is a true Mediterranean coastal region. Sharing a border with France and Tuscany and arising from the beautiful Ligurian sea, Liguria is home to ragged cliffs, salty air and sunny people. The food here is rich in flavour and freshness and draws on a heritage steeped in legends of the sea and highland farming.

The capital of Liguria is Genoa, the Italian Riviera and an ancient port that was home to not only Columbus but also many other historic travellers. With many of the old building still intact, you will find yourself transported back to a time when sea-faring heroes broke bread and feasted as the wine flowed.

To truly sample everything that Genoa is, make sure you head to the artisan food markets featuring local Ligurian products as well as those brought in from across the many regions of Italy. To name just a few of what you will find there: fresh, fragrant, local basil, delicious baked goods such as taralli savory biscuits from Puglia as well as mouth-watering porchetta from the heart of Italy.

Evening Dining

pesto-liguriaNative to Genoa is the renowned al pesto sauce, made from fresh basil, pine nuts and olive oil. Ground together with garlic and parmesan cheese, you have not tasted a true al pesto until you visit Genoa for yourself and sample the locally made version- just divine.

In true Mediterranean style, seafood and soup variations are abound in Liguria. Minestrone, a global winter staple hails from Liguria and this soup, when made with local pumpkin, potatoes, green beans, cabbages, pumpkins and zucchini is a hearty, filling meal in itself. With a side of focaccia- delicious bread stuffed with olives and fresh herbs you probably won’t need to eat until the next day!

If you are visiting Liguria, forget about your waistline. This is a once in a lifetime chance to stuff yourself silly with food prepared by locals who have recipes that are generations old, with some recipes even being long-held family secrets. Because the region is bountiful with fresh vegetation you can be sure that you will not only have a full belly at all times, but you will also be eating food that is bursting with nutrition.

Your evening meal in any Ligurian town is a cinch. No matter where you choose to dine you can be sure that you will be feasting like royalty. When heading out for dinner be sure to try out some handmade ravioli. Pansoti di Rapallo is definitely a must-try menu option and is made with hard-boiled egg, fresh cheese and spinach. With the Ligurian Sea producing fresh fish daily, you have your pick of the ocean! We recommend stockfish served with salsa di noci- a beautiful walnut sauce.

One last word on bounty of the sea: Try burrida – this is a Ligurian fish stew, made with fish, squid, tomatoes, garlic and white wine. Tastes too good to be true.

Wine

No exploration of the cuisine of Liguria would be complete without sharing a word or two about wine. You can get good wine in Liguria. You can even get excellent wine in Liguria. But remember, Liguria is a mountainous rugged region and not so conducive to the development of vineyards.

In cities such as Genoa, which as we mentioned is a port, you can enjoy wine that has been brought in from Lombardy. Genoa does also have two lovely wines of its own: White from Cinque Terre and also Rossesse di Dolceaqua.

 

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