Liguria and Genoa gastronomy shows the characteristics of taste typical of its area and of the creativity of its people. Genoa people, in fact, have a simple cooking rich in vegetables and herbs, with a wide use of olive oil: all this helped make up delicious, tasty dishes also very natural and attractive.
An original speciality of Liguria cooking is its famous and tasty focaccia, which can be plain with only olive oil or in other savoury versions (with onions, with olives, with sage, with cheese etc...)
Stuffed pasta like the traditional ravioli and the typical pansotti (pasta stuffed with chards, eggs and ricotta cheese); corzetti of Val d’Aveto, a kind of round lasagne of puff pastry; the vegetable pies like torta Pasqualina that is made up of puff pastry stuffed with cooked chards or artichokes, courgettes, springtime herbs, eggs and cheese; the ciausun of Baiardo, a vegetable pie baked in a wood-burning oven cima that is made up by a narrow "case" of veal meat stuffed with minced offal, soft bread soaked in broth, spring vegetables, grated cheese, chopped mortadella and eggs; stuffed (or fried) courgettes flowers.
Among the so many gourmet specialities there are: the vegetable soup Genoa style, farinata, a narrow focaccia made out of chickpea flour melt with water, salt and olive oil and baked in a wood-burning oven; panissa; tomaxelle; stuffed vegetables.
Obviously there are many seafood specialities with seafood soups, fried fish and other delicacies such as ciuppin, buridda, capponada and monkfish soup or "buddego soup". With cod - dried and later softened - people make the famous stockfish Genoa style, a dish with many versions. Among the qualities of fried fish best is the local fish: red mullets, bogues, calamari, squids, anchovies, sardines all are well deep fried in olive oil. Dried salt cod is best when crisp fried in croquettes.
Among all other specialities cappon magro is undoubtedly the tastiest, this is a wonderful inviting cold salad – a very elaborate dish shaped as a multi layered pyramid with a base of plain biscuits seasoned with garlic, oil, vinegar and salt, firm flesh fish, boiled vegetables, hard - boiled eggs, artichokes, tuna, shrimps, capers and olives, all dressed in green sauce and garnished on top with a lobster.
The most famous desserts are: pandolce natalizio genovese (a Christmas pudding) , that is a thin panettone with sultanas and lemon rind; frisceu (apple fritters), castagnaccio, a cake made with chestnut flour, "quaresimali"; currant bread and cake bread ("biscotti del lagaccio"); canestrelli; amaretti (deriving from Piedmont tradition); and the famous candied fruit and flowers (rose petals and violets).
Vine growing has a long and firm tradition in Liguria and produces high quality wines from Rossese di Dolceacqua to Sciacchetrà delle Cinque Terre (just to mention the most famous ones) Liguria glasses are easily raised for a toast!
Among the so many famous admirers of Genoa cooking we would like to mention the poet Paul Valery, in "Au hasard et au crayon":
"... sweet smelling kitchens: huge pies, chickpeas flour, mixtures. Sardines in olive oil, hard- boiled eggs inside pies, spinach pies, fried food. This cooking is very very old"
The writer Henry Aubert in "Città e Genti d’Italia", quotes the atmosphere during the Christmas season: "... shops and food are shining".
Multicolour cakes, multicolour pastries, scarlet lobsters, pink prawns, enormous turkeys, huge hams, mountains of lemons and oranges attract the eye". Also an academic French scholar Fernand Braudel in "L’Italia che mi ha incantato" firmly states that "Genoa fascinates me... Is it possible to eat better than in Genoa?" .
More about Genoa cooking.
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