Liguria on the Table – Italian Regional Cuisine

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cinque terreLiguria on the Table

Positioned along Italy’s northwestern coast, Liguria has a lot in its kitty: steep hills, fragrant herbs, garden-fresh vegetables and fresh fishes are some of its drawing card!

Liguria: the Region

If nature, mountains, culture, entertainment and night life is all that you want, then you should come to Liguria! Liguria is blessed with impressive mountains, rolling hills, and a Mediterranean turf! It is hemmed by dry, rocky mountain peaks, thick forests and steep valleys.

Fascinated with the sea, Ligurians for centuries have terraced the land to construct homes and small cities along the coast. When viewed from the water, the steep hills appear like a well-manicured garden. The characteristic rocky coasts intertwined by small coves, and beaches of fine golden sand are typical of this region.

Drawing prominence to the coast of Liguria are the Gulf of Poets, the Gulf of Tigullio, Genoa and Paradise Gulf, the Riviera delle Palme and the Riviera dei Fiori! Catching one’s attention further is the beauty of the land and seascapes, and its tourist resorts including Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, Sestri Levante with its enchanting Baia del Silenzio (Silent Bay), and Chiavari.

riviera ligureAdding to the list further is generous beaches, gorgeous ports, pleasing sceneries, vivacious centers in the night, entertainment and shopping! A yet another hot spot is the Ligurian Sea, which breeds the most prominent sperm whales, rorquals and dolphins!

The region is a true natural legacy by itself and tourists flock to it every year also because of its extensive woods which has century-old trees. A simple walk along its woods will make one wonder at the real beauty hidden under the blankets of the region; the exact place where man, with love and dedication has managed to reap in the best possible produces from this land.

Liguria experiences a mild, coastal climate which is suitable for producing olives, an essential ingredient of Ligurian cuisine. While the rest of the land is fertile and is planted with grapevines, vegetables of all kinds, flowers and many more!

Multi-versatile Cooking: Liguria’s Food

Simple natural flavors of the region’s produce are known, and loved, throughout Italy. Ligurian food is incomplete with no reference made to the famous Pesto! A tasty sauce that is made with fine picked basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, pecorino and extra virgin olive oil, this is generally used to flavor trenette (pasta or ravioli) with borage leaves.

Pasta is another favorite of the region! With the best hard wheat that came from Crimea, pasta was cut into different sizes and shapes, which has almost become the symbols of Ligurian cuisine, including some of the prominent pasta varieties which are trenette, troffie, pansotti, piagge and corzetti. To add a genuine taste to the pasta, Ligurians dried it in the sea breeze.

pestoLigurians are such great wine lovers, that the region brims with vineyards and olive groves. The region smells abundant with the production of brilliant extra-virgin olive oils and superior wines, which makes them incomparable with the other regions.
Some of the famous wine varieties includes of Ciliegiolo and Bianchetta from Genoa, Pigato from Salea d’Albenga, Ormeasco and Rossese from Dolceacqua, Vermentino, Alb.arola, and Pollera Nera from the Riviera di Levante. Fish and seafood are added to the list of favorites of this region in Italy!

When it comes to fish, the best technique was frying with vegetables and herbs, meat, flowers and focaccia. Some of the classic dishes include Ciuppin, which is a soup variety made from the leftover fish, Buridda and Cappon magro. However, vegetables were not fully neglected, though!

Local vegetables appear in many recipes, either as stuffed, baked, or marinated! Synonymous with Ligurian cuisine are stuffed tarts
and focaccia, both savory and sweet! Never to miss out are the local Fugassa, Farinata di ceci, and herb tarts. When it comes to sweet breads, it is Frisciolata, Castagnaccio, almond cake, Pandolce, and sweet ravioli from Genoa to eat with a glass of Sciacchetrà.

fugassaThe famous stuffed pie Torta Pasqualina, an Easter pie, is another specialty which is a thin pastry stuffed with greens, cheese and eggs. Some of the unusual dessert varieties of the region are pandolce Genovese, cubeli (tiny butter cookies) and amaretti.
One can never miss out Fugassa, a soft and thick focaccia which comes covered with onion slices and extra virgin olive oil, or the thin Farinata.

A baked savory pancake, this is made with chickpea flour and is a favorite of many. Riviera Ligure DOP. A gentle mix of the aromas
of forests and pine trees goes well with the Riviera Ligure DOP to give a unique flavor to the olives. Pesto alla Genovese: is made with the freshest basil from the Ligurian coast, this is real Genoa-style pesto.