Liguria is a north-western Italian region overlooking the sea. Its coast, known as Ligurian Riviera, is one of the most panoramic roads in the world. Enclosed between the sea and mountains, the region offers inimitable specialties, in which the marine flavours blend with those of the land, creating a contrast which is hard to find elsewhere. Let us discover the tastes and scents of this magnificent area.
When talking of Ligurian specialties, it is a must to start with His Majesty the pesto, the world-famous symbol of this region. It is a Genovese basil-based sauce to pair with pasta and other foods. The official recipe includes 7 ingredients, not one more, not one less: PDO Genovese basil, PDO Riviera Ligure extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Pecorino Fiore Sardo cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and salt.
There is another local specialty that is strictly linked to the preparation of pesto: PDO Riviera Ligure extra virgin olive oil. As a result of the region’s olive growing tradition, the product boasts 6 cultivars and 3 geographical indications: Riviera dei Fiori, Riviera del Ponente Savonese, and Riviera del Levante. With its fruit fragrance and aftertaste of pine nut and artichoke, it is a true world-class excellence.
Riviera Ligure extra virgin olive oil is the basis of numerous local recipes: above all, the legendary focaccia, a typical oven-cooked flatbread. It comes in many different forms: when filled with Recco cheese, it boasts the PGI mark of excellence; when sweet, it is known as “stroscia di Pietrabruna”, a true delight!
Liguria stands out for many other Slow Food presidia too, which it is constantly seeking to protect through designations of origin. There are 15 in total: Sciacchetrà delle Cinque Terre wine; Vallebona orange blossom water; Badalucco, Conio, and Pigna beans; Brigasca sheep; Perinaldo artichoke; Vessalico garlic; purple asparagus of Albenga; Calizzano and Murialdo chestnuts; chinotto (a myrtle-leaved orange based soft drink) of Savona; local fishery of Noli; Valleggia apricots; rose syrup; cabannina cattle breed of the Aveto Valley; Val di Vara black rooster; tonnarella small-scale tuna fishing of Camogli.
The heroic Ligurian vine-growing tradition, with its vines planted on uneven patches by means of ingenious and steep terraces overlooking the sea, produces wines worthy of notice: the Sciacchetrà delle Cinque Terre, made with Bosco and Albarola grapes, even in its straw wine version; Vermentino di Ponente; Rossese di Dolceacqua; Pornassio; Val Polcevera; and the wines of the Colli di Luni and Golfo del Tigullio areas.