Italy, Genoa Guide (B): Genoa 2018: Ligurian Food and Where to Eat
When in a new city you haven’t been to before, the most obvious place to get a feel for the cuisine is to go to the local market. Genoa has a truly fabulous covered market, Mercato Orientale, just off via XX Settembre. It has the most wonderful produce; everything looked perfect and of the highest quality.
There were mixes to make risotto with local flavourings; fabulous cheeses; fresh meat and fish; bakeries; beautiful fruit and vegetables including purple asparagus, baby artichokes and courgette flowers.
You can buy fresh ingredients to cook at home or in a holiday apartment, but there are a also lots of little bars where you can buy food to eat there – especially slices of focaccia to go with coffee.
Genoa has a rich food history and is the home of focaccia and pesto. Although you will find both elsewhere in Italy, there is really something special about eating them in Liguria.
One of the things that make both so special is Ligurian olive oil. Ligurian oils are amongst Italy’s most prized and expensive. This is partly because production is small due to the olives being grown on steep hillside terraces and it’s considered that the higher the olive grove, the more delicate the oil will be. Only three areas are DOP certified – those around Genoa, La Spezia and Imperia. They must contain at least 90% Taggiasca olives and the other 10% must come from the same area. You see the sweet-tasting little Taggisasca olives everywhere and they were often given to me with a drink and used in cooking. Ligurian olive oil is much more delicate than its fruity Tuscan cousin. Even the ‘extra virgin’ is quite pale in comparison to the sometimes dark green of neighbouring Tuscany. It’s this delicacy that makes the pesto of the region so special; the oil doesn’t overpower the basil. ...... (follow the instructions below for accessing the rest of this article).
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