A Gourmet Journey across Eastern Liguria
When we think about our region, we immediately think about the sea, the beach sites and the small pastel coloured villages. However, there is something else we must not forget. Something that makes Camogli and the territory of Eastern Liguria a “tasteful” destination for everyone who wish to try excellent cuisine: our gastronomic heritage!
Many are the taste, the flavours and the scents that characterized Eastern Liguria and its cuisine. Typical products, traditional and delicious dishes tell about the history of our territory and the stories of the people living here, surprising the palate and the heart of those who taste them.
To celebrate this richness and variety, soon we will launch a section called “Parola allo Chef” (“Let’s hear the Chef!”) dedicated to the products and the Ligurian recipes. We will speak thoroughly about this at the end of this article. For the moment let’s lead you through a delectable journey inside this delicious world of flavours. The objective? Showing you all the culinary excellency of our land and most of all make you craving for them!
Our journey begins with the “green gold” of Liguria: basil. It is cultivated in many parts of the region and from ancient times is present on the Ligurian tables. In time, the Genoese basil become a product of high quality that was awarded with the D.O.P denomination. It is a certificate bestowed upon UE to food which quality are related mainly from the cultivation and production area. A legit proof of the lasting bond between basil and Liguria.
Prebuggiun (or Preboggion) is a mixture of wild herbs that are reaped and then boiled. The term comes from the Ligurian dialect that derives probably from the verb Preboggî (in Genoese) which means “to boil in advance”.
After boiling the mixture is flavoured with olive oil and lemon and it can be use as a side dish sauce or as filling for Pansoti, a special kind a filled dough.
catch of the day
In Liguria not only the land offers exceptional flavours. The sea as well gives us every day amazing fish quality products. In the several maritime villages, in the harbours and in the markets, you will always be able to find high quality catch of the day. To taste these dishes at their fullest we suggest to try them marinati. The “marinatura” (marinade) requires a delicate preparation that allows the fish to keep the freshness and to enhance its flavour.
Moreover, in Camogli the fishing method is truly special; we are talking about the Camogli’s Tonnarella, an ancient fishing system, where the net is knit by hand. It is a highly sustainable method that was rewarded with the title of heritage Slow Food.
Among the Ligurian catch a special notice must be given to anchovies. Fried, marinated in olive oil or filled up. Ligurian people love them and they prepare them in many different ways, one better than the other. You can easily find them as appetizer, proposed in different recipes. Our suggestion is to try them in every possible way. They will surely not disappoint you.
TROFIE AL PESTO
After tasting the best products of the Eastern Riviera, it is time to start with its traditional dishes. As we started speaking about basil, what better dish can enhance its flavour if not Trofie al Pesto, a recipe that is famous and envied all around the world. It is believed that this dish is hailed from the small city of Sori. Trofie is a particular elongated shape pasta and not many people know that it is also made of potatoes. In Genoese dialect in fact, the word” trofie” means “gnocchi” (typical South- Centre Italian pasta made of potatoes). About Pesto, for the moment we will not spoil you anything as we will go deep in details in the next article.
PANSOTTI IN NUT SAUCE
Still speaking of main courses, there is another type of pasta, still much loved by Ligurians and this is Pansotti. It is a little less famous than Trofie, but still incredibly tasty. It is a filled dough of large dimensions, completely vegetarian. If fact its filling is made of Prebuggiun, the mixture of wild herbs that we introduced earlier. You can have Pansotti simply flavoured with olive oil and cheese, but we strongly suggest you to have them with nut sauce: a paradise for the palate!
RAVIOLI AL TUCCU
For those who like to have meat, the Ligurian cuisine propose Ravioli al Tuccu (it is a tomato and meat sauce). Please do not call it simply Ragù! Both require a very long time of cooking, but the Ligurian Tuccu, is different from Bolognese ragù because we use particular cuts of beef meat (perfilo – the lower part of a cow’s neck; sottopaletta – the lower part of a cow’s shoulder; and also bone marrow).
MINESTRONE ALLA GENOVESE (vegetable soup)
Among the main courses do not to forget Minestrone alla Genovese. A dish from the poor and farming tradition, prepared with seasonal vegetables, beans, “scuccuzzù” taglierini (a type of fresh pasta) and of course Pesto sauce. A dish particularly appreciated in this period of the year.
Let’s move on the second courses. The first that we suggest is Cima Ligure. You won’t believe it but in order to make this dish you need to refine your cooking skills as well as your sewing ones! Cima is, in fact, is a piece of a calf’s belly filled with meat, eggs and vegetables, that needs to be sewed, so that the filling will not come out during the boiling.
In origin, this Ligurian dish made of fish and vegetables was part of what we now would call “poor dishes”, made by the lower classes during Easter period. On the contrary, today it is considered to be a fine, sophisticated and scenographic dish. The taste of fresh fish just caught that it offers is always the same – not to miss! So, spoil yourself and taste it!
CAMOGLIESI AL RHUM
As for dessert, let’s begin by speaking of a true delicacy that has been created here in our gorgeous Camogli. We are talking about Camogliesi al rhum, pastry similar to cream puffs, but filled in with chocolate cream flavoured with rum and covered with some more chocolate…. how could you possibly resist?
Let’s end our gastronomic tour of Eastern Liguria with a type of biscuit simple but delicious: Canestrelli. Crunchy and buttery flavoured these biscuits are typical of the inner lands of the Riviera, unique for their characteristic flower shape with a hole in the middle.
As you can see the panorama of the Ligurian cuisine is very rich. Every product and dish described, bring along a heritage of flavours, recipes and stories to transmit. These culinary heritages have always inspired our Chef Remo Gatto, so we decided to leave him the honour to speak for them. How? By creating a section in our blog dedicated to our excellency in terms of cuisine, called “Parola allo Chef”. Every month we will present a new dish or product together with a recipe. We will make you travel inside the tradition of these amazing flavours. In other words, we will let you try our Liguria in the way we love to live it and eat it!