TRADITIONAL DISHES

Delicious Pietra: our cuisine

Masterpieces of simplicity

Delicious Pietra

The flavours and aromas of our cuisine are important to understand our land, with its traditions and people. Over the centuries our cuisine has been influenced by sea voyages, it has been transformed thanks to the relations with new lands and countries. This factor gave rise to the culture of food and wine in Liguria, together with the harshness of this land, that man had to model, changing the steep slopes into terraces, with a difficult soil, but well exposed to the sun. Moreover the thick uncontaminated woods offer game and wild products.

Top quality row materials

THE MAGNIFICENT 7 ON THE TABLE

Slow Food Presidium

CHICKPEA “FARINATA”

This dish dates back to the Roman period. White flour was once a luxury and was replaced by the “poorest” chickpea flour. This flour is the main ingredient of “farinata” (called “fainà” in dialect). Its special taste and consistency are due to the high quality of its few ingredients: chickpea flour, water, salt and extra-virgin olive oil. The combination of these ingredients, the traditional baking in a large copper pan called “testo” and the high heat of the wood-fired oven, make farinata golden brown and crispy around the edges.
It should be served well warm and, if you want, sprinkled with ground black pepper.
DID YOU KNOW
There is a range of different farinata by adding, according to personal taste and season, rosemary, artichokes, onions, floured whitebait (“bianchetti”).

AROMATIC HERBS

a treasure chest full of flavoured gems

A land overlooking the sea and protected by mountains is the ideal place where to find both wild and cultivated herbs, a scented treasure that has been enriching our traditional cuisine over centuries.
From the seventeenth century herbs began to be used in Ligurian cuisine. Oregano, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, parsley and all herbs mixed together called “preboggion” or “erbette”, as borage, stinging nettle, burnet, chard, and others known by their dialect names as talaegua, scixerbua, bell’ommo, dente de càn, dente de cuniggio. In different quantities and combinations and according to the season, they are the main ingredient for fillings and sauces, traditionally made in a mortar.
They are also used mixed with fresh cheese as “prescinseua” (typical goat clabber) or ricotta, and with Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, to create fillings for “ravioli” or “pansoti”, savoury pies or the typical “cima” (a stuffed veal pocket).

from the half oh the nineteenth century

BASIL AND HIS MAJESTY, THE PESTO

The most famous example of how an herb can be used for realizing a sauce is the well-known Pesto alla Genovese, made with DOP basil. This masterpiece of Ligurian cuisine did not exist in eighteenth century, but it only appeared in the second half of the nineteenth century. Since then it has had an incredible success and has become widely used. The name comes from the fact that this sauce is traditionally made in a mortar with a wood pestle (grounded, “pestato” in italian). In its first version the ingredients were pine kernels or walnuts grounded with the so-called “prescinseua” (typical clabber), basil and olive oil. The clabber, which is a bit too acid, was later replaced by ricotta or fresh pecorino; this recipe is still alive in the hinterland of the Tigullio Gulf, between Portofino and Zoagli. Thereafter walnuts were completely replaced by pine kernels, and ricotta by pecorino (thanks to relations with Sardinia), with or without Parmesan cheese.
Another important element was and is garlic: it can vary according to personal taste, but not to be missed for a real “Pesto”. The best basil is DOP basil from Genova Prà, the perfect garlic is that from Vessalico, one of the Italian Slow Food Presidia.

Taste Experience

Pietra Ligure Gourmet

Pietra Ligure Gourmet is the result of a selection made by experts in collaboration with the Slow Food Albenga Finale Alassio Conduct. The goal is to map agricultural products, to select good and fair producers and to hand down traditional recipes. To report products, producers and recipes, you can contact the Tourist Information Office.

RAVIOLI

appreciated from Nicolò Paganini

Ligurian Ravioli were already famous in ancient times. It is said that Ravioli were created in Gavi Ligure (in Piedmont), when the town belonged to the Republic of Genoa. The name is supposed to come from the chef who first prepared them … someone called “Ravioli” … a name which still exist nowadays in that area!
Ravioli were really appreciated by Nicolò Paganini: the recipe of ravioli with “tocco” (ground meat sauce), of which the famous composer was fond, was found among his memoirs. The recipe was written in year 1840 and it is kept today in the Library of Congress of Washington!

with our Ligurian olive oil

FOCACCIA

Products are always influenced by their geographical environment. In this case, both the saline sea air and the humid inland air are unfavorable conditions for natural leavening. That is why the famous “Focaccia” was born: it suits the characteristics of our land, and gives value to a typical product: extra-virgin olive oil. In the late fifteenth century olive oil was added to bread dough, to create “focaccia”, that today can be found in bakeries, and it tastes even better warm, just taken out of the oven!

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

a delicate and scented oil

According to tradition, the cultivation of olive tree was introduced in the ninth century by the Benedictine monks, who owned monasteries in the whole region. The olive variety which found suitable climate and soil, was the so called “taggiasca”, typical of the Riviera di Ponente. These olives are small and dark, the oil is delicate and scented, perfect with raw vegetables and fish.

skillfully worked to obtain genuine delights

CHINOTTO

In the surroundings of Pietra Ligure, thanks to the conscientious preservation and protection measures of a group of farmers, an old rare citrus species has been preserved. “Chinotto” (sour orange) is still cultivated nowadays and has become a “Slow Food Presidium”; the so called “Chinotto di Savona” has always been known for its unique quality, aroma and digestive properties.
The aim of this brand is to preserve a traditional production practice and the processing techniques: chinotto can not be eaten raw, because of its strong bitter taste. It must be skillfully worked in order to obtain genuine delights, as jam, fruits in syrup and liquor, used for flavouring desserts or ice cream. Recently sour orange has become part of contemporary culture, and is the ingredient of a fresh flavoured beer.

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