Where is Liguria?
Right up at the top of Italy along the coast as the Mediterranean curves left along the Ligurian Sea you'll find the Liguria region and its best food and wine. It's an arch of land above the Ligurian Sea made up of of four different provinces: Imperia, Savona, Genoa, La Spezia. Along the coast you will find delicious seafood and as you leave the seaside heading inland towards the mountains you can experience some incredible and quite unusual meat dishes.
What is Liguria best known for?
You might think you know nothing about the Liguria region but actually you probably do: Christopher Columbus is from Liguria, classic Genovese pesto is from the Ligurian capital city of Genoa and if you've ever been to, or thought about visiting the breathtaking Cinque Terre, Liguria is exactly where it's located. The Ligurian coastline also happens to be one of the best surfing areas in Italy for all you surf buffs.
Liguria hosts the annual San Remo music festival. San Remo is a popular tourist destination on the Italian Riviera. Just north of the region is the headquarters of the Slow Food movement, in Bra Piedmont.
And above all the Liguria region is known for the best food and wine immaginable. Today in the Flavor of Italy Podcast Episode 26 James Martin from wandering italy.com and I talked all about the “Flavors of the Liguria Region - Best Food and Wine".
Here’s what you need to know about the Flavors of Liguria - the Best Food and Wine
It's served with a few different kinds of pasta, but most frequently with trofie, a flour and water based pasta.
These cheese and wild greens filled triangular ravioli are delicious. If you don't have access to wild greens use spinach to make this recipe.
Liguria is also known for its croxetti pasta (also known as corsetti): round discs with stamped designs that show up best once tossed in sauce.
The classic Ligurian sauce for croxetti is a delicate pine nut and fresh marjoram sauce. It's light and positively delicious.
Although croxetti are now almost always industrially made there are still a few people in Liguria who hand-carve these beautiful stamps. Perhaps the best known in the region, Pietro Picetti, sadly passed away just recently on July 20th at the ripe age of 82.
This pasta is easy to make and beautiful once served.
You can purchase your own corsetti stamp here.
As much of the Liguria region lies along the coastline above the Ligurian Sea you'll find a wealth of delicious seafood dishes: fried anchovies, polipo with potatoes, cappon magro, anchovies delicately cooked just from the acidity of fresh lemon juice or vinegar.
If you leave the coast line of the Liguria region and head up inland towards the mountains there are a number of interesting and unique meat dishes.
Here the ragù sauce is known as tuccu. While most ragù sauces are made with ground meat this sauce is made with a whole cut of beef.
Stecchi fritti is a classic, although somewhat hard to come by these days, Ligurian dish prepared with offal, more specifically with the brains and pancreas. This dish is usually served with sun dried red pepper threads that are so thin and wispy they almost look like saffron threads.
Another offal dish you might want to try is crocchini. Here the offal is wrapped in ostie, or thin wafers. It's then soaked in milk, breaded and deep-fried. Try them at the Ristorante Amici in Varese Liguria.
Vegetables in Liguria
Albenga is famous for its spiny artichokes, quite similar to those that you would find in Sardinia. No surprise here because the Liguria region lies just above Sardinia. The French island, Corsica, lies in between Liguria and Sardinia but back in the days when transportation and communication was primarily by sea it was a natural outcome that cultural habits and foods you would find in Sardinia were also brought to the Liguria region. Albenga is also known for its purple asparagus.
Liguria has over 100 different unique varietals within this tiny region. Liguria is best known for its Vermentino, a dry white wine. The region also produces a red Vermentino.
Another wine to try in Liguria is Pigato DOC. It's a lovely straw-colored dry white wine.
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