home > article > Food and Eating in Genoa: Once Again
- by Laura, November 23, 2009
I just returned from Genoa for an ever-so brief week there. My soul and belly were filled by pesto and my heart verklempt at the sight of “Little Village” aka Camogli with its trompe l’oeil painted facades, black stone beach, and looming Portofino Mountain. The last time I’d been there was with my boys (oh so grown now) when I was researching my memoir The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken, questing about for a lost family recipe and trying to get my story straight.
This visit, was for a different mission. (More on that later.) But in the meantime, here’s a glimpse:
Camogli first. Local fishermen (of the Camogli Fishing Cooperative) still go out with little boats and use traditional netting methods.
Salted anchovies are popular in Liguria. You see the fresh silvery ones in bins at the market and on the plate, as here at a place called La Rotunda (also in Camogli).
At La Rotunda, I also sampled a tiny little local fish called rossetti,, smaller than your fingernail, and this excellent octopus salad with potato. (Oh why oh why do I have to drive half an hour to find good octopus?)
Next stop: Da o Vittorio, a very old trattoria in Recco--my great grandparents’ town. Here is the famous Recco style focaccia. It comes out on the huge round platter. I caught this photo just as the last two slices were cut and plated. Recco style focaccia is basically two thin slices of dough baked with hot melting crescenza or strachino cheese between.
See any red sauce yet?
If Genoese food were to have a single color, it would green, green from all the vegetables and herbs. Here are fritters that were perfect--made from an herb-specked leavened dough, deep fried, not greasy in the least, and salted.
So much Genoese cuisine: gathered greens, mushrooms and chestnuts.... comes from the hills and mountains. Here is the view from Enrichetta’s house an hour north of Genoa. (You loyal readers may remember her from Lost Ravioli. She is the mother of my friend Sergio Rossi.. Enrichetta is eighty years old and a former professional cook.
Gnocchi fly off her magic hands in a whir. She made a large batch in twenty minutes.
After a lunch, Enrichetta brought out some rose petal liqueur that she’d made last summer. I almost fainted. Does anyone in the USA makes rose petal liqueur? If so I want to know about it.
Vegetable pies called torte (torta for one) are very popular in Liguria. These--photographed in the seaside town Chiavari--look a lot like the kind my family has always made. “Bietole” means chard.
One of my favorite meals ever: a bowl of Genoese style minestrone at Trattoria Arvigo in a town about 40 minutes north of Genoa in a town called Cremeno.
And of course the thing the Genoese are most famous for: pesto. I wore earrings to match.