Liguria, Cinque Terre, & Genoa Food Travel
In the northwest corner of Italy along the rocky coastline sits Liguria, known by many as the Italian Riviera. It’s a hot tourist spot. Extending south from the border with France onto the Italian peninsula to its border with Tuscany, the city of Genoa is at its center and the scenic Cinque Terre in the south.
A short distance from Cinque Terre is the posh village of Portofino which at one time was exclusive to artists and celebrities.
The geographic position of Liguria makes for interesting and unexpected foods. With mountains to the north and the Mediterranean to the south, Liguria enjoys a temperate climate unlike other areas of northern Italy.
Olive oil and basil feature prominently in Ligurian cuisine, which together make pesto, one of Liguria’s most famous foods. Pesto alla Genovese is often served with a short twisted pasta called Trofie, and in Genoa with Trenette, a flat pasta similar to linguine. Olio di Oliva della Riviera Ligure is the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) olive oil of the region.
Since its entire southern border is on the sea, seafood is a staple of Liguria. Fresh sardines, anchovies, squid, and tuna can be found on menus and at walk-ups everywhere along the coast. Meat is also enjoyed throughout the region, especially rabbit and veal. Porcini mushroom season is highly anticipated and added to many meat and pasta dishes.
You can’t go anywhere in Liguria without trying their famous focaccia. Patisseries will tempt you not just with fresh breads but also with their sweets especially during holidays. At Christmas, try the Pandolce Genovese (Genoa cake) made with candied fruits, raisins and nuts. In the spring there’s Easter Pie or Torta Pasqualina. This has many variations throughout the region but will always have ricotta and Swiss chard as the main ingredients.
Both red and white DOC wines are produced in Liguria, but try the Sciacchetrà white wine made in the Cinque Terre, and unique to Liguria.