Sanremo’s red shrimp is the jewel of Ligurian fishing! Considered by many chefs to be the best in the world, it is fished in the waters in front of the city of flowers. In a bright red colour and with a delicate, tasty flesh, it is often eaten freshly seared and enjoyed at its best.
We can resist everything but the sardenaira. This delicious yeast dough seasoned with tomatoes, olives, anchovies and a few cloves of garlic is one of the great protagonists of Sanremo cuisine. The ancient recipe required only the use of sardines (from which it takes its name), that have a stronger taste than anchovies. Since 2012, the sardenaira has been awarded the De.co denomination. You can find it in every bar and bakery in town. If you want to give it the best gift, accompany it with a ‘gotto de vin giancu’ (glass of white wine) or a fresh spumetta.
A typical dish from the Ponentine tradition, Brandacujun is a symphony of flavours and aromas. Its origins are ancient and are said to date back to the sailors’ habit of taking stockfish and potatoes, poor and easy to cook ingredients, out to sea. The legend of its name is more original and controversial: branda derives from the Provençal word “brandare”, shake, an indispensable step to mix the ingredients. As for “cujun”, it is said that this operation was generally carried out by the most, shall we say, “foolish” person in the family.
Vegetables are often the stars of Ligurian cuisine. One of the most famous and delicious examples is the courgette pie. Loved by young and old alike, it encloses between two sheets of flour, water and exclusively local oil, a delicious filling of trumpet courgettes, often found on the table during summer in the Ponente region. Indeed, as often happens with traditional specialities, each family has its own recipe.
Delicious and tasty, the baci di Sanremo are sweet little temptations. Created during the belle époque as a local response to the baci di dama, they look like a pair of hazelnut and cocoa biscuits joined by a chocolate cream and boiled heavy-cream. You can find them in all the city’s pastry shops and cafés.
Cappon magro is undoubtedly one of the most sumptuous and spectacular dishes of the Ligurian tradition. It is an ancient recipe based on fish (hence “magro”, “lean”), shellfish, and vegetables dressed with a tasty green sauce. At the base of the majestic tower, the gallette del marinaio (sailor’s biscuits), the traditional hard scones (they can only be eaten after they have been soaked) that sailors used to take out to sea as they can be kept for several months. The cappon magro was originally considered a poor recipe eaten by the fishermen, directly on the boats, or by the servants who ate the leftovers from the banquets of the nobility. On the contrary, from the XIX century onwards, shellfish were added and the dish has been embellished with increasingly daring and laborious “mise in place”.
Ligurian cuisine is often characterised by simple but precious ingredients, considered as a gift from nature. One of the recipes we are most fond of is farinata, a delicious unleavened “focaccia” made from chickpea flour, extra virgin olive oil and water. Its origins are ancient and, according to legend, date back to 1284 when the Republic of Genoa defeated Pisa in the Battle of Meloria. On the way back, a storm took the Genoese fleet by surprise and several barrels of oil and chickpea flour spilled into the water. Due to the scarcity of the remaining provisions, the sailors tried to salvage the barrels: the mixture of chickpeas and oil was left to dry in the sun in the hope of saving some of the food. The result was a rudimentary porridge. The recipe was obviously perfected over time until it became one of the most iconic preparations. Please note: the farinata should be eaten strictly fresh from the oven and with a pinch of pepper if desired.
Panissa is a typical Ligurian recipe made from chickpea flour and water. The ingredients might remind you of farinata, but unlike it, no olive oil is used and the dough is fried in small “chunks”.
Ligurians are a people raised on sea and focaccia! When we talk about food, the first recipe that comes to mind is undoubtedly “a fügassa”! The iconic protagonist of snacks from dawn to dusk, it is omnipresent in every local restaurant and bakery.
In recent years, local wines have gained great national and international prestige. The size of the area does not allow for large-scale production, but Imperia’s products have distinguished themselves for their very high quality. We can mention wines such as the noble Rossese di Dolceacqua, Pigato, Ormeasco di Pornassio and Vermentino.
The extra virgin olive oil is one of the most important and well-known products of the Ligurian Riviera. Of very high quality, it can be considered the symbol of the strong and strong-willed nature of our ancestors, who managed with great effort, despite the small size of the territory and its harshness, to create a production sector which is admired throughout the world. The olives (exclusively Taggiasca) are hand-picked and cold-pressed within 24 hours of harvesting to guarantee the genuineness of the product.
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