Eating and drinking
Tigullio gastronomy is mostly based on traditional Mediterranean cooking. Ligurian cuisine boasts a number of simple ingredients that seem somewhat meek when taken singly, but which, when combined, exalt each others qualities to create a final harmonious symphony of flavours. These are: mushrooms, pine nuts, walnuts and lots of herbs.
All recipes include Ligurian olive oil, delicately flavoured and ideal for creating delicious sauces. The most famous of these, both in Italy and abroad, is pesto, a sauce made of basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Salsa verde, with parsley and pine nuts, is an ideal accompaniment to meat, whereas pasta and ravioli revel in walnut sauce.
Focaccias and pies are typically Ligurian. These are eaten at mealtimes or as tasty snacks: whether its a plain oil focaccia, or with a scrumptious cheese filling, its hard to resist the fragrance and aroma of this speciality. Nor can you leave without trying a farinata, a special focaccia made of gram flour. Torta pasqualina is the most famous of Liguria's numerous pies, and is made of layers of puff pastry filled with chard, ricotta herbs and eggs. Or there is mushroom pie and thousands of other vegetable fillings!
A variety of pasta shapes can accompany the renowned pesto or a meat sauce: troffie, trenette, taglierini etc. Highly recommended are the numerous and varied types of ravioli. The most unusual are pansotti, ravioli with a vegetable and herb filling, delicious with walnut sauce. To conclude we mention a classic soup; mesciua made of boiled chickpeas, beans and spelt grains.
Typical Ligurian meat dishes include tomaselle, a beef roulade with a meat, egg and herb filling, or lamb stew with artichokes. Mushrooms play a leading role on the table in the inland, giving their special flavour to meat dishes and sometimes even associated with fish.
And fish is the star feature on the menu in Tigullian restaurants. A wealth of recipes is on offer: mixed fried fish, fish salad, mullet alla Genovese, sweet and sour stockfish with pine nuts and raisins. Mussels are to be found in all kinds of guises: alla marinara, meat-filled, with cheese, eggs, marjoram. And we must not forget the queen of the Ligurian seas: the anchovy, eaten fresh, excellent when filled, but also first-rate when pickled.
Wine: The Cinque Terre are one of the most spectacular winegrowing areas in the world, with vines lined up on terraces overhanging the sea. An excellent wine is obtained: Cinque Terre DOC, dry with a delicate fragrance, it is the ideal accompaniment to fish specialities. The prestigious Sciacchetrà is another great meditation wine with an intense aroma. There are many more wines to savour in Liguria, mostly whites, such as Pigato, Vermentino and Colli di Luni.
Photos courtesy of: APT Tigullio, APT Cinque Terre Golfo dei Poeti
Go to directories of the Web Sites