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You can’t visit Liguria without trying its most iconic dishes, which speak of the land, its traditions and its past.
Some Ligurian specialties are world-famous, while others are pleasant little discoveries that will make your visit to the region even more memorable.
Here are the 10 typical dishes of Liguria that you must try when visiting the region:
Our look at the 10 typical dishes of Liguria can only begin with Genoese Focaccia, one of the symbols of Ligurian cuisine. With its light golden hue, crunchy edges and soft center, it is an absolute must-try when passing through Liguria and if you want to be like a real local, try it for break-fast together with a cappuccino or coffee.
And once you return home you can carry on enjoying the flavors of Liguria: in addition to classic focaccia, in fact, you can also try a very tasty alternative in the form of our Crispy Focaccia Biscuits.
Food lovers can try their hand at making focaccia at home: just check out our recipe for Ligurian focaccia.
Though it goes by the same name, focaccia di Recco is very different from its Genoese cousin in both texture and shape. Thin and crispy, it is also of course stuffed with melted cheese. No more than 1 inch high, its dough is unleavened and it is baked in the oven at a temperature of between 520°F and 570°F.
Flavorful and lightly golden on the surface, Focaccia di Recco is one of the jewels in the crown of Ligurian cuisine. You won’t be able to resist!
The recipe for chickpea farinata features just three ingredients: chickpea flour, water and good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Cooked in typical copper pans, farinata has earned its place among the top 10 delicacies of Liguria not only for its flavor but also because it is a very nutritious food.
An interesting anecdote regarding the birth of chickpea farinata: legend has it that after the Battle of Meloria in 1284 between the Maritime Republic of Genoa and the Republic of Pisa, as it was returning home the Genoese fleet was battered by a storm that soaked the stocks of oil and legumes it was carrying, turning them into mush. In an attempt to salvage what they could, the sailors laid them out to dry in the sun and a very tasty and nutritious food, precursor to the farinata we know and love today, was born.
Also made from chickpea flour, another typical Ligurian dish is panissa: a street food snack typical of the Ligurian fried food shops of yesteryear.
It is a kind of polenta made from chickpea flour and water and then fried. The result is as simple as it is delicious.
Delicious either cold or still warm, panissa is suitable for everyone, also vegetarians as it is meat-free.
Another iconic dish of the Ligurian tradition is trofie pasta with Genoese pesto sauce. It is thought that this specific type of pasta comes from Sori in the province of Genoa. We recommend pairing it with our Pesto Sauce made with P.D.O. basil, Carli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, pine nuts, garlic, pecorino and parmesan cheese.
In addition to the original recipe, an even richer version including green beans and potatoes has also become increasingly popular. Whatever the variant, trofie with pesto is one of Liguria’s most beloved first courses.
A classic Ligurian main, this dish is typical of the Ponente Ligure area. The delicate flavor of rabbit is paired with our Taggiasca Olives, pine nuts and Carli Rossese di Dolceacqua D.O.C. for a complete main course typical of the region.
This type of pasta is typical of the Genoa area: with its typical medallion shape, it is made using a traditional wooden mold, which is used to first cut the pasta then create decorations on both sides. Traditionally, one of the sides would be imprinted with the family crest which was hand carved inside the wooden mold.
Corzetti can be seasoned with our Walnut Sauce or an herb pesto.
Pansoti is another typical Ligurian stuffed pasta, similar in shape to ravioli, which is filled with wild greens such as borage, nettles, pimpinella and chard. The filling used to change slightly depending on what greens could be found. Pansoti is usually topped with a walnut sauce, and ricotta cheese and herbs are added to the greens of the filling.
These sweets, typical of the Rapallo area and also called cubeletti, are closed shortcrust pastries filled with quince jam. The name, Gobeletto, means “little hat” in dialect, a reference to the typical shape of the pastries with their scalloped-edged base and smooth lid. They are then sprinkled with icing sugar.
Baci di Alassio are crumbly hazelnut and chocolate pastries filled with a chocolate ganache. They are vaguely reminiscent of the Piedmontese Baci di Dama and were created by Rinaldo Balzola, pastry chef of the House of Savoy.
Ligurian cooking is a treasure trove of incredible culinary specialties that encapsulate the richness of a land famous for its array of excellent raw materials which can be used to create bold and unforgettable flavors without the need for any frills.