What to taste
Ligurian cooking is characterised by sea products but also by rural and garden ones. It is a poor cooking if we think about the small quantity of meat and cheese; it is green and light for the high amount of aromatic herbs and vegetables, but it is enriched by a very good oil with a delicate taste.
Among local products there are the spiky artichokes, cuore di bue tomatoes and trombette courgettes that colour the farmers markets. Albenga purple asparaguses, Savona myrtle-leaved oranges, Calizzano and Murialdo naturally dried chestnuts and Noli Cicciarelli (fishes) have received the Slow Food Presidium quality seal.
Chickpeas are the protagonists of the well known farinata, fainâ in local dialect, a salad pie that is baked in a wood-burning oven into copper baking-pans. Typical of Savona town is the white variety, with wheat flour. Also “panissa” is made with chickpeas, it is very good fried, into a sandwich or cut in salad in cubes shape. At bakeries there is the universally known focaccia, that at mornings stimulates tasting it still hot while walking in the carruggi, narrow pedestrian streets.
Spring is the best season for tastings of “frisciôi” (pancakes) or farinata con bianchetti (chickpeas salad pie with whitebait).
There are also some typical sweets, as the well known amaretti (macaroons) of Sassello, the baci (chocolate cookies) of Alassio and less known ones as biscette (fried cookies in snake shape) and millesimini al rhum (rum flavoured chocolates made in Millesimo).
Everything is accompanied by local wines, especially white ones with a soft flavour that sometimes has a rather sharp part that is a memo of the impassable areas where centuries ago people realized the “fasce”, terraced fields, for the vineyards. Pigato, Rossese et Vermentino in the area of Albenga, Lumassina in the Finale area, Buzzetto et Granaccia in the Quiliano one, Nostralino.
The hinterland of Bormida valleys presents a cooking that has a lot in common with the nearby Piedmont. one. In mountains hamlets mushrooms are the protagonists, together with game and chestnuts; truffle is the main character in the area of Millesimo.