Italy is well known for its diverse regional cuisine, and Liguria has several culinary claims to fame. Here are some local specialties—known for the simple flavors of Liguria’s incredibly fresh produce and seafood—to enjoy while dining in Genoa.
Flatbreads are a traditional delicacy across the Mediterranean coast, and Genovese ovens turn them out in spades. Focaccia is a delicious bread dressed simply with olive oil and salt, sometimes enhanced with added ingredients such as pine nuts and fresh herbs. Farinata is similar but is made with wheat-free chickpea flour, so it’s more like an unleavened pancake.
On the seafood front, the Ligurian coast is brimming with anchovies—especially in Cinque Terre—but you’ll find them on Genovese menus as well. You may also see orata and branzino—white fish, usually served whole.
If you’re a carnivore who’s up for a dining challenge, then cima alla genovese might be the dish for you. It’s a traditional Ligurian meal of veal breast stuffed with vegetables, cheese, eggs, and cow innards. For something a little more universally approachable, look for corzetti—round, freshly made discs of pasta that are stamped with a wooden tool to give each one an embossed design.
Basil grows fantastically well along the Ligurian coast, so no surprise that pesto is one of Liguria’s most famous culinary exports. Traditionally served on fresh pasta, you’ll find the sauce dished up all along the coastline, especially in the warm summer months.
- Take a hands-on cooking class in the old mariners’ neighborhood of Boccadasse, and learn how to make traditional pesto.
- Sample traditional sweet treats at the Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano candy shop in Genoa.
- Join a food-themed tour of Genoa and follow your guide through the historic streets, sampling the diverse flavors for which the city is famous all along the way.
- Sign up for a wine pairing course and learn how to match Italian vintages with traditional Genovese dishes.