Slices of Genoa...
Slice is a good word to describe Genoa. The city is one long sliver of dense construction harking back to way before the Romans traipsed the peninsula hugging the rocky shores of the Ligurian Sea and the tumbling foothills of the Apennine Mountains. The best slices of the city though are ones you can eat: two tasty concoctions… focaccia and farinata alla genovese… and both cooked to a crusty golden-brown perfection in wood-burning ovens!
Focaccia was born in Genoa. A simple recipe of flour and water. After the 2nd rising, a light coating of extra-vergine olive oil, salt & water is brushed on, the dough is kneaded with the baker’s knuckles in its flat pan and popped into the oven. Nothing more Ligurian in the cooking department. The Genoese will tell you it’s The Best in Italy because of the city’s sweet water and fresh sea air. Traditionally, a focaccia is eaten at breakfast time, right out of the oven, and is often enjoyed with a small glass of white wine, preferably a Vino Bianco del Coronata… a once vineyard covered hill above the city… or, a Cortese di Gavi… the Ligurian wine-making area behind the city… or, a corner of focaccia is ceremoniously dunked in the frothy milk of a cappuccino.
There are focaccerie at every angle of the city, particularly in the centro-storico, near trains stations for commuting workers & students or, in the city’s populated residential quarters.
One famous store, nearly cult to the Genoese, and right close to the Brignole train station is the Panificio – Focacceria Mario at via San Vincenzo, 61r. Stop by and with two slices you and a friend can have breakfast in the shaded park in front of the train station. Open from 5.50 until 19.40. Closed on Sundays.
Farinata is another edible slice of Genoa and a legendary one too. As it goes…the Genoese defeated the Pisans in the Battle of Meloria. Returning home, the Genoese galleys manned by Pisan prisoners were caught in a raging storm. The rough seas broke the fleet’s cargo of ceramic containers of olive oil and burst the sacks of chick-peas. These mixed with the salty sea water. Later, and with nothing to eat but the improvised mixture, bowls of the puree were given to the prisoners to eat. Many refused and left theirs in the sun which cooked the gruel. The next day, the same who refused to eat the puree discovered it was quite good. Once returned to home port, the Genoese prepared a similar mixture to celebrate their victory against the Pisans. And, like focaccia, la farinata can be found all over Genoa.
La farinata should be slightly crusty on top, light in the middle and not burnt underneath. It is a meal onto itself.
One typical trattoria in the centro-storico noted for its farinata is Sa’ Pesta on via dei Giustiniani, 16r. Open for pranzo Monday to Saturday and dinners ONLY Thursday to Saturday. And tell that man in the photo that the American sent you!
Sight-seeing can be an exhausting adventure. Passing a focacceria is an easy excuse to stop, take a break, replenish one’s bio-system to push on to see more of this fascinating city like no other city in Italy. And nothing is better than the simple pleasure of its slices… alla genovese! Let us show you the Italy we know best. For more information, please contact us at… firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Italian Concierge would like to thank the following for their contributions to this post: www.articlesweb.org; www.buttalapasta.it; www.dearmissfletcher.wordpress.com; Wikipedia and Google Search for photos and information used in this post. We do appreciate it!