Liguria

The sun-kissed Italian Riviera is a beautiful coastal paradise, with a food scene that leans heavily on simple cooking and incredible ingredients. Read on to find out what it is that defines Ligurian cuisine, and check out our favourite recipes from the region.

Great Italian Chefs is a team of passionate food-lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest news, views and reviews from the gastronomic mecca that is Italy.

Great Italian Chefs is a team of food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest news, views and reviews from the gastronomic mecca that is Italy. From Veneto and Lombardy in the north to Calabria and Sicily in the south, we celebrate the very best of this glorious cuisine and try to bring you a little bit of la dolce vita wherever you are.

Great Italian Chefs is a team of passionate food-lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest news, views and reviews from the gastronomic mecca that is Italy.

Great Italian Chefs is a team of food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest news, views and reviews from the gastronomic mecca that is Italy. From Veneto and Lombardy in the north to Calabria and Sicily in the south, we celebrate the very best of this glorious cuisine and try to bring you a little bit of la dolce vita wherever you are.

Jagged mountains, rolling hills and the clear blue waters of the Ligurian Sea make Liguria one of northern Italy’s most beautiful and relaxing destinations. Life in Liguria is life at its most gentle; as you venture along the region’s long, stretching coastline, you’ll come across sleepy fishing villages and hamlets where locals value the finer things in life – good food, peace and quiet, and the gentle lapping of the tide against the seafront.

The Ligurian coast is famous, not just for the gentle pace of life, but also for some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Italy. In between the major cities of Genoa and Livorno, the Cinque Terre National Park is one of Italy’s most visited attractions; indeed, it was the very first of Italy’s national parks (it earned protected status in 1999) and the five towns situated along this dramatic coastline – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare – are iconic for their rugged beauty.

Further up the coast, the city of Genoa is a real culinary gem with a fascinating history as a medieval city-state, when it controlled a good portion of the Mediterranean. The Genovese love their food (and their pesto, of course), but they particularly adore a warm, crispy slice of focaccia Genovese – a slightly thinner version of the classic focaccia, eaten with a cappuccino in the morning and with a cold glass of wine in the evening.

Ligurians don’t just feast on focaccia alone, though. With all this glorious coastline, it’s no surprise that every town boasts a bounty of stunning seafood. Fish soups are a staple – the contents change as the seasons pass – and delicacies like stuffed sardines and the legendary Cappon magro – a majestic seafood salad made with crustaceans, eggs, olives, capers and vegetables – are all unmissable slices of Ligurian life. That’s not to mention the sumptuous pasta dishes and deeply historical treats like torta pasqualina – a celebratory pie baked every Easter.

Scroll down for our complete guide to Ligurian life, and get prepped before you head off for the Italian Riviera.

Liguria: a complete foodie guide

Liguria is jam-packed with incredible fresh produce, iconic dishes and stunning seafood from its abundant shoreline. Discover more about this very beautiful part of the country.

Green with envy

Without question, the food that is synonymous with Genoa and Liguria around the world is the famous pesto Genovese – a green sauce made with basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan. Genovese basil is a PDO-protected product these days, but you can still make a fantastic pesto Genovese in your own home – check out our recipes and join Luciana Squadrilli as she delves into the history behind this famous sauce.

Nuts for salsa

Another favourite sauce in Liguria is this smooth, nutty walnut sauce – commonly served with pasta.

Heavenly bread

Focaccia is eaten at any hour of the day in Genoa – from the early morning with a cappuccino to the late evening with a cold aperitivo before dinner. There are a few tricks to making your own focaccia, but once you know how, you'll be rolling them out like a true Genovese baker! Check out our guide for more, or dive straight into a few recipes.

Focaccia di Recco

Invented in the town of Recco by hungry townspeople, this cheesy crisp flatbread has become a favourite snack in Liguria.

Dreams of greens

The Ligurian diet leans heavily on fruit and vegetables – if you're looking for vegetarian inspiration, this veg-centric region is a great place to start. Aside from the aforementioned pesto Genovese, Ligurians make a fantastic summer pesto from fava beans, Parmesan, mint and lemon, and they love spinach too – as displayed in their famous Easter pie, torta pasqualina.

Farinata

Soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside – this chickpea pancake is a staple of Genovese cuisine. Get the recipe here.

Pasta perfection

Liguria doesn't have quite the same reputation for pasta as Emilia-Romagna, but it's home to some of the most unique and interesting dishes in Italy, including coin-shaped corzetti, triangular pansotti parcels and hand-rolled twists of trofie. Read more about the unique pastas of Liguria here, and get stuck into a couple of simple recipes whilst you're at it.

Condiglione: Italy's Niçoise salad

Liguria has much in common with Provence, including this delicious tuna salad full of bright, summery flavours. Find out how to make it here.

The chefs of Liguria

Andrea Sarri
Andrea Sarri
Andrea Sarri
Ristorante Sarri

With over thirteen varieties of fish and produce from his family farm on the menu, Andrea Sarri has made a name for himself as one of Italy’s most accomplished chefs. He was awarded a Michelin star just one year after his namesake restaurant opened, thanks to his light, playful style of cooking.

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