A Gastronomic Tour of Liguria!

My Papa’ is a Chef.  Before he ever considered becoming a Chef in the USA, cooking was always a part of my family’s history and home.   Papa’ is the traditionalist, Mamma the creative, I guess I consider myself “the global” mixing traditional, original flavors with worldly twists.  I know this is a natural progression in many families among generations.

If you believe, like me, that cooking and eating are the exact combination of gusto and piacere, and that both of these experiences are an alchemist combination of/for our senses, then you agree that food provides us with a transcendental experience on Earth.   Today, unlike in the past, a woman or man who know how to  cook are considered sexy – adding the dimension of sensuality to the experience.  Cooking is romanticized unlike ever before.

No travel is complete or fulfilling for me without the exploration and taste of a culture’s unique dishes – in these, I find centuries-old secrets and studies, a mix of wisdom, creativity, refinement of pleasure.   Though I was not born in Liguria, I thoroughly enjoyed discovering and learning about its superb cuisine – this is the beauty of Italy – no region provides the same exact ingredients, dishes, flavors, scents and recipes.   Particularly, I enjoyed dinners at two restaurants in Portovenere, in the Cinque Terre:  La Medusa and Ristorante Miramare.

At “La Medusa” I tasted trofie al pesto diving into the exquisite and one of a kind pesto ligure.   The basilico of this region is flavorful, kissed by the Mediterranean sea salt and its minerals, its leaves are the smaller kind, a vibrant green.   My second course was comprised a fresh grigliata di pesce locale {local grilled seafood}.  To wrap sweetly, I was offered a torta ai frutti di bosco – where freshly picked raspberries and blueberries softly covered a light, fluffy crema Bianca.    The atmosphere here was simple and serene – touched by coastal accents and fishing nets.  The owner, Manuela, and her staff were so friendly – we stroke a few conversations about food and lifestyle in their idyllic hamlet.  Please visit them on your visit to Portovenere, you will not be disappointed.   Scroll down for a description of a few more favorite dishes below….

Ristorante "La Medusa" in Portovenere  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}
Ristorante “La Medusa” in Portovenere {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}
Trofie al pesto  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}
Trofie al pesto {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}
Grigliata di pesce {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}
Grigliata di pesce {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}
Torta ai frutti di bosco  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}
Torta ai frutti di bosco {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Ristorante Miramare instead is located on the very Bay of Portovenere, overlooking the water.  Weather permitting, you should sit outside to not only enjoy the moonlight and the sea breeze…but because both of these will heighten your culinary experience.  Here I savored frittura mista so typical of the Cinque Terre, whose scent was following me everywhere on my journey in this corner of Italy.  The dish will be very filling, so I accompanied it with grilled vegetables and ended with a fresh dolce di pera e ricotta fresca.  Another pleasant and memorable Ligurian gastronomic experience I highly recommend.

Frittura Mista  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}
Frittura Mista {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}
Tortino di pere e ricotta {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}
Tortino di pere e ricotta {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

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