Abruzzo owns my heart, it’s true. But a few years ago while on vacation, and then while researching Preserving Italy, I fell in love with another region: Liguria. This rocky arc of land that fans out from the Mediterranean Sea on Italy’s northwest coast, is dazzling in its beauty ~ saturated with color, full of angles and flourishes.
The biggest jewel in Liguria’s gem-studded crown is, of course, Genoa ~ a vibrant port city that, like Naples, is built into the hillsides that rise up from the sea. It’s a city of grand palaces and of urban grit, with a centro storico of narrow alleys (carruggi) fit for the setting of a thriller, where you will also find some of the best street food in Italy.
Liguria is home to the famed Italian Riviera, ritzy Portofino, and the five color-splashed fishing villages collectively known as Cinque Terre. It is the region of pesto Genovese (and other nut sauces), cheese-stuffed focaccia, savory tortes filled with vegetables, anchovies and salt cod, buttery olive oil, and the delicious spoonable cheese known as prescinseua.
I have fallen so hard for this glorious place that I’ve teamed up with my friends at Beautiful Liguria to create a custom culinary tour here. Next May I’ll be leading a small group on a week-long itinerary that will include visits to all the aforementioned places. We’ll spend time in the city and in the countryside. We’ll meet food artisans and wine producers and learn how to make authentic Ligurian food. Among the highlights:
- We’ll have a private lesson on making traditional pesto with a mortar and pestle;
- dinner at Il Genovese, owned by Genoa’s pesto “ambassador” himself, Roberto Panizza (you can read my essay about him on p. 169 of Preserving Italy)
- A tour of Genoa’s historic center and a street food “crawl”;
- A visit to a chinotto farm to learn about this rare bitter citrus used to produce one of Italy’s favorite drinks;
- A tour of the painted palaces of Santa Margherita Ligure, and posh Portofino;
- A tour and tasting at one of Liguria’s UNESCO-proteched terraced vineyards;
- A private focaccia cooking class!
The tour dates are May 21 – 28, 2018. I am working on creating a landing page for this tour with more details, so please stay tuned. In the mean time, feel free to email me if you would like more information.
MORE GOOD NEWS: Our September 2017 Abruzzo tour is sold out, but we are already making plans for 2018, including adding a possible spring tour! I will be updating that page in early fall with specific dates and more information.
EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS: I am planning a Preserving Italy workshop with entertaining maven and style expert Annette Joseph of Annette Joseph Style to take place at her farmhouse in Tuscany in August 2018. We’ll be meeting in Italy next month to work out details, so stay tuned for more on this as well.
AND FINALLY: We still have a few spots open for our Food Writing Workshop in Chinon, France, this December. Join cookbook author, blogger, and boutique hotelier Jamie Schler and me for a four-day retreat devoted to sharpening your food writing skills.
If you have family and friends who you think might enjoy one of these adventures, please let them know they are welcomed to get in touch with me.
In the mean time, enjoy these last fleeting days of summer, amici.