The cuisine on the Riviera dei Fiori favours light but tasty dishes, where flavours are enhanced with extra virgin oil from Taggiasca olives, and the scents of basil, thyme, lemon balm and marjoram.
Taste and flavour
Local, sought-after ingredients include Vessalico garlic, the dark striped beefsteak tomato from the Seborga area, Albenga purple asparagus and bitter-tasting wild asparagus to pair with crustaceans such as lobsters and langoustine.
Among the many delicious specialties are aubergine and olives preserved in oil, Recco focaccia with creamy stracchino cheese, chickpea flour crepes, salt cod fritters, lettuce heart fritters, Taggia cookies, pumpkin and artichoke tart, Montalto potato bake, Panissa (a chickpea puree), stuffed vegetables (lettuce, courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes, courgette flowers, potatoes), exquisite stewed mushrooms and Condiglione, a salad made in Sanremo and Ventimiglia with tomatoes, red onions, Taggiasca olives, anchovies and fresh basil.
Memorable pasta dishes include trofie or trenette with pesto, ravioli stuffed with stockfish or ceps, Genoa-style or filled with borage, cheese and spinach or wild nettles. Also worthy of note is Genoa-style minestrone soup, pansotti with walnut sauce, green tagliatelle with borage and a Genoa-style fish soup called Buiabesa. Among the main courses are Genoa or marinara-style stockfish, salt cod in aioli, cappon magro (an elaborate dish of various fish and vegetables) stewed tripe, Ligurian-style rabbit, snails with lemon balm and fresh tomato and herb stuffed turkey. Sweet treats range from “stroscia”, a sweet pastry, to michette (a sort of brioche), fried sweet milk, stuffed peaches, lavender cakes and semifreddos and mimosa cake.
Excellent wines are produced with the grapes that grow on the Riviera dei Fiori – reds include Ormeasco (produced in the Imperia area) and Rossese (from the Dolceacqua, Perinaldo and San Biagio areas), while among the whites are Pigato di Albenga and Vermentino.