Thursday, 17 February 2011

GOURMET WORDS FROM THE ITALIAN RIVIERA: FOCACCIA GENOVESE

a typical baking pan


Together with pesto, Genoese focaccia is the gourmet symbol of Liguria. Its renown is a long-standing one: the first mention of focaccia dates back to 1312, and its very name probably derives from Latin focus (hearth). In the late 16th century the forerunner of street food was banned from churches by bishop Matteo Gambaro, horrified at the sight of munching worshippers. This scenting flatbread also comes in variants: sage, onions, olives (skin or pulp) and the less orthodox rosemary, oregano, thyme and zucchini flowers. The art of focaccia making relies on three milestones: first quality extra virgin olive oil, dexterity (the surface is to show skilfull finger indentations) and… lots of time for the rising of the dough. So… have a slice of oven hot focaccia and do not forget to eat it…upside down, letting salt crystals pleasantly tick your tongue. Wine pairings: go local and have a glass of Vermentino, featuring in 4 regional DOCs: Riviera Ligure di Ponente, Val Polcevera, Golfo del Tigullio, Colli di Luni.

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