Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Umberto Curti's speech on the Pernambucco orange

during the 2011 edition of the

Salone dell'Agroalimentare Ligure in Finalborgo (SV)

The caruggi of the historical centre of Genoa offer travellers the amazing sight of the window shops of expert confiseurs, the contemporary masters of the arts of confectionery and candying that were developed by the Superba in a bygone past through its contacts with the Arab world. The glowing colours of candied citrus fruits stand out, and oranges present the explorer with the soul of the region and a special focus on the western coast from Finale Ligure to Sanremo.
Up to end of the 18th century Liguria was in fact one of the best growers of oranges, lemon, etc., their scents and hues enchanting visitors and architects regardless of the reason of their journeys. During the 19th century orange farming in the Riviera gradually gave way to more profitable flower growing, and today orange trees dot the coastal gardens of noble and important palazzi.
One of the characters of this citrus-perfumed history is the arancia Pernambucco (Washington navel orange variety), a remarkable example of the excellence of local produce on the savonese coast. Blond, easily digestible and fragrant, it travelled to and fro Asia, the Mediterranean and the New World -its Italian name clearly refers to the Brazilian State of Pernambuco (Recife) – and reached Liguria, too. From the orangeries of the Riviera the adventure went on throughout Europe, the precious citrus fruits fostering the export of the Republic of Genoa to the North of the continent. Oranges played the lead role in marmalades, sorbets, perfumes and medicines, and in the 18th century also began to be lusciously candied.
Nowadays the area of the Finale (SV) is working at the valorization of this set of know hows and skills that cover the whole process from cultivation to marketing via manufacturing. The arancia Pernambucco, also thanks to the commitment of AIE (Italian Ethnogastronomers’ Association), is again the protagonist of marmalades, liqueurs, mostarde and in the next future of chocolates and perfumes, not to forget tours and edutainment events. Make sure to be in Genoa on Saturday 3rd December (h 15.30) and hop to the Munizionere area of Palazzo Ducale for the "Le arance Pernambucco" seminar, organized on occasion of the “Pane al Pane” festival dedicated to Mediterranean food and sustainability.
A fil rouge – or better still, deep orange! – fit to explore the terroir, its traditions ands its ethnogastronomy. Unique connoisseur experiences designed by Ligucibario in an array of tasting conferences, dedicated itineraries and seminars with farmers and artisans.

Luisa Puppo

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