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Liguria Fall 2012 - final stop Genoa

jen kalb | May 25, 201310:21 PM

I should have put up a report of this final leg months ago but we actually did relatively little restaurant eating in Genoa - arriving as we did on a Sunday evening after a big, long lunch at La Brinca, we subsisted on bread, wine and cheese we had brought along from Chiavari,for the first night. Pickings are fairly slim on Sunday and Monday anyway there. Taking the funicular down from our Corso Magenta area apartment to Via Garibaldi,we strolled past the palaces there and then plunged down into the fascinating old town with its mix of architectural styles from several centuries, quiet narrow streets with a few strolling prostitutes, the bustling popular food shopping district around Via Due Macelli di Soziglia which I said something about on another thread and the incredibly diverse and fairly seedy scene on the waterfront .
After wandering through churches and interesting streets all morning we stopped at tiny Ombre Rosse for lunch - a cramped two level operation with good prints on the walls and an attractive seating area in the park across the street.
Id characterize the cuisine as traditional with eclectic touches - my two dishes were a mixed plate of torte - 4 or 5 variations of pastry with a topping, including herb and cheese, peppers and eggplant and cheese - these were some of the better renditions we had in liguria, and a dish of mackerel with curried couscous, also quite good. We drank another Bisson red, the Cileigiolo this time and it was tasty too.

Tired that evening, we stopped at friendly Il Focolare (at the top of the funicular) for a takeout order of focaccia in the style or fecco - with soft white cheese - stracchino or crescehza - they also offer other pizza, as well as farinata (not tried)

Our second lunch was at Da Raibetta, close to the harbor. There we had pansoti filled with preboggion (a soft slightly sour white cheese) with walnut sauce, testaroli with almond sauce, sardines alla verde and totani - the white pignato wine was a good companion. I thought the food here was at an acceptable good level - not exciting - or maybe it was the dishes we chose - I was not thrilled by either of the nut sauces. After marching around the harbor area then visiting some palaces in the afternoon, we stumbled home to bread, cheese fruit and a delilcious torta zena pastry from Klaingutl on Via Soziglia.

Our third and final day, we continued our exploration of the Old City, returning for an extended visit to the duomo, and Palazzo Spinolo, then walked over to the Mercato Orientale, unfortunately very close to its closing time Its a very evocative and lively market, highly recommended. It was in this market that I purchased a kilo of uva fragole, an exotic variety which we then discovered to be concord! We then went out onto via Galata to find lunch, and hopefully the EVO store mentioned by David Downie. We found both, and the helpful manager of the EVO helped us choose some nice oils from farther up the coast to carry home and to our friends in London. We had hoped to find some new harvest oils from the Lavagna area but unfortunately (we knew this from seeing then nets being put down) the harvest was not that far along at the time of our visit,

We then had our last major meal of the trip at Il Genovese. Having had my appetite whetted in the market, we ordered two fresh mushroom dishes, a salad of fresh porcini with goat cheese, then I I had trofie con ovoli for my first course. Both of these were wonderful - something I had been waiting the whole trip to enjoy. We also enjoyed testaroli con pesto, a ligurian style trippa with potatoes and olives, and jim ordered polpettone with fried potatoes. It was a tasty traditional meal and we enjoyed the bustling, friendly atmosphere, highly recommended.

There were lots of places I wanted to try but we couldnt fit in, especially those featuring the land cuisine and more upscale sea creatures, but we just ran out of time and appetite. I highly recommend David Downie's guide which offers a pretty accurate and full description of the points of culinary interest in this area. Genoa has a lot to offer to the cultural and culinary traveller and I hope to return some day.

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