LIGURIAN RECIPES AND WINES
Liguria is one of the smallest Italian regions, dominated by the Maritime Alps and the Ligurian Appanines. The narrow, picturesque coastal fringe is divided in two parts: the eastern and the western Rivieras. Most of the population is concetratred with-in this coastal area. Because of the shelter from the winter winds offered by the mountains, Liguria in particularly, favoured in the growing of vegetables, flowers (particularly on the western Riviera), olives and wine grapes; its mild climate and beautiful landscape attract lots of tourist, both Italian and foreign. The types of tourists that spend their holidays on the two Rivieras are slightly different: families and retired people in the West, wealthy people in the East, where there are seaside resorts, such as Portofino and Le Cinque Terre ,that are well known throughout Europe. Genoa ,a city with a rich historical past, is the capital of the region and is famous as one Italy's major ports, and for its aquarium, an amazing place where tourists can enjoy an exciting experience as if at the bottom of the sea. It is a unique chance to watch seals, dolphins, penguins and sharks, but also to discover a great variety of curious and unusual sea creatures in their natural habitat.
Ligurian people have an age-old inclination to be self-sufficient; they are often said to be mean, but we must consider that, in ancient times, the Ligurians were isolated for months when the weather made sea travel difficult, so they developed the art of getting by with what they had. This was probably the origin of pesto , the traditional dressing for pasta, made of basil, garlic, olive oil, pecorino cheese and nuts or pine nuts all crushed together in a mortar. But it is fish that takes a leading role in Ligurian cuisine. It is cooked in all kinds of sauces and is prepared in a variety of ways, for example the buridda, a quick casserole with tomatoes and vegetables, as seafood salads or fish soups like the ciuppin which is a kind of bisque similar to bouillabaisse.
Ligurian cuisine has an essential ingredient: olive oil. The two coasts, western and eastern, are ideal terrain for olive tree as they enjoy a mild climate and a lot of sunshine. Ligurian oil is so clear and light because it is made immediately after the harvest. An important adjunct to Ligurian cuisine is the wine: excellent in this part of Italy as a climate is so favourable. Ligurian wines light and fresh, but watch out! They are stronger than you think.