During Expo 2015 in Milan, we reserved a space for Slow Food Italy in Liguria, whose excellent and unique products smell of sea, tradition and family. Since the products protected by Slow Food Italy are 13, we divided this article into three sections: vegetables, fruits and animal products.
GARLIC OF VESSALICO
In the hinterland of Albenga, especially in the less inhabited hamlets like Vessalico, a special garlic with a strong and spicy aroma, but a soft flavour, has been grown for a long time. The garlic bulbs are not cut, but packaged in long arabesque braids. The cultivation is totally organic and manual, which guarantees a unique taste. This garlic is the main ingredient of “ajè”, an original mayonnaise made of extra virgin olive oil and garlic crushed in a mortar, which is delicious on boiled potatoes and on toasted bread.
VIOLET ASPARAGUS OF ALBENGA
Everyone tries that, but nobody makes it: California, USA, Australia, New Zeland made an attempt to copy this violet asparagus, but without any tangible result. It is a unique variety in the world, which discerns from the others for the very big shoots and the intense violet colour, gradually shaded on the bottom. The reason why it is so unique and pure has been found in its genetic heritage: in fact, the asparagus can’t interbreed with other varieties because it has 40 chromosomes, instead of 20. The vegetable has found its perfect habitat in the alluvial soils of plain of Albenga, thanks to the microclimate and to the sandy ground. However, its culture is almost completely abandoned, which is why Slow Food Italy protects and promotes it.
ARTICHOKE OF PERINALDO
It corresponds to the French “violet” variety, cultivated in Provence: it is said that this artichoke was brought in Italy by Napoleone Bonaparte who, during the war campaign in Italy, realized that in the borough of Perinaldo people did not know that and, so, he gave them some seedlings as gift. Since that time, the inhabitants of Perinaldo preserve jealously the artichoke, which is without thorns and tender inside. It is cultivated just in the area of Perinaldo: it resists both to high and low temperatures, and it is yummy in extra virgin olive oil of taggiasca olives.
BEANS OF BADALUCCO, CONIO AND PIGNA
On the terracings of the hinterland of Imperia, the natural selection generated three great kinds of beans, respectively cultivated in three different small towns: Badalucco, Conio and Pigna. Old people know that the best areas for the culture are the highest zones, where a spring of calcareous water, rich in minerals, flows. They have in common the fleshiness, the tenderness, and the delicacy, but they are different in shape, colour and size.
The best recipe to cook these beans consists in boiling and tasting them with extra virgin olive oil. The tactile sensation must be of uniformity, as if there wasn’t the peel!
Nowadays, their production is very low and on the market there are more and more their “fakes”: for this reason, since some years, the beans have been packaging in special jute bags with the printed logo of Slow Food Italy.
Don’t miss the next appointment with the sweets fruits of Liguria!