The knowledge of a place also passes by its culinary culture and for this reason today we want to take a trip among the gastronomic specialties of Levanto. The cuisine of Levanto, as well as that of Liguria in general, is a Mediterranean and poor cuisine, traditionally derived from a mixture of local production and imports from the contact and trade areas of the Ligurians.
The cornerstones of this culinary tradition are the wild herbs of territory, garden products and those from the woods, olive oil, focaccia, farinate, savory pies and dried and fresh pastas and, finally, fish and game. Let’s see together what are the dishes that you need to taste in Levanto.
What to eat in Levanto: the gattafin
The Gattafin are ravioli stuffed with wild herbs mixed with chard, eggs, parmesan, white onion, salt, pepper and marjoram that are eaten fried. Its basically made by preparing a dough to spread finely with flour, still white wine, extra virgin olive oil, salt and water, a spoonful of filling, folded and closes at the edges using a fork and then fried in the pan. When they have reach a nice golden color it’s time to remove them from the boiling oil, drain them on absorbent paper and then serve them.
In the Levanto kitchen you cannot miss fish, often as poor as anchovies (the queens of tradition, eaten with lemon, salted, stuffed, etc.), rondanini, spatula fish but also rich as sea bream, sea bass, bream, and amberjack, tuna, sword, etc. shellfish.
In general, we recommend mixed seafood starters, pasta and risotto with seafood, clam and mussel soups, grilled or salt-cooked second courses are never lacking. Even the stockfish, although not caught in the area, is a dish that is often found here in Levanto served stewed with potatoes.
In autumn the Levanto cuisine offers the mushrooms found in the surrounding hills, even in the hamlets of Levanto. There are porcini, eggs and other varieties to be cooked according to personal taste. A Ligurian recipe is ovoli mushrooms and pan-fried potatoes, to combine with a white wine, perhaps Colline di Levanto DOC.
A great classic of Ligurian cuisine and therefore also of Levanto is the boiled Ligurian rabbit which is then browned and accompanied with Taggiasca olives. The original recipe also includes the use of rosemary, onion, celery, thyme, bay leaves, walnuts, pine nuts, wine and oil, all possibly local.
A hearty, tasty and cheap dish of the Ligurian tradition is the panissa, prepared with the same ingredients as the chickpea farinata (chickpea flour, water and salt) but cut into strips of a higher thickness. It is a typical Ligurian street food that has earned the title of Typical Agri-food Product (P.A.T.). The panissa is different from the farinata also in the cooking: while the farinata is cooked in the oven, the panissa goes directly on the fire. It is a perfect food also for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs because it does not contain gluten.
Genoese pesto is part of the traditional Ligurian agri-food products recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture and its name is subject to the specifications of the Consortium of Genoese pesto. Even in Levanto, as in the rest of Liguria, pesto is a must and there is no corner without a shop or restaurant offering it. It has a simple preparation and well-defined ingredients, but a wrong step is enough to be unable to define it pesto doc anymore! The ingredients to be used are: Genoese basil DOP, extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pecorino cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt. For the preparation it is mandatory to use a marble mortar and a wooden pestle.
wines in levanto
The vine has been cultivated in Liguria for centuries, challenging a territory that apparently did not seem suitable for cultivation. Today the terraces cultivated with vineyards make the landscape unique and characteristic. The DOC wines of Levanto are: the Colline di Levanto rosso, the Colline di Levanto bianco and the Canuet.