Genoa food ambassador for British Airways, yes!

Hello there!

I can finally share with you my last “movie adventure” where I talked about Genoa food and how how to eat your way through Genoa like a local. I’m so exited!

All commenced last June, when Culture Trip contacted me to shoot a video in partnership with British Airways on Genoa with Rob Eades.  After pressing exchanges of emails to plan all the details we filmed in early September and now the video is finally online!

I’m so happy, it’s beautiful, I can’t wait the end of the post to disclose it: you can see it below, right now! 

Did you like it? My mom, my dad and I were little moved the first time we saw it  …

Are you asking yourself who / what is Culture Trip? I’ll tell you: it’s a globally famous start-up that creates beautiful stories (with articles, videos, photos, illustrations) about places. The goal is to encourage people to travel and discover the world. British Airways contacted last year Culture Trip to make a series of promotional videos of the cities directly connected to London Gatwick. The project name is “Trails of the Unexpected” . Between these cities there is Genoa and its surroundings and Culture Trip decided to focus on the must-eat food in Genoa to talk about it. And they asked me – just me! – to act as a spokesperson! You can’t imagine the honor.

So, for the fourth time in my life (fourth ?!) I was in front of the cameras talking about Genoa food specialties! I must admit, slowly I’m feeling at ease (i.e: the corners of my mouth eventually have stopped blowing down when I try to smile).

But I was also in very good company this time! The protagonist of the video, in fact, is the British food blogger, chef and TV star Rob Eades, aka the Lean Student Chef. A nice guy, handsome and above all a real foodie and cooking lover. On the video, he visits Genoa and its surroundings for a weekend and I am his “Genoa food guide” and regional cook instructor for one day.

This adventure began a Tuesday morning at 8:00 am in front of Mercato Orientale (our indoor market and first stop of our tour) with an embarrassing striptease! The cameraman had to put the microphone on me before filming and that morning I choose a dress 50s-style tied up to the neck. So, to hook the microphone box on my back I had to undress and stay in bra in front of the cameramen (unknown) and the two owners of the tobacco shop where I hid myself (unknown they too). It was such a shame, but after that everything that morning seemed a slam dunk!

Getting to know Rob, few minutes later, was much more pleasant. We met in front of the main entrance of Mercato Orientale, the camera directing filming our natural smiles. Few greetings and then we entered the market for a food tour and for some food shopping.

We wandered around between colorful and abundant fruit and vegetables counters, cheese and charcutery vendors, shining fishmongers and butchers, smelling bakeries and white fresh pasta shop. Outside the sky was bright blue –that blue showing up only in September – and the sun rays were enlightening the market through the mat roof windows.

Genoa market food tour with Asmallkitcheningenoa

Whilst walking around I showed Rob some of the most famous Genoese food specialities (including Santa Margherita red prawns, “trumpet” zucchini, “beaf heart” tomatoes, sailor’s gallette, taggiasca olives, Brigasca sheep cheese and Sardinia pecorino) and at the earliest opportunity I told him food stories connected to Genoa and the Italian Riviera.

We tasted all food the vendors nicely offered us and we bought all the freshest ingredients to make Genoese pesto: small tender basil leaves grown on the hill of Pra, a clove of garlic from Vessalico, some pulpy pine nuts from Pisa, a big piece of matured Parmesan cheese and a smaller one of Sardinia pecorino cheese.

Then, with heavy shoppers and spinning heads we leaved the market and walked towards the historic center.

We arrived in Via Garibaldi, I took them inside the courtyard of Palazzo Lomellino (it was out of their program, but I insisted) and then we “went down” from Macelli di Soziglia to taste a bit of Genoese caruggi (the narrow alleys of our historic center) and a slice of freshly baked focaccia

Then, talking about focaccia, we continued on via degli Orefici, Piazza Banchi and Sotto Ripa destination Antica Sciamadda San Giorgio where Alberto, the owner, was waiting for showing us how to prepare farinata (the Genoese chickpea tart) in the wood oven. I regret that this part of the shooting has been cut, I believe that farinata is a true must-eat street food in Genoa that deserved to be included.

From the narrow alleys we then passed to my house, as it was time for Rob to complete his food experience cooking in Genoa like a local!

We emptied the shopping bags, rolled up our sleeves, put “A Small Kitchen in Genoa” aprons on and got busy. I taught Rob how to prepare Genoa traditional fresh pasta “mandilli de sea” (meaning in Genoese dialect silk napkins) from scratch. Rob confessed that it was the first time he kneaded fresh pasta!

Then I guided him in preparing Genoese basil pesto as a local home cook: marble mortar, pestle, fresh ingredients and some real elbow grease!

Rob had so much fun beating and smashing, with green drops of pesto flying everywhere, that he invited me back to London to learn how to make real English fish and chips!

Genoa cooking with Asmallkitcheningenoa
Genoa cooking with Asmallkitcheningenoa

We closed our long gastronomic morning eating on my terrace the result of our efforts: a steamy plate of fresh pasta seasoned with bright green velvety Genoese pesto, Alberto’s just baked farinata and my mum’s “condigiun” (the traditional Genoa tomato salad). 

What to say: it was tiring, it was educational, it was very useful and, most of all, it was so much fun!

If you see the video, then let me know what you think! And if you like, share it with your friends. Not so much for me (well, maybe even for me too), but because it is a nice video guide on how to eat your way through Genoa and discover other beauties in the surroundings!

Ciao! I’m Enrica

a home cook, food researcher and experience curator born and bred in Liguria.
I study, tell, cook, share and teach Ligurian cuisine and the culture surrounding it.
Here we celebrate Liguria’s gastronomic diversity and richness through its recipes, producers, traditions and shops.

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