It’s All About the PESTO and Travel Planning

March 20, 2018

All along the Ligurian Coast, all week long, we have been discussing, tasting, making and buying PESTO.

Let me share a bit of history of Pesto from Giallozafferano. You can check them out on Facebook.

Speaking of pesto comes to mind immediately Liguria: it is in this beautiful region in fact that, with careful care, this sauce is born and is even said to be aphrodisiac. Pesto is a cold sauce, synonymous and symbolic of Genoa and the whole of Liguria, which for some decades has been one of the most known and widespread sauces in the world. The first traces of pesto are found in the 800s and since then the recipe has always been identical, at least in the preparation. To make the real Genoese pesto you need a marble mortar and a wooden pestle and ... a lot of patience. Like any traditional recipe, each family has its own recipe for Genoese pesto, the one we suggest in this recipe is that of the Genoese pesto Consortium.

Clean basil with a soft cloth, Do NOT WASH and only use Genovese, thin leave basil that grows everywhere in Liguria.

You will need a marble mortar and wood pestle.

Placed peeled garlic inside the mortar along with coarse salt. Crush the garlic in the salt with the pestle until it becomes creamy.

Then add the basil leaves and another pinch of coarse salt. Crush the basil against the sides of the mortar with the pestle, turning it left to right while also turning the pestle. Keep working it until bright green liquid emerges.

Next, add the pinoli, pine nuts, and pound until they and the basil mixture are again like cream.

Add grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese a bit at a time until it is creamy and tasty.

Add a bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, constantly stirring and pounding, until you have the smooth, green gold of Pesto.

Use as your sauce on pasta and more.

Here is what I made last night, Pesto with Gluten Free Fettuccini. I like to add a few pinoli on top of my dish.

And more Parmigiano Reggiano on top.

There were contests held in Genoa, Recco, Chiavari, Nervi and more towns along the Mediterranean Sea. Below is a photo from Recco.

Everyone was lined up, creating their own Pesto masterpiece. Judges chose winners while participants cheered them on. Unseasonably cold and damp weather did not stop the locals from enjoying the spectacles all over Liguria.

Even though I am a mid to southern Italian by birth, Pesto has become a huge part of my life here in Chiavari. I love it on pasta and on fish. I think it would make a fantastic vegetable dip. I am sure there are more ways to eat Pesto than I can even imagine. In Genoa’s festival, they had Pesto Gelato. I am not quite sure about that. Would you try it?

As I travel by train from town to town, I enjoy the views of the sea.

Then it is back to my desk for completing my own travel plans for April.

A few weeks ago, I shared my methods for beginning the travel planning process in my blogpost, Travel Planning in New Territory.

Here are my points.

  1. Research what is available to see and do in France—internet, books, word of mouth, people I trust.

This took hours of research and chats.

  1. I need to set a budget for myself and I prefer to do that by the day.

I chose a sum of 200 Euros/day for hotel, transportation, entry fees, food and purchases. This is nearly impossible in Paris. Luckily, the 3 nights outside Paris will be less costly.

  1. How will I get to Paris? How will I travel within France after my family members leave?

I chose a night train to Paris. I had wanted that experience. And I checked out busses and train travel for other places. I chose the train all the way through France.

  1. What do I want to experience in France in the time that I have set for myself to travel?

Originally, I had lofty goals of staying 2 weeks in France and doing nearly all that I wanted to do. After reassessing my finances and other obligations this Spring, I changed my wants and needs. I will spend 4 nights in Paris, 1 in Chartre and 2 in Amboise in the heart of the Loire Valley.

  1. What is logistically possible to do in the time allotted?

After exploring public transportation options, I realized that it would be more challenging to visit the West Coast, Mont San Michel, Normandy, Carnac and more. I would have spent more time on trains than exploring. When I realized these locales would be cut out of my plan, I reminded myself what I tell others and myself in this type of situation: If I can’t visit here this time, it simply means I must return.  And in this case, next time I am going to rent a car.

  1. What is important to me, the traveler?

I hope to experience Paris and elsewhere at a slow pace, studying architecture, art, food, wine and people. I believe less to do really is MORE in the long run.

  1. How much can I walk and climb in my current physical shape?

After breaking my foot in July and falling a couple weeks ago, I realized that this might not be the best time to be visiting Mont San Michel and climbing to the top. I am capable of walking miles but prefer it to be flatter right now. Next time.

  1. How do I take all this information and create a workable plan for myself, and for my clients seeking their adventure in Italy?

Typically, I create a word document or a spreadsheet with all the information, which days you are where, what each item costs, train and hotel Confirmation numbers and more. Here is an example of mine for France.

It feels good to have most of the decisions mapped out and collected into one place. I am so looking forward to my France adventure.

Let me know how I can assist you in planning your adventure in Italy. I definitely know more about my second country of Italy. We can plan your adventure to fit your needs as mine does me.

Contact me via email at: Until then. Bonsoir, Buona sera. Au Revoir, Arrivederci. Farewell!

Ciao for now!

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