Recco. This is not an afternoon like any other. Today is ‘focaccia day’. The day in which Recco’s focaccia with cheese has obtained IGP status in Europe. In other words, like few tasty traditional products, it has a certification saying that ‘Focaccia di Recco’ can only be made in Recco and its surrounding areas (Camogli, Sori, Avegno and bordering towns).
Elsewhere it must be named differently.
This seems like a small thing but it’s an achievement and I’m here to see if it really is so tasty. I’ll give you the answer straight away: if you want to understand what this flatbread with crescenza cheese in the middle is, you need to come here. If not, be aware that elsewhere it’s just an imitation. Moreover there’s a reason why the specifications for ‘Focaccia di Recco col formaggio’ were approved and include a series of strict rules concerning preparation and geographical location. The city celebrates: underneath the porticoes of Via Assereto, by the sea, where I try the focaccia from Moltedo and Tossini and in the focaccia shop in Nicoloso square. Or in the city between the centre and the outskirts, from the ovens of Rosa as well as Tossini and Moltedo Bis.
If you are interested in understanding the difference between oven and restaurant focaccia you need to save a bit of space in the stomach to go to Da O Vittorio, Manuelina, Alfredo, Vitturin or the famous Baracchetta di Biagio. All in all, it’s the kingdom of focaccia. Not by chance, in the valley of Recco, a project called ‘Vie dei Mulini’ has been approved to create a gastronomic and educational focal point where IGP focaccia with cheese can be made. Whilst in Genoa and half of Italy they are still making ‘Focaccia col formaggio di Recco’ without knowing that soon it will be illegal, in the area of ‘Golfo Paradiso’ they are preparing something which will become a real business.
Everything about focaccia.
If you speak to true experts, like Lucio and Daniela Bernini, who know everything about focaccia, you will find out that to obtain its IGP status, detailed historical research was carried out to prove that ‘focaccia col formaggio’ is a traditional dish. And so the IGP district became larger, including the municipalities of Avegno, Sori and Camogli. On the historic front, the most revealing and appreciated reference for the ministry is a text witnessing that the product already existed at the time of the Third Crusade:
‘it was the rose Pentecost in 1189…the chapel of the Abbey of San Fruttuoso welcomed the Ligurian crusaders for a solemn Te Deum before the departure of the fleet for the Holy Land. On the white linen embroidered tablecloths the pewter and copper plates were a lovely sight, overflowing ceramic and earthenware tureens of every delicious thing: spelt and barley bread with honey in the dough, dry figs and grapes, soused fish, agliata (garlic sauce), olives and a focaccia made from semolina and fresh Giuncata cheese”… indeed, focaccia col formaggio!