Focaccia col formaggio: the monument of Recco

Brief history of "the most addictive food on the planet": Focaccia di Recco col formaggio IGP

Focaccia di Recco col formaggio IGP - Photo by Qualivita
Exegi monumentum aere perennius ("I have erected a monument more lasting than bronze") wrote Horace hoping for immortality. The coastal town of Recco – (set in the Paradise Gulf of the Ligurian Riviera di Levante) and its surroundings could borrow the Poet’s verses to celebrate focaccia col formaggio, the monument of a “ville toujours plus gastronomique” – and “the most addictive food on the planet”, as stated by American gourmet guru Fred Plotkin. Needless to say, it represents one of the flagships of Ligurian cuisine.

The origins of focaccia col formaggio

The origins of this mouth-watering preparation probably date back to the night of times, when inhabitants fled the coast due to the threat of pirate invasions and reached the hills and valleys of the entroterra: sheep’s milk cheese and slate slabs did the rest. Interesting to know, in the 13th century focaccia flatbread made with durum wheat semolina and prescinsêua was offered to the Crusaders leaving to the Holy Land during a Pentecost Te Deum in the Abbey of San Fruttuoso

The secrets of focaccia col formaggio

I love to call it “Recco” – to underline the importance of the toponym.  
And I love to watch Recco chefs artfully twirling the dough with their tights fists to stretch it in two elastic, veil-like layers which are to treasure cheese, special fresh and tangy crescenza – for once, prescinsêua (in English the closest term could be sour milk clabber), a must in Ligurian savoury pies, is a no–no. Wood ovens complete the masterpiece. Wine matching calls for white, try Vermentino from the DOC Tigullio e Portofino (temperature 10-11°C), a sapid memory of the Ligurian sea.

Recco, a destination for foodies

Recco (Ricina then Rechum) was the ancient access to the sea of an important valley, probably known by Greek merchants. Conquered by the Romans, it became a castrum along the via Aemilia Scauri, which ran between Pisa and Genoa.
Each year the centre proudly feasts traditions on two occasions: the last Sunday of May - dedicated to focaccia col formaggio - and September 8th, when a fireworks festival (competition among Recco’s districts is fierce) celebrates Our Lady of Suffrage, the town’s Patron.
More than focaccia: in Recco gourmet travellers rejoice other delights, such as pasta (trofiette, pansoti…), fish, mussels preparations… the surrounding hills provide grapes, vegetables and fruits.

Look for the "Focaccia di Recco col formaggio IGP" label

Focaccia di Recco col formaggio IGP

The production area of Focaccia di Recco col formaggio IGP (i.e. PGI, Protected Geographical Indication, a status certified by the EU) includes the municipalities of Recco, Sori, Camogli and Avegno (check the website of the Consorzio Focaccia di Recco col formaggio for the list of member restaurants and bakeries): enjoy it as an antipasto, as a first dish or as a single dish (especially if you have seconds…). As Oscar Wilde used to state, we “can resist anything except temptation” can’t we ?

Recco, you have erected a monument more lasting than bronze (and unleavened!), indeed…

Elaboration of my English abstract of the article by Umberto Curti as published on Liguria Food in March 2018
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