In search of the perfect Pasqualina

Pasqualina savoury pie is one of the most famous traditional Ligurian dishes, the queen of Easter Monday and out-of-town trips.

Today I will take you to the alleys of old Genoa, where the streets have names reminiscent of songs and the sky is a blue cutout you see when you raise your head.

The alleyways are mysterious streets that can be disorientating for tourists, but if you have the patience and curiosity to walk along them, you will discover ancient workshops where time seems to stand still.

When you arrive in Genoa and ask to “eat something typical”, they will almost certainly point you to Sa’ Pesta. It is located on Via Dei Giustiniani, behind the Porto Antico. It is a popular place with Genoese people, and at lunchtime there is a merry hustle and bustle that will have you sharing your marble table and getting to know other people.

It is definitely one of the best ways to get to know Genoese cuisine in depth. From the window you can already recognise her, the Pasqualina savoury pie, perfectly home made with chard filling and prescinseua cheese. On your way back to Caricamento you will have to pass by Via San Giorgio to discover another wonderful place for the eyes and the palate.

The Antica Sciamadda is one of Genoa’s oldest establishments whose origins date back to the early 19th century. Sciamadda, literally “flame”, is the name given to the old street fryers, very simple places where you can still enjoy iconic dishes such as stuffed anchovies, chickpea farinata, potato and green bean polpettone and the ever-present vegetable pies. As soon as you enter, you will be greeted by the warmth of the oven where all the baked delicacies, including vegetable pies, are carefully cooked every day. The current owner, Mrs Maura, is keen to emphasise the use of top quality ingredients of Ligurian origin such as extra virgin olive oil or flour from the Pegli mill. Even the kiln wood is C.D.O., made from the beech of Santo Stefano d’Aveto.

The next stop on our itinerary is the Sciamadda in Ravecca Street. The restaurant is simple and fully reflects a sciamadda: tiled white with a marble counter where cuculli, panissa and various vegetable pies, including our Pasqualina, are displayed. The restaurant smells of bygone eras. In fact, the original workshop dates back to 1814, while the current shape of the premises dates back to 1920.

A stroll under the arcades of Sottoripa is a must. From this area, once frequented by the sailors of the ships that stored goods here, you will arrive at the Antica Friggitoria Carega, where the large wood-fired oven and marble counter are the real stars. Look around and you will see walls studded with white tiles, with large steel pots and metal skimmers hanging from them. Here, between a cod fritter and a cartoccio di pigneu, the little frying fish freshly floured and thrown into boiling oil, you can also enjoy a nice slice of Pasqualina pie.

What about you? Do you have any favourite place you would recommend to a tourist to taste the real Pasqualina pie?