Little train, salami and fantasy – The little train of Casella: between the valleys of Genoa

A historic and still functioning railway connecting the centre of Genoa to its hinterland: this is the historic Casella train, a narrow-gauge convoy that leaves from the heart of the city and passes through Sant’Olcese.

It is here that it is worth organising an excursion out of town, an outing into the hills in search of unknown corners of the hinterland.

The idea is appetising, especially when combined with the rediscovery of unique and ancient flavours.

Starting with Sant’Olcese salami which, in the right season, should be enjoyed with the bright green of the sweetest inland broad beans (known as “basanne”, for those who love tradition) and the white of fresh Sardinian pecorino cheese. Or it can be enjoyed slice by slice as a natural accompaniment to a good chopping board full of different types of cheese and cured meats. What characterises this product more than any other factor is its mixed composition of pork and beef, which, combined with the genuineness of the natural elements, makes this salami unique. But the real secret lies in the fire and the drying process: wood burning in the drying phase in order to preserve the light smoky taste. Parodi and Cabella are the two producers in Sant’Olcese and are both proud of their salami.

The salami production method has obviously changed with technological progress, though leaving its characteristics and flavour unchanged. The oldest practice that has been preserved in the production process is that of hand tying.

Then we cannot forget, among the natural flavourings, garlic and Polcevera white wine, which are other well-known local products. And if you are interested in the history of the railway, its historic rolling stock and the valleys it passes through, we recommend a stop at the Crocetta D’Orero station, where the Museo Diffuso 24km della Ferrovia Genova Casella (Genoa-Casella Railway Museum) has been set up since 2021-2022.

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