Hot and Steaming chickpea Farinata
Hot and steaming, "a fainà" is one of the gastronomic symbols of Liguria. A poor dish by tradition, chickpea farinata can be defined as the regional "fast food": quick to prepare (cooking in wood-fired ovens takes about seven minutes), it allows an almost complete meal at a low price. This historic food was invented centuries ago in the shops of the old city centre of Genoa. It is curious that, at the beginning of the 20th century, almost all cake and chickpea farinata shops in the capital were run by families from the Alta Val di Nure, located behind Santo Stefano D'Aveto.
The 'sciamadde' way
The 'sciamadde', a term derived from 'flame', are the small shops with ovens that characterise the historical centre of Genoa. This is where you find the artfully cooked chickpea farinata: thin, fragrant with extra virgin olive oil, greasy just right, soft underneath but with a golden crust on the surface, baked in large, low sided copper pots. You can start in Sottoripa (a stone's throw from the Aquarium) and walk to the first stop at the Antica Sciamadda in Via San Giorgio.
Not to be missed is Sa Pesta. Set your sights on Via dei Giustiniani and in a few minutes you'll be there: Sa Pesta is a historic establishment whose name means 'pounded salt' and evokes the process of refining the precious ingredient. Here, alongside chickpea farinata, you can enjoy typical Ligurian savoury pies, fritters and other delicacies.
Towards the East
On foot or by AMT bus, you can reach the Torte e Farinate bakery in Santa Zita, at 35 Via Zita and a stone's throw from Brignole station. Perhaps one of the most rustic, where the traditional chickpea farinata is complemented by a delicacy that they make particularly well here: panissa, which is also prepared with chickpea flour, but fried.