By Culinary Enrichment Director & Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly

One of my favorite places to travel to in Italy is the Ligurian coast. Nestled between the Mediterranean coastline and the majestic Alps, Liguria is a darling of Italian culinary aficionados and its dishes celebrate both the mountains and the sea. Known as “the land of pesto,” Liguria is home to the fragrant “green gold” of the region, aromatic pesto. Genovese basil, creamy pine nuts and fresh garlic combine with fragrant olive oil to create this treasured staple of Liguria. Here are my favorite moments from our popular Culinary Discovery Tour available from Portofino: Chef Market Tour, Pesto, Pasta & Lunch.


A behind-the-scenes look at a local pasta maker preparing the day’s fresh pasta. In Rapallo we visit a pasta maker so you actually see the preparation of authentic Italian pasta first-hand – the shop owner explains each of the typical pastas.

Tastings of local balsamic vinegar and local olive oils. We always stop at one of my favorite gourmet shops, Parla Come Mangi, which is filled with cured meats, artisanal cheeses and freshly made pastas. This is the perfect opportunity to find a Ligurian extra virgin olive oil to take with you so you can make delicious Ligurian pesto at home.

Exploring the local market in Rapallo. Here we always discover seasonal favorites such as fragoline, tiny Italian strawberries, and picture-perfect little eggplants. I like to pick up vegetables like such as fava beans and artichokes to take back to The Culinary Center.


Lunch at Da Ö Vittoriö in Recco. The owner and his grandson always give us a warm welcome to their fifth-generation family restaurant. First, we get to enjoy a demo of the delicious local specialty, focaccia, as we enjoy fritters and sparkling wine. Then we finish the experience off with the perfect Ligurian lunch: focaccia, fresh pasta with pesto, along with Ligurian-style fresh fish.


Join us in Portofino on our Culinary Discovery Tour this spring and summer!


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