Genoa will host the fifth Pesto World Championships on 29 March 2014.
The now world renowned pesto sauce was invented in Genoa in the late 19th century, making the Italian city an apt location for the Pesto World Championships. Both amateurs and budding chefs participate in the championships, competing to make the most authentic tasting pesto alla Genovese using traditional methods and ingredients.
The competition will be held in the Palazzo Ducale in the centre of Genoa, where each of the 100 participants will be given 40 minutes to produce their pesto. The sauce must be made according to the traditional methods of grinding with a wooden pestle and marble mortar using the original Genoese recipe. Competitors use fresh Protected Designation of Origin Genoese basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, pine nuts, pecorino and parmesan cheese. The prize, aside from the glory, is an olive wood pestle with a gold-plated handle.
Visitors wishing to sample pesto in local dishes can visit a number of restaurants throughout Genoa and the surrounding area that will be offering special pesto inspired menus from 21 to 30 March. Among the participating restaurants is I Tre Merli Porto Antico, Genoa, where a three-course ‘pesto’ dinner includes a starter of cheese focaccia with pesto, a main of pesto trofie pasta with green beans and potatoes, and a dessert of basil panna cotta with raspberry sauce. The Ristorante Benita in Cogoleto – a small fishing village a 30-minute drive from Genoa – will offer a three-course ‘pesto dinner' that includes a starter of pesto pizza bread, a main of pesto lasagne or fish fillet with a pesto crust, and dessert of fruit salad and basil ice cream.