Farmers and fishermen. There has always been a happy marriage of land and sea flavors in our kitchens where we prepare all our local DOC products, including the famous Porto Venere mussels.
Traditional dishes, from Porto Venere to Le Grazie, but also up to Fezzano, include minestrone with seasonal vegetables, spaghetti with mussel sauce, stuffed mussels (filled with a bit of raw mussels and a bit of bread soaked in milk with eggs, cheese, garlic, parsley and a pinch of nutmeg), and fried fish (especially mullet). And with the small, unpretentious fish that remains in the bottom of the net, in addition to ending up in the frying pan, locals make scabeccio, a marinade with vinegar, onion, and more, which could be kept for up to a week.
A rice cake, and a seasonal Easter cake, always of high quality, were also popular traditional dishes.
These dishes have not been forgotten by local restauranteurs—Easter cake is still made today. Here are the main ingredients: seven layers of thin pastry, spinach, Swiss chard, ricotta cheese, eggs, marjoram and, curiously enough, an ornament of fresh eggs soaked in the mixture and covered in turn by a pastry before being cooked.
Dried cod was not a local product, but at the time it was cheap and so it was consumed. It was usually stewed and served with polenta. Mes-ciùa (a soup of mixed cereals and barley, spelt, and beans) was also a common dish. Curiously enough, it has also become part of feast days, especially during the celebration of the Madonna delle Grazie.
However, traditional feast dishes were stuffed hen (in broth) and ravioli (featuring a filling flavored with thyme collected from the stony slopes of the Muzzerone and Castellana mountains).
Dessert was usually buccellato (flour, eggs, sugar, a little butter, a little grated lemon peel; in the dough, if you want, half a glass of Marsala or vermouth).
Restaurateurs have not abandoned these traditions—on the contrary—the dishes have been refined and enriched by the personal touch of excellent chefs.