The charming village of Taggia, dating back to the Roman Empire and set between the Ligurian sea and the inland of the Valle Argentina, hosted the second edition of Meditaggiasca on May 10-11. Beside its noble history and the beautiful religious buildings of the ancient hamlet, Taggia is well known for the excellent quality of the olives growing in the surroundings, named Taggiasca after the village (and known as Cailletier in the near French Riviera).
This is a dual-use cultivar, prized both for the extraction of elegant extra virgin olive oils with a definite scent of almond, and as table olives, cured black, that are highly appreciated in the local cuisine and by chefs everywhere.
Many gathered in Taggia for Meditaggiasca, to celebrate this great variety and its oil.
Davide Zunino, the young chef now working at the Restaurant de Paris in Sanremo, but born in Taggia and former owner and chef at Olio Colto restaurant, proposed a smoked bonito, raw cod, litchees, coriander with hazelnut and Taggiasca olives soup.
Igor Macchia, chef at La Credenza in Turin, presented a Taggiasca olive oil dip with sea urchins and Parmesan and ginger sauce. Andrea Sarri, chef and owner at Ristorane Sarri in Imperia, made the wonderful and tasty cappellacci (stuffed pasta) of potatoes and mussels with fresh broadbeans and peas puree and Taggiasca olives. Guido Alciati, heir of the renowed Alciati family from Piedmont, prepared a guniea-fowl fillet with anchovies and Taggiasca olives. Davide Canavino, chef at La Voglia Matta in Genova, also used the Taggiasca olives for its coloured and fascinating dessert, pairing it with salad and radish.
Those are only some of the imaginative and intriguing recipes that were presented during the event introduced by the Italian journalist and food critic Luigi Cremona. He also invited on the stage and honored many local producers like Franco Boeri Roi, Giuseppe Boeri, Vincenzo Garino, Giovanna Orengo, Fabrizio Vane, Cristina Armato, Angelo Lupi, Massimo Santamaria, Sonia Parodi and Monica Fagnani.
Other products of the Valle Argentina such as wines and cheeses were also showcased in the Medieval cloister of the magnificent convent of San Domenico a Taggia, dating back to the XVI century, while the culinary demonstrations were hosted in its refectory. The best local extra virgin olive oils made with Taggiasca olives were awarded by the association Oro di Taggia. A special award went to the Taggia-born food designer Mauro Olivieri, for contributing to the development and growth of the valley’s image and celebrity through his work and projects.
Once again, olive oil and olives proved to be a powerful testimonial and catalyst for an area that has many others jewels to be discovered.