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Green. The color of spring. And if you’re in Genoa, green thoughts typically turn to pesto. Pesto, the home-grown pasta topping made from heaps of basil, olive oil, parmigiano and pignoli (pine nuts), is the culinary specialty of the Ligurian capital.
Every two years (on even years), amateur and professional pesto makers flock to Genoa to take part in the World Pesto Championship, an effort by the local tourist board to re-introduce/keep alive the traditional way of making pesto, that is with a marble mortar and wooden pestle. Organizers of the competition also hope that their efforts in promoting this culinary folkway will result in Genoese Pesto (Pesto Genovese) earning UNESCO “immaterial cultural heritage.”
The week of the Pesto Championship, which usually takes place in March or April, includes a children’s competition; a local restaurant week, with pesto-specific menus; guided walks around Genoa and its artisanal shops; and more.