DOP Genoese Basil: the excellent cultivation of Liguria

DOP Genoese Basil is the symbol of both agriculture suspended over the sea and a cooking characterized by ancient flavours. Its cultivation, which dates back centuries ago, in recent years is enjoying an unprecedented popularity, because the consumer, Italian, but not only, is more and more appreciating aromas which enrich cooking with flavours, and because it represents quality, simplicity, and typicality of a land and its culture. DOP Genoese Basil occupies a space of excellence on the market, distinguishing itself from the other productions of basil coming from less peculiar lands, or produced in a non-traditional way.

A Perfect land

Basil, which was introduced in different areas of Mediterranean as well as Liguria itself by the Romans, who attributed curative properties to it, became a traditional cultivation in Genoa from the Nineteenth century, thanks to the introduction of glasshouses in agriculture in a land characterized by an important agricultural vocation: Genoese West. The excellent characteristics of this product oriented its specialized cultivation for gastronomic use, which soon spread in the whole Coast of the region thanks to the favourable climatic conditions and transmission of agricultural traditions: very often, Genoese farmers themselves, who moved in order to find new lands for increasing their productions, passed them on. So, starting from the land of Genoa, the production area extended eastwards and westwards, because the whole land of Liguria shown a high vocation for obtaining a typical product, recognized all over the world.

Certification and Traceability

Genoese Basil is a product which boasts the European protection of DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin), assigned after proving the influence of both environment and traditional production techniques handed on in time in order to obtain an unmistakable product, basic ingredient in the recipe of Genoese Pesto.

DOP Genoese basil is guaranteed by specifications controlled by Chambers of Commerce and labelled in a 100% transparent way in order to offer the following guarantees: sure place of origin and traceability of the producing company; quality in production techniques, because the respect for specifications requires traditional cultivation and packaging for fresh market only with whole plants; respect for regulations, thanks to specific controls carried out by Chambers of Commerce.

All the packagings must be made with material corresponding to the set of rules in force and must be marked with the caption ‘BASILICO GENOVESE DOP’, with the DOP trademark of European Community, whole company trademark, and logo of the product.

The real Genoese Basil

The Chamber of Commerce of Genoa has certified DOP Genoese Basil since 2006, as the Inspection Body appointed by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Alimentary, and Forest Politics.

In 2008, the Ministry of Agricultural, Alimentary, and Forest Politics recognized the Consortium for the protection of DOP Genoese Basil, to which almost all the producers of DOP Genoese Basil adhere.

The Consortium carries out its action for both product assigned to be used fresh and the one which is transformed. All the packers result to be producers, too. Even if this situation is considered by both statute and set of rules in force, there are no ‘pure’ packagers, that is to say who package basil for other producers. The identification logo of DOP Genoese Basil consists in a circular shape with the same dimension as the DOP symbol of European Community. It contains the caption ‘BASILICO GENOVESE’ in full, blue on a white background, and in the middle the DOP acronym, blue on a yellow background, is highlighted. The trademark is finished by a stylized shape of Liguria region, with a blue outline with white inside, placed in the lower half-circle, which lightly comes out on the left side. Below this, partly superimposing the outer circle, a stylized, green plant of basil appears. It consists of three pairs of leaves with a decreasing dimension from the outside inwards.

The three elements which characterize the product are: sun (yellow), element of life, essential for every cultivation; Liguria (blue), production land, rich, fruitful, on the sea; Basil (green), a sign of nature, genuineness, and quality of this DOP product.

Genoese Pesto, a must have of the Italian cooking
pasta spaghetti al pesto con patate e fagiolini ALIRIC029CK03Recipe for 5-6 people: • either 8 little bunches or a bouquet of DOP Genoese Basil (about g 70 of leaves) • 50 g of Parmigiano Reggiano (the one ripened for 36 months must be preferred) • 10 g of Pecorino Sardo’ (the one ripened for 15 months must be preferred) • two tablespoons of top-quality fresh pine-seeds of Pisa • 3 cloves of garlic (the one of Vessalico must be preferred) • a pinch of coarse salt • three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil ‘Riviera Ligure DOP’ Pull the leaves of basil, gently wash and dry them, then mince the ingredients in the beater and mincer at low speed, adding the ground garlic only at the end, so that it does not dominate the other flavours (as a matter of fact, garlic oxidized with heat), and add oil at the end, drizzling it.

‘Pesto’ in the mortar: tradition tells that…

Garlic must be put in the mortar when it has already been peeled and crushed with the pestle in order to reduce it to pulp. Do the same thing with pine-seeds. Add basil and salt and press the ingredients for a long time without crushing any more, swinging, until you obtain a homogeneous mixture. Add the grated cheeses and, keeping on mixing, drizzle oil.

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