Part Three: Taste and Scent
Liguria is the home of chinotto – a rare and distinctive Italian citrus fruit that adds the sharpness to Peroni Ambra, a new aperitivo offering. It is also a go-to place of inspiration for creatives across the globe. Offering a generous feast for the senses, it acts as the perfect breeding ground for ideas and invention. Two globe-trotting Italians - Maria Falbo from ‘good times - all the time’ lifestyle brand Copson London and boundary-pushing photographer Carolina Amoretti - took a tour of the region. They met up with local creatives, makers and artisans to consider how contemporary Italian culture is reflected in new interpretations of the aperitivo moment.
In the final part of our three-part series Maria and Carolina head back from Portofino to Genoa to indulges in its tastes and scents. They experience la dolce vita as seen through the eyes of the next generation.
Hidden away down a tiny cobbled Boccadasse street we find the Capo di Santa Chiara restaurant. From an unassuming back alley we enter a world of Michelin star finesse. We’re walked to our cute table overlooking the sea by an elegant waiter. This is a scene absolutely set for romance. Tonight we will dine with two next-gen local visionaries, illustrator Jacopo Oliveri and photographer Manila Zangari. They talk to us about everything from the Genovese party scene to how young Italians feel that Italian culture is misrepresented in the media and are forging a new way. All conversational roads lead back to the future of authenticity, good taste and the essential evolution of culture.
We settle into homemade Foccacia - one of Liguria’s additions to Italian cuisine - and an inspired combination of Burrata, pesto and gazpacho. All of the dishes are light and simple, the quality of the ingredients taking the spotlight. Everything is cold and fresh, matching the light and subtle bitter taste of Peroni Ambra perfectly. This lightness is a key component of a sunset aperitivo. This is the taste of summer.
Jacopo and I soon discover our shared love of swimming pools and house music. He tells us about a party he went to in a castle last week, highlighting Italy’s capacity to make ordinary things happen in the most beautiful of ways. Carolina and I ask them what they love most about living in Genoa. Both cry “the sea!”, gesturing passionately in its hazy direction.
We learn two new facts about modern Italy according to Jacopo and Manila - the Italian youth are more beautiful and have longer legs than previous generations; and the boys now look like girls and the girls look like boys. I like this insight, it highlights the fact that Italy may be praised for its very traditional ways, but it’s also aligned with the more forward-thinking times that we live in.
The next day’s sundown moment is passed with tumblers of Peroni Ambra at Trattoria dell’Acciughetta, deliciously bitter from the sharpness of the chinotto. It’s a recently opened modern Italian restaurant founded by Giorgia Losi, a key member of the forward-thinking local creative community. Giorgia sets up a long table for us and her friends in a twinkly and typical Italian courtyard.
The menu offers a combination of Italian classics with a contemporary edge. The elegant aesthetic of the food is matched by its flavour. We eat mostly fish, in various forms, cooked or ceviched, updated in modern ways with various vegetables and grains. The highlight is a platter of fried sardines, a simple Italian summer classic. We muse on the simple joy of pairing tastes and scents so that food and drink work in perfect harmony.
Conversation flows and we’re soon given an authentic insight into Italian culture via the group’s Instagram feeds. I slowly learn how Nike is the shoe of the youth masses, what an Italian summer looks like and that the Scooteroni has replaced the vespa as the transport-mode of choice.
As Italian youth culture evolves and merges closer with the rest of the internet world, I feel confident that the values of our nation will remain. In all of my encounters with the local Ligurians there’s a quality of life, style and elegance to the way that they spend their time and share simple pleasures. There’s a tone to conversations, mannerisms that is unmistakably Italian; an innate authenticity and charm, a sense of community and optimism.
Our whole experience, sipping and eating by the sea, is so simple but so sexy. For me, the future of Italian style will always be there, it’s something that you grow up with and carry through everything you do. Throughout our trip, as we’ve shared Peroni Ambra moments with the Ligurian locals, our conversations have returned to recurring themes and mantras - give love, make things, dance, wake up late, swim, play, connect with real friends, eat well. Our culture will always evolve but our roots will always be in a nation inspired by tasteful living.
Words by Maria Falbo, Images by Carolina Amoretti