Genoese Pesto World Championship: the final on March 23rd – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay


There are 100 competitors: 80 from Italy and 20 from abroad; the youngest is 20, the oldest is 90. They are the finalists of Genoese Pesto World Championship, on March 23 at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa. A key event for the Genoese and now not only for them. Because this competition, created to raise awareness the culture of the typical basil-based sauce, has crossed the borders of the region and Italy.

Genoese Pesto World Championship: how the competition takes place

Competitors now come from all over the world (even from Brazil), but in ten editions of Genoese Pesto World Championship there are two constants that fortunately have never changed: the playful spirit and joy that animates the race and the organizersand at the same time the regulation, rigid, which is faithful to the original pesto recipe. In fact, the competitors will have to prepare the pesto only with what is provided by the organizers, i.e. the ingredients of the recipe from the specifications of the Genoese Pesto Consortium: DOP Genoese basil from the Ligurian Riviera, Italian pine nuts, garlic from Vessalico (Imperia), DOP Parmigiano Reggiano, Sardinian flower, sea salt from the Trapani salt pans, DOP Ligurian Riviera DOP extra virgin olive oil.

What the Pesto Genovese champion wins

The 100 will compete in a first heat in the morning and then a jury made up of 30 expert judges – including we at “La Cucina Italiana” And a delegation from Alma, the prestigious international cooking school in Colorno (Parma) – will choose the best 10 for the final which will be played in the afternoon. Manual skill, colour, finesse, consistency and balance between the ingredients they will be the judging parameters based on which each proposal will be given a score. Up for grabs an olive wood pestle with a gold-wrapped handle worth around 2 thousand euros and worldwide fame, which is priceless.

What to do in Genoa during the Pesto World Championship

March 23rd will be a party, even before a race, hosted by Roberto Panizza, director of the championship, together with Marisa Passera, historic presenter of Radio Deejay, which will involve the entire city. The World Pesto Championship final will in fact be the highlight of a long series of events dedicated to the culture of pesto, but also to fun.
Among those that will be held on March 23, the Children’s Championship organized by the Consorzio del Basilico Genovese DOP, the Lollipop Choir with 20 choristers of all ages who will interpret theAnthem of the World Championship written by the band Buio Pesto. Meanwhile, outside the championship, there is a rich calendar. For example the March 21st a guided tour of the botanical garden with the theme “Essence of botany. Journey through perfumes, from the table to public greenery” and on March 22, in the Sala Trasparenza della Regione, a series of talks on the present and future of pesto, from the presentation of Genoese Pesto Revealed, that is, the presentation of the book by photographer Craig Wales, to a scientific research on the formula for the perfect pesto coordinated by Ben Thuriaux, before an inevitable demonstration on how pesto is produced in a mortar. Obviously it will be a special occasion to taste pesto: all week in Genoa there will be the “Ligurian Restaurateurs’ Pesto Week”who participate in the promotion of traditional cuisine in collaboration with Ascom, Confesercenti and Genova Liguria Gourmet (the complete program of the long weekend is on www.pestochampionship.it)

«Almost twenty years of work on the Mortar Pesto World Championship have changed the perception that the world has of our sauce”, said championship director Roberto Panizza. «The road is still long, but we think we have actively supported this growth: when we started, finding pesto in many medium-high range restaurants was almost impossible, while today even the most prestigious establishments offer it to customers. The championship’s work to promote the tradition of pesto and its recipe is therefore well underway and we are equipped to face the next twenty years.”

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