In all Italy, it is very common to get yummy pizza both in pizzeria restaurant and as street fod, in a paperbag. In La Spezia, as in many Ligurian city, there is no pizza paperbag without a slice of Farinata.
To be exact, you can get Farinata also in other places, especially in northern Tuscany and in Piemonte, all the way up to Turin and France. But as La Spezia people, we like thinking that Farinata, called here fainà, is all ours.
If you walk around La Spezia street, you shouldn’t miss this delicious, golden pie, salty and strictly cooked in big pans and wood oven. You can usally find Farinata in every pizzerias selling pizza in slices. SOmetimes you can have it with toppings such as cheese, herbs and onions.
A legend tells that it was born by chance in 1284, when Genoa defeated Pisa in the battle of Meloria. The Genoese galleys, charged of rowers prisoners, found themselves involved in a storm. In the hustle and bustle, some oil barrels and sacks of chickpeas toppled, soaking in salt water. Since supplies were very small, rowers and sailors were given bowls of a shapeless pea puree and oil. Some of them refused the food and left the mash in the sun, that dried the mixture into a kind of pancake. The next day, driven by hunger pangs, sailors ate the prepared discovering its deliciousness. Once back on land, the Genoese thought to improve the improvised discovery and cook the puree in the oven. The result pleased them so, and for mocking the defeated, called the pie “the gold of Pisa.”
We don’t know if this nice story is true, but for sure Farinata has very ancient roots: various Latin and Greek recipes bring casseroles mashed cheakpeas, cooked in the oven, just like Farinata.
Don’t miss the delicious golden pie of La Spezia, the yummiest street food of the area.