Italian food is maybe the most famous and appreciated around the world and, as you know, Italians take great pride in this.
However, travelling through Italy, you will soon realize that typical food can vary completely from region to region and even from city to city.
Today we will talk about a Genoese invention that is not well known abroad – and can’t be found outside of Genoa and its surroundings – but is dear to every real Genoese: the Panera.
Interestingly, Genoese people are skillful coffee roasters: there are many national and international coffee roasting companies in the valleys of the Genoese hinterland.
It is said that the origins of this delicacy go back to the 19th century, when an apprentice poured ground coffee into whipped cream by mistake, and was yelled at for making the cream black – the panna nera, or “panna neigra” in Genoese dialect.
Hence the contracted word panera.
Little did the apprentice know that his mistake created a delicious mix!
By now you may be starting to imagine the taste of our beloved panera.
Well, if you like cappuccino you will love panera – a local specialty that is now officially deposited with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Panera is a special coffee parfait that can be found in several ice cream parlors in Genoa.
This doesn’t mean that it tastes the same in every place – it is actually interesting and fun to taste panera in different parlors and pick the best one.
The first panera was invented in the historical ice cream shop “Amedeo” in Boccadasse, a very famous colorful fishermen neighborhood in Genoa where locals love to flock on sunny days and summer evenings to sit on the rocks by the sea while eating ice cream.
The original recipe by Amedeo is still a secret, so don’t bother asking!
Nowadays, the most famous place to eat panera in Genoa is Cremeria Buonafede, in the heart of the historical centre. In more than 100 years this little shop earned the appreciation of locals that will come from every corner of the city for a fresh, homemade panera cup, or coffee with a panera scoop, before going back to the hectic city life.
Panera has become so famous that, like a celebrity, you can find it on Wikipedia on a dedicated page.
And not only that: since a couple of years Genoa now has the yearly “Panera Days” Festival – three days of tastings, workshops and dedicated stands.
The traditional recipe calls for fresh cream, ground arabica coffee, sugar and egg yolk – although a light version without eggs now exists – however each ice cream shop uses different doses and spices for flavor.
The difference between a coffee ice cream and panera is texture and flavor. The first one is stronger and intense, while the latter is more delicate, soft, it’s like a foam and it tastes somewhat like cappuccino.
So make sure you don’t miss this experience while in Genoa.
Just bear in mind that because of the difficulty in its preparation and because it doesn’t last long, panera can’t be found in every ice cream place.
Picture yourself eating panera while sitting by the sea. Feeling like a local yet?
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