The Italian Almanac

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pesto ingredients

Italian News - October 27

Chefs from all over the world will gather here next March to compete in the first Pesto World Championship. The aim of the initiative is to highlight the Ligurian origin of the sauce, said to be the second most popular for pasta after tomato, and its universal appeal for quality and taste.

The jury will be made up of ten tasting commissions, each composed of three members: chief taster, a restaurant operator and a representative of the organizing committee. The sauces will be judged on the balance of the ingredients.

A number of events will be organized to coincide with the championship including an exhibition of vintage mortars, a conference on registered Ligurian basil and a 'Pesto Week', observed by restaurants in the region of Liguria. The name Pesto derives from the Italian verb to crush, pestare, because its ingredients are crushed with a mortar and pestle.

The classic ingredients for Pesto alla Genovese are basil grown in Liguria, salt, pine nuts, garlic, Ligurian extra virgin olive oil and grated Pecorino Romano sheep cheese. Although the sauce hails from Genoa and probably dates back to the Roman times, some historians believe its origin may be North African.