Oh. My. God.
When we got to Recco, Italy, I didn't know it was where Foccacia was invented. Plus, the foccacia bread in Recco isn't what you think. It's way, the way better. We went down to Recco and got an airbnb place for four days after a cruise through France with family and friends. My friend Jah is a tourist guide reader and when she travels she knows everything about a place. So needless to say, when I travel with him, I just let him tell me what's up and the rest is history. In this case, we're driving into Recco and he exclaims, "Recco is where Foccacia was born."
"What?" I said.
"They have every kind of Foccacia you can imagine." he said.
"Watch your mouth." I said.
Seriously. There are whole bakery type stores devoted to making foccacia and they have all different kinds. There's the kind with carmelized onions on top. There's the kind with fontina cheese jammed in the middle and melted to perfection, somehow. There are restaurants where the main dish is foccacia. They serve it like a pizza over there. It's called "Foccacia di Recco"
The first time we had it, we went into this seafood restaurant by the beach. Jah's father in law insisted on getting some calimari so we all headed in there. On the menu was a foccacia sampler with four different flavors of foccacia. Even though Jah had built up this foccacia legend and went right for the sampler plate, I opted for a pizza. Boy was I disappointed. That sampler plate was the bomb. I glommed a few bites from Jah and was glad I did.
The next day we went to this cool foccacia place up around the edge of the town, where most of the cool hotels were, overlooking the bay. There was a cool blue neon sign with "Foccaciaria" on it. The blue glow cast itself all over the whitewashed walls. The place was idyllic. Soft yellow light and glowing red checker tablecloths inside with wood trim all around the place. In early evening it was heaven sitting down to dinner with the view of the Recco seaside out below the restaurant. We ordered a few things. Jah's father in law went for the fish platter again, but we split the cheesy filled foccacia that the waitress recommended as their specialty.
This thing was unbelievable. Holy smokes, it was good. I think the cheese was some kind of fontina or something but it was all gooey but not oily. Around the edge of the crispy browned pie of foccacia bread and cheese was a little pool of watery whey which had come out of the juicy cheese when it was melted. The whole thing was a buttery-cheesy delicious encounter.
They have plain foccacia too-- nice and greasy with some herbs sprinkled on top. By the time you get it home, the olive oil has stained the paper they wrapped it in. A few slices of italian cheese-- pick any delicious one, and this foccacia is perfect heaven. If you're a wine drinker then that just takes it over the top. When we weren't eating out, we walked down to the local supermarket and picked up all kinds of delights. Even the cheapest cheese was a delight. There was this olive filled number that we got. It was in the discount bin and I have to say it was tastier than anything I've had in the U.S.
If you're going over to the Italian Riviera and you can spare the time, you have to get some Foccacia in Recco. Sure, they serve it in alot of restaurants in surrounding villages- like Cinque Terra and Portofino and pretty much that entire region. But why not get it where it was invented? We did and we were really pleased.