October 27, 2006

Divina Destinations: Chiaveri

Anytime I take a road trip in Italy, getting right to the place I am going is not myidea of fun, but rather where can we stop in the way?

Today, we left for Torino and the Slow Food Salone del Gusto.
The easiest way to get to Torino from Florence is to go over to Genova and turn right. If one is going towards Genova, that for me means passing pass Chiaveri.

A small town, reminiscent of the French Riviera, Chiaveri is home to Luchin a small family run restaurant in the old part of town.

I am traveling with my Webmaster Phil and his wife Gioa who are as passionate about good food as I am ( they have 52 piatti di buon ricordo!) so when nearing the Pistoia turn-off outside of Florence, I told them about my fabulous experience with Mrs Corsini on the Chocolate tour I put together for a master chocolate tour.

First stop Bruno Corsini in Pistoia.
Since the early 1900’s famous for their “ confetti” what we call Jordon Almonds, the candied almonds given at weddings.
The variety is incredible of flavors as well as shapes and colors for celebrating any sort of occasion.

They also make a “Panforte” which is actually a large chocolate filled with a hazlenut paste, candied orange and toasted chopped almonds. I am already addicted!

That was our energy bar for the road.

The actual question about where to stop was either to go to Recco for the foccaccia al formaggio and a Buon Ricordo plate at Manuelina or Chiaveri for a meal at Luchin and to try to stop by Franco Casoni, woodworker, who hand carves the mold for making Corsetti, the traditional Ligurian pasta disks.

I already have a set, but gave away my other so was really pulling for Chiaveri… I won!

I am a great backseat driver and navigator and may have saved Phil and Gioa’s marriage on this road trip, a trying experience for any couple in a foreign country without GPS and with a tick shift!

I got us to the parking lot near the Historic Center with only one or two bad turns and we were there in time for lunch.

Every morning until 1pm the open air food market is held.

Next year Luchin celebrates 100 years of business. I am so there for the party!!!

The focus of the front room is the woodburning oven where they cook the Farinata, Chickpea crepe,( called Socca in France and Cecina in Tuscany) and the stuffed veggies, Polpettone,a mashed potato pesto and string bean dish, as well as a huge selection of other veggies and dishes on display to the side of the ovens.

We had the farinata, a tasting dish of the baked goodies and spaghetti al Pesto, which according to tradition has a couple of cubes of boiled potatoes and a couple of string beans mixed in.


I of course, ex-pastry chef, had eyed a lovely selection of freshly baked cakes when we walked in, so we had one of each. That is the benefit of traveling with friends.

We had some time to kill waiting for Franco’s workshop to reopen after lunch and window shopped.

We all decided that Chiaveri is a place to spend some time. Great Antique shops, on the sea and fabulous food and wine!

Franco’s shop reopened and we were invited into the workshop.
It is not a store but really a workshop, gallery filled to the brim with huge Polene, the bodies which adorn the front of the ships, Angels from Baroque Churches and whatever else he is working on.
When I first walked in I had to leave as there was some freshly cut wood and sawdust that was setting off an allergic reaction.
But I got over that as soon as he said he would custom cut a Corzetti maker for me!

I told him my story about having a cooking school in Florence and showed him my card with my angel logo.


Next week, the recipe for making your own corsetti.


  1. Since there we only three of you in the car, that means that there would have been an extra space for someone...like me!

    Sounds like my kinda road trip...

  2. Anonymous9:59 PM

    you're killing me, Diva! this trip sounds fabulous!

  3. And it was just the first day!!!
    must say.. for dinner at the little pizza place near my hotel in Torino i had a warm fish appetizer and then a fabulous Pizza with Pear and Gorgonzola!!!
    yeah baby!

  4. That DIVA stamp would make a great piece of jewelery, too! Living Slow Food through you Judy!

  5. Judy --
    The perfect stamp -- as fate would have it. I am enjoying going through all your entries. I can hear your voice over my shoulder. Espcially at the farmers market in California yesterday, when I found baby artichokes. It was a day for Judy's artichoke risotto -- the first "vero Italiano" you taught me to make ... Now, you must be at Slow Food --
    Sending you love from California ...
    Rebecca Katz (your Rebecca)
    PS -- your blog is on my blog roll at www.innercook.com

  6. Ok so I'm new to this blogging business! I did post a blog but I don't know where it went so I'll repeat myself!

    Judy: I love your corzetti stamp and would love to buy one. When I was in Rapallo a couple of years ago I scoured the city until I found some and bought 3, then came home and made corzetti. It was great.

    Sorry we never connected with you when Mom and I were in Firenze in June. I did spend some quality time at the market, however, and as always, came home with pounds of dried porcini!

  7. Cathy.. I am having corzetti made for the school!!!

  8. thanks for paying such an enthusiastic tribute to franco, he's really good, isn't he? :)
    and thanks for the pictures... have you been enjoying your corzetti, yes?


  9. Marina,
    as summer is near..
    Chiaveri is calling!

    I lost the recipe Franco gave me.... got one?