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Head to Italy for the Pesto World Championships

Head to Italy for the Pesto World Championships
19 Feb 2014

If you're a fan of pesto, why not book a flight to Genoa in Italy, where the sauce was invented in the late 19th century, to witness the spectacle of the fifth Pesto World Championships?

Taking place on 29 March, the competition will see 100 participants given 40 minutes to produce the most authentic tasting pesto alla Genovese using only traditional methods and ingredients in the spectacular surroundings of Palazzo Ducale in the city's UNESCO World Heritage centre.

To make the flavoursome sauce, competitors must follow the original Genoese recipe of fresh Protected Designation of Origin Genoese basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, pine nuts, pecorino and parmesan cheese, and grind the ingredients using a wooden pestle and marble mortar. 

The winner of the prestigious event will receive an olive wood pestle with a gold plated handle worth almost £2,000.

Alongside the main show, visitors will be treated to special pesto-inspired menus at participating local restaurants from 21 to 30 March, including I Tre Merli Porto Antico in Genoa and Ristorante Benita in the nearby fishing village of Cogoleto.

Italy is something of a foodie's paradise, and a number of other cities have their own specialities. Here are a few more city break ideas for the gastronomically minded:

Naples

If you like pizza, you'll love Naples. The sunny port city is where the dish we know today, consisting of dough, tomato and cheese, was invented. And once you've tried an authentic wood-oven-cooked margherita topped with fresh local ingredients, you'll never eat frozen pizza again.  

Parma 

The province and city of Parma is something of a hotbed of artisanal food production, renowned both for its prosciutto ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. 

The latter is another of Italy's Protected Designation of Origin foodstuffs - only cheese produced in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantova can use the Parmigiano-Reggiano label. 

Rome 

Italy isn't just famous for its food. The locals also make some celebrated drinks, including wines. Enjoy those from the Lazio wine producing region on a visit to Rome. ADNFCR-408-ID-801695190-ADNFCR

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