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The city of vermouth

In general the rule is that the further north you go in Italy, the more entrenched is the habit to enjoy the appetizer. Not surprisingly, the Piedmont area is known for the production of vermouth with brands such as Martini, Cinzano and Carpano.

The vermouth was invented in the cellar of Antonio Carpano’s in Turin in 1786 and from there the Piedmontese nobility made it fashionable. There are other versions that trace their origin to Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician who mixed white wine with plants like the wormwood to create a beverage for medicinal purposes. But it was not until 1838 that the brothers Giuseppe and Luigi Cora began to develop it industrially and distributed it worldwide.

Now the word vermouth has a more generic meaning. It refers both to the drink and to eat a tapa before lunch. In Italy the starter is not at noon as in Spain, but after work. It usually starts from 18:00 and end at 21:00 AM and is an economical way to take a break from work while sipping a drink and snacks, which can be alcoholic or not.

A very common option is the spritz, -with aperol, champagne, an orange slice and ice- the Negroni -with gin, campari, vermouth and an orange slice- the mascerotti -with wine, soda and champagne- or the Amaretti di Voltaggio, which goes along with their famous focaccia, savory pastries and other delicacies.

In Genoa, a port where botanical species from around the world arrived, the habit is strictly fulfilled and the tastiest appetizers are prepared. Here vermouth is a deeply ingrained habit, a social act that almost no one renounces. A moment to enjoy after work, listening to the tinkling of ice crashing.

You can have it in the historical premises or in the modern establishments that agglutinate especially in the Piazza delle Erbe, San Donato, Via San Bernardo or Porto Antico area.

Here’s the theory, now let's put it into practice!

Pasticceria Liquoreria Marescottis Cavo
Via di Fossatello, 35R and 37R

In the old town of Genoa, -the largest medieval quarter in Europe- you can find this historic café, bakery and liquor store. A local that dates back from the eighteenth century, which retains its old Charles X style furniture and a floor designed by Rubens himself. Tourists come to the establishment to observe the "prettiest pastry Genoa", to try their high quality confectionery and the Marescotti appetizer, a herbal vermouth.
You must keep an open mind to find the restaurant on the first floor because they have no sign.

Le Corbusier
Via di San Donato, 36R

Another historic local is Le Corbusier, specialists in cocktails-some self-created- and that has gained prestigious national and international awards. Martini itself can be found in twelve different variants.

Caffè il Barbarossa
Piano di Sant Andrea 23

With an enviable location -very close to the house where Christopher Columbus lived-, and one of the most fun places to enjoy the most original appetizer in Genoa with its pleasant outdoor area, especially during summer.
The Caffè Barbarossa offers a wide range of whiskeys, cocktails and international wines and sparkling Genoese, in their restaurant, you will find vegetarian and vegan dishes. Look closely at their walls where the original rates of the brothels of the historical town hang.

Libreria delle Erbe
Piazza delle Erbe, 25R

An old bookstore downtown now transformed into a modern place. It still retains the spirit of the literary coffee -to consult and buy books-but, while enjoying cultural interventions you can also have a good coffee, snacks, cocktails, wines and beers.
They have a full weekly program of activities for lovers of art and culture.

Picture by Termolan

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