"How one man got the world making pesto by hand", writes BBC

I had the good fortune to meet, interview and photograph Roberto Panizza, the man who has the world excited about making pesto by hand.  Here, I caught him in a rare quiet moment, at Il Genovese, the restaurant he and his brother own, in the city of Genova.  I cannot say enough good things about the restaurant ... the menu, the quality of the ingredients, and the friendliness of the staff there.  All are superb.

But Il Genovese is only one of many projects Roberto works on ... more on that in another post.

This weekend, I get to catch up with the man, as I fly in to take part in the 6th Pesto World Championship, hoping to be that New Zealander who makes a good pesto.   While there, I plan to gather as many stories and photographs, as is possible while competing. 

This event is an event that grows larger each time it is held ... a sign, I think, that the world is so very definitely embracing a return to the authentic ... in this case, to the old-fashioned way of making pesto while incorporating a recognition of the growing importance of good ingredients.

Their website tells the story of how it all began ...

I love the idea that it was created in the 90's, by group of friends who had a passion for gastronomy and for the art of being a bon vivant.

They came up with the idea of organising a World Championship for Genoese Pesto, using the mortar ...  Made with a Mortar, Campionato Mondiale di Pesto Genovese al Mortaio and the championship has gone on to become this huge international event that showcases Ligurian excellence.  But more than that, it has become a way of introducing the world to this ancient city, with its fascinating and complex history, loved by the likes of Charles Dickens, and so many other, including this Kiwi.

The association also promotes the culture of cultivating good traditions that start in infancy. It has a non-competitive contest for children, the Campionato dei Bambini, and offers other events dedicated to the little ones during the Rolli Days.

The BBC article is here.

The official recipe is here, on the website but the ingredients ...


  • 4 bunches of fresh PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Genoese basil, which guarantees high-quality taste and flavour
  • 30 g pine nuts
  • 445-60 g aged Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 20-40 g Fiore Sardo cheese (Pecorino Sardo), grated
  • 1-2 garlic cloves from Vassalico (Imperia)
  • 10 g coarse salt
  • 60-80 cc PDO extra-virgin olive oil from the “Italian Riviera”, renowned for its sweet and fruity taste, which adds flavour to the basil and dressing..