Pietro Romanengo Fu Stefano, Confettieri, Genova

On Friday I spent some hours with Anna, from Beautiful Liguria, visiting the laboratory of Genovese confectioner Pietro Romanengo Fu Stefano.

Our tour was followed by an interview, one that opened a door to the confectioner's history, spanning some 234 years. 

The details were fascinating.  The machinery is only replaced if the new equipment leaves the quality of the end product uncompromised and so it was a tour of an older way of doing things.  Attention to detail was everywhere. 

I was offered the opportunity to taste as we wandered.  The delicacy of the products startled me.  I have never tasted anything like the marzipan, the pastilles, nor the chocolates, flavoured as they are, with real flowers and candied fruits.

I will write more but the pastilles below ... delicate and surprising, as they melt in your mouth, releasing the most divine liquid. 'The perfumed pastilles, known also as “ginevrine” (Genevans),  have a very ancient processing where the colour and the aroma given to the sugar are absolutely natural. They can be purchased loose in 500g bags with the taste of rose, banana, Chartreuse liqueur, aniseed, peach, marasca cherry, mint and violet.'


I flew over to Genova last Friday and immediately, upon arriving ... stories began to unfold.

It was a madly-busy, exquisitely-joyfilled 5-days.  And I couldn't reach the back-end of my website for some reason but honestly, I had no spare time. 

I stayed with the kindest friends out at Arenzano.  And I met their friend, the talented artist Giorgio Bormida.  Actually, I wanted to cook dinner for Francesca and Beppe before I left, and ended up cooking for Giorgio too.  It was only as I began dinner prep that I thought ... 'What have I done??!  Cooking isn't really my best thing'.  But they were all very kind.

I caught up with some of my favourite people there in the city but completely missed out on catching up with others.  It was lovely to catch up with Stefano, the owner/operator of Righicam, over lunch.  And with Francesca and Norma, from Le Gramole.

And then there was that 24 hours spent working with Diana, staying at B&B Baur with her and Micha.  It was sublime ... photographs and words to follow in the days to come.  I heard my first cuckoo as I sat by the open window in the morning.  And the views  ...

The kindness of Genovese strangers stunned me and ... well, it made me smile.  A lot really.  I met a lovely guy at a concert in Palazzo Ducale, who kindly explained all that was happening, to Outi and I.  But Outi and I is another whole story.

Meanwhile, here I am, just in from an 11-hour day of traveling.  It was a day that involved a train, a taxi, a plane from Genova to Rome, a bus to and from the plane, another plane to Brussels, then a bus and a tram home.

I shall return with photographs downloaded, with a mind rested and ready to tell you some stories.

Antica Drogheria di Canneto, Genova

I met the loveliest man, via Francesca, when she was searching for Lupini ...

We decided they were surely something to do with my beloved flower, the Lupin, but the photograph on the bag of beans showed this enormously strange and beautiful tree.  Google-searching tonight, Francesca ... it seems we were right.  All photographs in the search pointed to the Lupin I know.

Anyway, I wasn't carrying my photography gear and Francesca asked if I might wander back along Via di Canneto il Lungo, to number 54R, for a photography shoot.  The lovely man said, 'Si'.  So here's a small glimpse of the magical drogheria where you can buy all kinds of everything.

He tried some of his English and I appreciated it immensely but here, you can see him chatting with Karla Verdugo, a favourite artist friend of mine.