Over the past six months, many friends have told us about the special olive oil tasting menus served across Liguria this time of year.  Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we visited a seventies showplace of Italian cuisine, the Balzi Rossi.

The restaurant is located about 100 yards after crossing from France to Italy along the seaside.  Once a beautiful Belle Epoque hotel and restaurant, the current building was built maybe in the 70s and has some funky decor left intact.

They serves a six course tasting menu, with each course featuring a fresh pressed oil from a different part of Liguria, including Imperia, Ventimiglia, Isolabona and Camporosso.


The dining room of Balzi Rossi

After a rather dull hors d’oeuvre we were served an amazing smoked salmon with citrus and wild berries.  It was drizzled with a local olive oil from Ventimiglia, just a few kilometers from the border. Delicious!

Salmon lightly smoked with agrumes and wild berries

One of the great surprises of the evening was the next dish, Stockfish with capers and anchovy paste.  Stockfish is a big tradition on this side of the Riviera, and even in Monaco I have been subjected to its particular taste.  Made from sun dried cod, Stockfish is usually anything but light, however the chef at the Balzi did an amazing job.


Below you can click through photos of each dish, paying special attention to the olive oil ice cream served with the dessert, a rival to our own olive oil sorbet.



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