The second episode of our video series was made in Levanto. We visited the anchovy salting center (Laboratorio Salagione Acciughe), where the girls of the national park (Le Ragazze del Parco) were very happy and enthusiastic to tell us all about anchovies. Monterosso anchovies are said to be the most delicious in all of Italy. As the sea has a particular saltiness around here, Monterosso anchovies have a strong but harmonious taste. Anchovies have been a basic food in Liguria for centuries. They are also called "bread of the sea" or in the local dialect: "u pan du ma". The small fish arrive to Liguria from the Atlantic Ocean every June. The best catch can be expected on the day of San Pietro, June 29.
The girls, Nelly and Francesca, showed us what is the ideal size of an anchovy, how to clean the small fish quickly and how to salt them. They work very skillfully which is not surprising as their great-grandmothers also were doing the same job. In those days, women were waiting in the harbour for the men who were returning from the sea with the fish. Today, fishermen call Nelly on her mobile phone at 3:00 AM… Well, the world has changed a lot but the taste of the anchovies and the method of salting has remained the same.