The Genoa Mortar-Made Pesto World Championships are held in Genoa, Italy, every April.
Organized by a culinary and cultural group, The Association Palatifini (translated as refined palates), and the Italian Regional Government of Liguria, the event celebrates the good food and culinary traditions of Liguria.
The championship competition takes place in the Salone del Maggior Consiglio at Palazzo Ducale.
Located in Genoa's old town, the historic building dates back to the 13th century and the Sea Republic. In 1339, it was the home of Simon Boccanegra, the first Genoese Doge.
The medieval building was enlarged and renovated between the 14th and 16th centuries. After fire burned parts of the Palazzo Ducale, in 1777, it was reconstructed. Later, in the 19th century, it housed municipal offices and the courthouse.
Following Europe's largest restoration, in the 1980s, the historical building became the cultural and social center of Genoa. Today it is the location for art shows, conferences, concerts and international festivals, like Pesto World Championship.
After tomato sauce, basil pesto is the world's second most popular pasta sauce. Pesto also ranks third, after mayonnaise and ketchup, as a cold sauce.
No two pesto recipes are the same. Traditionally, Genoa pesto is made with a marble mortar and a wooden pestle, using ingredients from Liguria, Italy.
Authentic pesto is made from PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Genoese basil and extra-virgin olive oil, pine nuts, aged Parmesan cheese, Pecorino Sardo cheese, Vassalico garlic and coarse salt.
Championship rules and prize
Professional and amateur cooks, from any country, can enter preliminary contests in the Ligurian provinces and in international destinations, including San Francisco, Tokyo, Marseille, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Toronto, London, Madrid, New York and Ekaterinburg, the largest city in Russia's Ural Region. One competition is open to crews of tall ships visiting Genoa for races.
Winners of preliminary competitions compete in the Pesto World Championship, which is judged by a jury. Each contestants must make the pesto with authentic ingredients, using a mortar and pestle.
The winner of the Genoa Mortar-Made Pesto World Championships receives a 1,000-euro pestle as a prize. Made from olive tree wood, it has a handle plated with gold.