I kept trying to think of what I would like to see in Liguria with our workshop attendees:
Should we lunch at a vineyard? Nah…classic but it’s been done. Should we visit an olive oil farm? Since olives are pressed in the fall, that might be kind of boring. Then it came to me!!! Right down the road lives the self proclaimed Basil King! Who would not want to hang out at a basil farm in Liguria, the heart and soul of the pesto belt, right?!?!
So I went to talk to my friend Mario Anfossi, an all around groovy guy. Mario is known as the self proclaimed “Basil King of Italy,” and is the owner of Azienda Agraria Anfossi, a full on basil farm in the tiny town of Bastia. And it is truly the kingdom of basil!!
Anfossi is the region’s largest producer of fresh basil and basil products. Let’s just say he makes a mean pesto! The farm is walled in and anchored by the family’s castle from the 14th century. And yes, they still live there.The castle overlooks the modern green houses that grow acres and acres of sweet smelling basil plants. The scent of the place is killer. I arranged for all of us to have lunch in the castle’s portico overlooking the castle’s formal garden.
Mario’s niece, Laura, is a trained chef, and she prepared an amazing 3 course meal, with all three courses infusing pesto into the recipes for our workshop attendees. All 15 of us dined alfresco overlooking the gardens, complete with the family’s Rosetta wine produced by Mario’s son.
Before lunch Mario, more of a gentleman farmer than an actual farmer, toured us around the farm and into the basil perfumed processing plant where he turns the crop into a sustainable maserated product suitable for shipping to the US and all over the world.
Lunch was peaceful with blissful food moments that of course we all photographed and styled with glee. After lunch we walked the gardens and wound up doing an impromptu photo-shoot with the fruit on the trees from the fruit garden. Picking cherries, apricots, plums and lemons, we even photogrpahed a Buddah hand citrus fruit that Mario had picked for us to use.
*Pesto is like my peanut butter, so you know I was happy. Thanks to Mario and his family for the ever so Italian hospitality, and the best pesto in the mundo!
photo credit: meFood styling italian cooking italian riviera italy photography photostyling Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: basil farm, food styling, italian workshop, italy, photography, photography workshop, travel, workshop