A year after we wrote about Focaccia di Recco, incorporating Federico Bisso's video taken at Da Ö Vittorio, we finally managed to visit the restaurant in person. Chef Federico together with his siblings and cousins now represent the 5th generation of the same family to manage the restaurant but it must have been Federico's day off because we didn't see him on the day that we were there for lunch.
However I'm sure that not a day goes by without several Bisso family members hard at work in the restaurant and we were greeted at the front door by twins Gianni and Vittorio Bisso, Federico's uncle and father respectively.
As far as they were concerned we were simply three tourists arriving for lunch because blog writers are two a penny these days and we see no reason to tell people in advance when we write this sort of article. Freebie-demanding 'Influencers' are no better than grifters in my opinion, unpleasant people spawned by social media and we would hate to be confused with them. Anyhow, I mentioned to Gianni on arrival that we loved Federico's video and had made the trip to Da Ö Vittorio specifically to try their Focaccia di Recco.
A few minutes after we were seated Gianni reappeared at our table and motioned to us to follow him into the kitchen and he then proceeded to give us a guided tour of the whole process involved in making their famous Focaccia di Recco, followed by an equally comprehensive tour of their wine cellar together with some stories on the winemakers and their wines.
On the way back to our table we spent a little time in the very narrow corridor at the wall of photographs of famous personalities, both Italian and foreign, who have dropped in over the decades as the reputation of Da Ö Vittorio grew with each successive generation.
By now we were hungry and, not having been able to order yet, we were forced to watch as plate after plate of the delicious focaccia passed right under our noses. Our turn would come soon enough however because the Focaccia di Recco takes a scant 6 minutes to cook in a special oven heated to 350 degrees celsius.
The origins of Focaccia di Recco go all the way back to the Crusades in the late 12th century when a dish very similar was mentioned in writing from that time and further references appeared in successive centuries. In the 1950s and 1960s it started to feature regularly on Ligurian menus and finally it achieved the recognition and protection of IGP status, but only for the Focaccia di Recco actually made in Recco and its immediate surroundings.
It is made using only 5 ingredients: strong manitoba flour with plenty of gluten so it can stretch without tearing, extra virgin Ligurian olive oil, salt, water and cheese but no yeast. The cheese is a fresh, soft and slightly acidic cheese that Italians use at home called crescenza or stracchino, but the actual cheese used here is the baker's version with less water content so it can cook quickly without making the finished dough wet.
After mixing the ingredients the dough is worked hard for 20 mins and then rested for half an hour, after which it's stretched thin almost to the point of transparency. The cheese is spread evenly in chunks on the bottom layer and holes made in the top layer so it can melt through onto the surface like erupting volcanoes.
Most people order a portion of Focaccia di Recco as an appetizer at Da Ö Vittorio but this is also a serious Ligurian restaurant with so much more than just focaccia on offer. There is an extensive seafood menu as one would expect this close to the sea and a great wine list of mostly white wines to match, including some of the wines we have written about elsewhere on this website.