Until the late 1960’s five little towns hidden somewhere in the mighty cliffs of the Italian Rivera were virtually unknown to the rest of the world. These little sleepy Italian fishing villages have now become some of the most famous coastal landscapes in the world. The Cinque Terre forms every travellers dream – what with its pastel buildings hidden amongst rocky cliffs and sparkling waters. It’s magic to the eyes but what many travellers don’t know is that it’s a feast for the taste buds too!
Known for freshly prepared seafood and delicious wines it’s easy to see why you can’t come to the Cinque Terre without trying the local cuisine. Here is a list of typical local foods and drinks that you should not miss when roaming through the Italian Rivera.
Monterosso is famous for serving some of the best quality anchovies. In fact locals actually enjoy eating them in a variety of different ways. Try these options if you’re feeling adventurous – raw anchovies with a trickle of olive oil and lemon, 2) raw anchovies with oregano, parsley and garlic, 3) stuffed anchovies, 4) fried anchovies; or 5) anchovies cooked with potatoes.
The Riviera del Levante, or eastern Riviera where the Cinque Terre are located, is one of the famed three areas where some of the best quality olive oil is produced. The ideal climatic conditions make those olives growing in the Cinque Terre National Park so distinctive that the quality and flavour is a must try.
From basil to rosemary… thyme and marjoram… some of the most aromatic herbs are grown in the Cinque Terre National Park. It’s why so many dishes are so flavourful. Try buying some local dried herbs for your dishes back home.
Lemon and Limoncino
The area around Monterosso is home to numerous acres of beautiful lemon groves. The peels of Cinque Terre lemons from these groves are used to make the local limoncino liqueur while the citrus fruit itself is also used to prepare delicious homemade jams and sorbets.
You can’t visit the Cinque Terre without tasting Sciachetrà. This wine is made with dried grapes grown in the vineyards of Cinque Terre. It’s a sweet wine and is often used with desserts.
One of must try dishes is Muscoli ripieni which made with mussels that have been farmed in the Gulf of La Spezia. This dish consists of mussels stuffed with seasonal vegetables or with eggs, mortadella and cheese.
Pandolce (Fruit cake)
Pandolce is a typical dessert-like fruit cake famous in Liguria. You’ll find it in the Cinque Terre as well but here it is served with sciachetrà (of course!).