Everybody knows that Italian food is divine – and the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre are home to some of Italy’s best dishes and freshest ingredients. But when you take a well-deserved lunch break on your Cinque Terre hike, which specialty dishes should you look out for? |
Due to steep terrain having historically limited roads and parking, the five towns have developed a strong culture of self-sufficiency. The freshest and most authentic dishes will be cooked with locally sourced ingredients. The area is famous for its:
? Aromatic herbs. Marjoram, rosemary, thyme and basil are grown in the National Park here, and will be used to season many of the specialty dishes you sample.
? Acciughe. Monterosso’s bright silver anchovies are famed in Italy for their impeccable quality and unbeatable freshness. There are even two annual festivals dedicated to salted and fried anchovies!
? Olive oil. The extra virgin olive oil made here is Riviera del Levante DOP – which means that it has a Protected Designation of Origin. It is truly unrivalled in flavour and quality.
? Lemons. The Mediterranean climate is ideal for the acres of lemon groves that are cultivated in the area. Everything from marmalades, sorbets, liqueurs and tarts are made with the citrus fruit.
What to Eat
Torta di riso di Monterosso is a traditional pie prepared with puff pastry, wine, rice, oil, water, parmesan cheese and eggs. It is normally made in August for the special occasion of the Feast of the Madonna di Soviore.
Pasta al pesto should also be at the top of your list of food to try while you’re here. After all, the region is the home of pesto – and basil grown here has a unique citrus-like flavour that you won’t find anywhere else.
For a different (but equally delicious) pasta dish, try pansotti stuffed with ricotta and spinach and served in a walnut sauce.
Top Tip: Focaccia and farinata (pancake bread made with chickpea flour) are staples of the local bakeries and are highly enjoyable dipped in olive oil or pesto.
Aside from the anchovies caught with the traditional technique of lampara – where fishermen use lamps to attract the fish at night – the waters around the town are better known for their abundance of seafood than fish.
Fritto misto, frittelle di baccalà, and frittelle di bianchetti are fried seafood fritters normally served in a paper cone. You can stop during your Cinque Terre hike at one of the many street vendors to sample this tasty, fishy snack.
Muscoli ripieni are also worth a try: mussels stuffed with seasonal vegetables, cheese, mortadella ham, or eggs.
What to Drink
These authentic meals are best enjoyed paired with one of the many delicious regional drinks.
Wine lovers will be pleased to hear that the area is full of vineyards and wineries offering tastings. One of the most prestigious wines is Sciacchetra. It is a straw-coloured sweet wine made from at least 85% Bosco grapes, and goes best with desserts or cheese courses.
Reward yourself after your Cinque Terre hike with the dry white wine that goes by the same name. It is made by 26 local producers and must be created from 40% Albarola, Vermentino, or Bosca grapes.
Top Tip: The herbal and savoury notes of the Cinque Terre DOC wine complement fresh seafood dishes perfectly.
It’s clear that you will be spoilt for choice of what to eat and drink as you explore the area, but it’s a good idea to book through a specialist tour operator to get the most out of your Cinque Terre hike. The local guide will be able to help any discerning foodie discover the tastiest dishes around.
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable tours and excursions around Italy including the best Cinque Terre hike. Whether you want to ride a Vintage Vespa, try the famous Chianti wine or get cooking with fresh local ingredients, Mauro's company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you're keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.
Related Articles -
Cinque, Terre, hike,