Food and Drinks in Cinque Terre

It is not really surprising that the kitchen in the Cinque Terre is heavily influenced by the Mediterrenean Sea. When visiting Cinque Terre, look out for the following specialties ...

Food

  • The Cinque Terre anchovy (Acciughe sotto sale del Mar Ligure) has been protected by the European Union with 'Protected Designation of Origin'
  • The basic ingredient of Pesto is basil, which is cultivated on the terraced hills of Cinque Terre.
  • Olive Oil is one of the main ingredients of the Mediterranean kitchen. Olives have been cultivated for centuries on the steep slopes of the Cinque Terre hills. The mountains have been heavily terraced, thus making every little piece of land available to grow some olive trees (or vineyards). Every tree produces yearly some 10 kg of olives which is good for 2 liter of olive oil. For the production of olive oil, no chemicals are used, the oil being the result of simply pressing the olives.
    Some olive trees have been there for hundreds of years. No wonder that olive oil is considered since the classic times as a symbol of health.
  • Focaccia is a flat bread, that is baked on hot stones. It is comparable to a pizza but a bit thicker. It is often spiced up with garlic or other species. With cheese and ham, it is the ideal content of a picknick basket to be used on one of your walks throught the Cinque Terre hills.
  • Farinata is a typcial Ligurian dish. It is a kind of pancake, made from chickpea flour, mixed with water, salt and olive oil and baked in an oven at 400°C. Delicious with some pesto or a piece of Gorgonzola.
  • Testaroli are a local specialty of the Lunigiana and especially of Pontremoli, but you can find them also in some restaurants in Cinque Terre. The testaroli are a mixture between a pancake and pasta. They are boiled in water and served with a sauce of pesto, tomato or olive oil (in some restaurants, you will find a "trio of testaroli")
  • Trofie is another typical pasta from Liguria. The shapes (they're like 'worms') are hand-rolled from a dough of flour and water. Obviously best served with pesto Genovese.
  • Pansotti is a kind of pasta in a triangular shape, with jagged edges. It is the local specialty of the town of Recco. The pasta usually contains a filling of ricotta, spinach and sometimes "preboggion", a mixture of wild herbs from Liguria. Pansotti is often served with a sauce of walnuts, tomatoes or mushrooms.

Drinks

The coastline of Cinque Terre is protected by the hills behind from the sour winds coming from the north (especially in the winter). This makes even lemons grow in the Cinque Terre area.

On some of the terraces of Cinque Terre, some vineyards are still being cultivated (for the specialists with Bosco, Albarola and Vermentino grapes). Next to a dry white wine (Cinque Terre D.O.C.) also some specialties are produced :

  • Sciacchetrà : liquored wine with 18% of alcohol. It is made by drying the grapes for a few months in a very dry place. The wine is at its best after some further years of ripening with a piece of Gorgonzola. However, the production is so small, that the price has risen astronomically. Quite a pity ...
  • Limoncino is a sweet lemon liquor (the regional variety of the Amalfi Limoncello). To be drunk ice cold.

Since 2005 there is an artisanal beer brewery in La Spezia, Birrifico del Golfo, which is producing and marketing several beers. Most of these are "Ales" , fermented at temperatures of 15 à 25°C.

  • o Blonde ale (5%).
  • Chocolate stout (5%) : dark ale from barley and oats, with taste of dark roasted cocoa.
  • India ale (5.5%) : amber ales, with a hint of caramel and hazelnut.
  • Scotch ale (7.2%) : dark ale.

There are also several seasonal beers:

  • Summer ale (4.5%).
  • Winter ale (7.5%)
  • Chestnut ale (6.5%) : with chestnuts from the Val di Vara.