One of the upsides to the natural isolation of the Cinque Terre region is that the majority of their foods are locally grown or produced. You won’t find any chain stores or fast food in this area – instead there’s a bountiful amount of small local shops and restaurants that all sell fantastic fresh foods!
If you’ve never been to Cinque Terre, put it on your list. It is truly unlike anywhere else in terms of terrain, scenery, local culture and of course the food! The towns are limited in their growth because of the surrounding mountains, so they stay small and quaint although the region is gaining popularity fast. This also limits the accomodation options, so if you’re planning a visit, make sure to book in advance and do it as soon as you can!
Here are six foods to try in Cinque Terre you can’t miss out on.
Ohh, the focaccia! The freshly made focaccias here may not seem like much to the eye but they are so fresh, crispy and a little bit salty! We tried multiple flavours including olive, pesto and even potato. It’s the traditional Italian way to eat them at room temperature and the bread is so fresh it doesn’t need to be warmed anyway. There are many little focaccia bakeries dotted along the main streets so you won’t have any trouble finding one! Our favourite place was one tucked away in the main street of Riomaggiore.
Not only do these look cool but they are filled with fresh and tasty seafood bites. If you’re not too big on seafood, the seafood cone is a relatively cheap way to try some of the local catch without committing to a full-on meal you may not like. You can choose to have a mix of seafood including anchovies, fish and calamari or stick to the basic fish and chips. Definitely to be eaten by the seaside.
If you’re like me, you love pesto, but only in moderation. Our pesto back home seems to be so potent in flavour you almost need to wipe in on your sandwich as if it were vegemite! On the other hand, in Cinque Terre the local pesto is creamy, a bit cheesy and just the right strength. It’s easy to find a restaurant that has some type of fresh pesto pasta. Don’t let the colour turn you off!
Local grown lemons are everywhere in Cinque Terre, with lemon products galore from soaps to alcohol. Bottles of limoncino are easy to find and come in different sizes and flavours. Different regions of Italy have slightly different methods of making their lemon liqueur including the type of alcohol they use. The one I bought was infused with lemon rind, which helps to bring out the flavour.
Local White Wine
You’ve seen the hills lined with vineyards above every one of the five towns, now its time to try some local white wine! Find a little wine store in the main street of town to pick out a bottle. We bought ours around dinnertime and the shop assistant knew what to do – she gave us a couple of plastic cups and even offered to undo the cork top. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the sunset with a local drink. The one below was sweet, smooth and fruity!
When in Italy, right?! Apart from a swim, there’s no better way to cool down on a hot day then enjoying some gelato. We tried some of the more unique flavours like pear and rockmelon. Don’t worry if the colours don’t seem as bright as some ice cream you may have seen – it just shows how authentic these flavours are.
Haven’t been to Cinque Terre before? Check out an Overview of Cinque Terre for more on each of the individual towns. If you have been, what did you love most? Have you tried any of the above foods?
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