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Food To Try While in Cinque Terre

Lining the coast of Liguria, thefive old fishing villages of Monerosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore offer some of the freshest sea foods! From anchovies to mussels, the options are mouth-watering and perfect for the views of the Mediterranean Sea.! For centuries, the inhabitants of these shores have worked with the steep land and terraces for vineyards and tiny fields for cultivating olives. So local wines (primarily white), olives and high quality basil are a must try- and give the local dishes their unique and fresh flavour. The sea food ‘cones’ are an easy and wallet friendly option to sample what’s available on the go, but sitting down to enjoy a leisurely meal can truly make your time feel worthwhile in this colourful and beautifully rugged terrain.

Local Focaccia maker at Corniglia

Focaccia: This thick, spongy and soft flatbread is a must-have in Cinque Terre. Originating in the region of Liguria, properly made Focaccia has a crusty top and soft inside. Slightly salty Focaccia varies widely in flavours ranging from rosemary, garlic, pesto, tomato and many others. All villages in Cinque Terre are dotted with Focaccia bakeries, so, it is easy to find one and dig in!!

A typical mixture of sea food and vegetables in Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto: Similar to the Japanese Tempura, Fritto Mistro is a platter of different types of deep fried seafood. It can be served as friggitoria – small portions as ‘food on the go’ in paper cones from the street e stalls or as a main platter in restaurants. The sea in Liguria region is rich in seafood with bountiful daily fresh catch of prawns, squids and other small fishes, so what better way to enjoy these fruits from the sea-coated in thin crisp batter and deep fried, served with a wedge of lemon.

Anchovies - ‘pan do ma’ or bread of the sea

Fried Anchovies: The sea in and around Liguria region are teeming with anchovies which are known locally as ‘pan do ma’ or bread of the sea. Caught at night by using the traditional technique called lampara where anchovies are lured into the net by using lights. The fresh anchovies are served as fried, cured, marinated or in pasta in restaurants all around Cinque Terre. Our preferred option was the fried one which is widely available in restaurants around the villages of Cinque Terre.

Trofie pasta with pesto

Trofie Pasta with Pesto: There is an abundance of high quality basil in Liguria region. Extremely flavourful due the way it’s grown away from sun and in the shade of olive trees and vines. It is Liguria’s most iconic cooking ingredient – the pesto. Made from fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, salt and parmesan cheese this green sauce is used to prepare pasta, risotto, gnocchi etc. The trofie pasta – thin, small and twisted pasta from Liguria is considered to be the best companion for flavourful pesto!

Octopus or Polpo in combination with boiled potato

Polpo con Patate: The waters of the Ligurian sea produce some of the best octopus or polpo. This combined with boiled potato (patete), fresh herbs and olive oil creates this simple yet classic summer Mediterranean dish. Served cold or hot as an appetizer or a main dish, polpo con patate can be found in the menu of every restaurant up and down the Ligurian coast.

A Gelato shop in the village of Corniglia

Gelato: There is no bigger sin then not indulge in the rich finger-licking (literally) flavours of the gelatos in the Italian summer! All villages of Cinque Terre are lined with gelato shops offering a variety of flavours and colours often leaving kids and adult spoilt for choice! Thanks to this delicious treat, Cinque Terre was never boring for our little traveller who found his happiness in the scoops every now and then!

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