10 foods to eat and drink in Cinque Terre - Liguria, Italy

Stefan (interaction designer & co-founder) took a break from hacking and left for a week long vacation to Genoa, Italy. I realized that by using tags, I can use Cuuks to compile a list of interesting foods for him to try. I used the tag liguria for the ingredients and compositions listed below. (Tags can be typed into the search bar on www.cuuks.com)

Last month I was staying with friends in Cavi. It was a fantastic time for me in terms of experiencing outstanding food. The people in Liguria are food fanatics and enjoy talking about it. They all agree that no other place on earth has healthier and better tasting ingredients than the ones they enjoy every day. Here is a list of scrumptious food to taste when visiting Cinque Terre and Liguria:

1. Foccacia: You need to taste it again. It’s a different story here. A religion almost. To understand, get it fresh and plain from a panificio, then move on to the famous Foccacia di Recco made with fresh, light and salty cheeses (formaggetta and stracchino). When well made, the consistency is similar to a very thin and salty cheesecake.

2. Anchovies (acciughe marinate): Marinated in lemon juice, white wine vinegar and olive oil
Some say that the anchovies of Monterosso have a particularly well-balanced flavor. I could eat them every day especially when paired with a glass of…

3. Vermentino (tagged: grape, varietal, floral, mineral, honey, resinous). You might find a place where you can get some straight from the barrel (vino sfuso), filled into PET bottles. That cheap house wine is often very good. Another great white, the Cinqueterre is made of at least 40% of Bosco grape, and up to 40% of Vermentino and/or Albarola. A perfect aperitivo. During this evening ritual it is customary for restaurant to kepp the small bowls on your table permanently filled with free salty snacks. And you stay a bit longer and maybe order another glass to go with the sunset.

4. Olive oil – Ligurian olive oils are delicate and fruity. Many have a hint of bitterness which is part of their character. It is worth bringing a few bottles home.

5. Pansoti con salsa di noci: Pasta stuffed with ricotta, borage flower and herbs topped with salsa di noci: a sauce made of walnuts, walnut oil, bread,garlic, marjoram, olive oil and cream. This has become a staple menu item in Liguria. Choose wisely my friend and don’t fall into a tourist trap.

6. Ricotta cheese from Val d’Aveto and and Val Graveglia. It is used in ravioli and sweet cakes. The fresh whey cheese tastes really good with foccacia and local olive oil.

7. Pesto Genovese is traditionally ground in a mortar and consists of basil, garlic, salt, olive oil, pine nuts (or walnuts) and a mixture of parmigiano-reggiano and pecorino sardo.
Trofie (rolled strip of pasta cut into little pieces and twisted into their final shape) and Trennete (flat, dried ribbon) are classic pasta varieties to eat with Pesto Genovese.

8. Fish and seafood. Fish and seafood play a very important role in the local cuisine. I’m a big fan of sea bass (spigola/branzino), gilt-head bream(orata), mackerel (sgombro) , sea bream (pagro) and huge servings of mussels (cozze).

9. Chickpeas. Used in Farinata. A hard-to-describe mixture between a pizza and a pancake, with a unique texture. Consists of chickpea flour, water and olive oil. It is usually eaten plain, but sometimes seasoned with rosemary, black pepper and sea salt.

10. Sciacchetrà – Amber colored straw wine. Sweet but not overly so with mineral elements. The grapes are dried in the sun, handselected, processed by natural fermentation. Apricot, pineapple, herbs, citrus and benzaldehyde (bitter almond) aromas are often present. Low yields make it rare and famous. People say they can taste the sea in this wine.

The ingredients listed in bold are tagged with liguria on www.cuuks.com (click on ‘more suggestions’ to see the whole list) Make your own compositions with these e buon appetito!

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