Italian Cuisine – Cinque Terre // Riomaggiore

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And she has returned to paradise…

Last summer I had the opportunity to travel to Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera, and my foodie heart ended up calling once more this year as I have yet to have a squid ink linguini that is at all comparable.

This time, however, I decided to make Riomaggiore my home base. It is the first of the five towns as you enter from La Spezia.

[Riomaggiore-Manarola-Corniglia-Vernazza-Monterosso al Mare]

Cue Nutella inspired gelato and lemon granitas.

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After a short (not) climb down a few flights of stairs, I typically grab a creme pastry as I found my love for them during my stay in Naples. They are incredibly light and airy and perfect! I rarely eat sugar while in the states as I physically can’t handle the processed sugar, but while abroad I’ve found that the treats such as pasties and desserts are much less sugar dense and much smaller and more delectable. This allows me to enjoy the sweets of the world without the upset stomach.

The bar I gravitate to every morning pulls my croissants fresh out of the oven for me and fills them right then and there. Follow that with a handful of fresh peaches from the fruttivendolo and top it off with a macchiato, espresso, or cappuccino and you are ready for a day of hiking and adventuring.

And it isn’t a complete experience unless you’re enjoying it out on a terrace…

(Pssst!!! If you remember back in my last Cinque Terre food post you will have heard of Marina Piccola ^^ that’s where I get the squid ink linguini and favorite local white wine)IMG_4699Prepare yourself for the barrage of pizza appreciation photos from simple margheritas, to quattro formaggio, to prosciutto cotto. The overall structure of Italian pizzas are different than that of those found in the states. The crusts are a different dough as they are a thin, yet soft consistency (yes, it gets messy). The toppings are also applied frugally yet proportionally, making the dish as a whole appear much larger than it actually is. … This is how you can justify eating an entire pizza.

*And yet, she still ends up ordering a caprese. 

IMG_4367I don’t think a day has gone by since my first day in Naples where I didn’t incorporate mozzarella into my daily ritual. Fior di Bufala is my personal favorite strand of mozzarella, but in my opinion; cheese is cheese is perfection.

I’ve noticed that Neapolitan mozzarella is more liquidy followed closely by Ischia. Sorrento has more of a grainy mozzarella, and Cinque Terre is more firm and smooth all the way through – with a flavor that is more similar to that which I am used to in the states.

The traditional caprese is simply basil, tomato, and sliced mozzarella on a plate but the variations can be atop a bed of lettuce with olives, tuna, pesto… it really just depends where you go. IMG_4772Speaking of pesto, tuna, and olives…

When selecting pasta dishes, I tend to gravitate towards simpler and lighter ingredients rather than the thick and creamy, but you know what your taste buds need.

Cinque Terre is known for their pesto, so that is an absolute MUST. After that; experiment, try, and fuel up/recover from a day full of stairs and mountain trails that seem to keep going up.

Sometimes, you simply need a little pick-me-up after a day in the sun. Luckily, you won’t find a shortage of fresh drinks to try!

I had to include my all-time favorite wine from this region ^^ It is a white wine made locally in Cinque Terre and it goes perfectly with pasta dishes, meat sauces, and seafood. IMG_4324But in all reality, the fresh fruit should be the real MVP of Cinque Terre as you can quite literally go and grab a bag of fresh fruit for incredibly reasonable prices! It is always fresh, juicy, and positively refreshing!IMG_4318

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