The area of Cinque Terre is one of the most popular in Italy. The five little villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are especially known for the beauty of their landscapes, the sea and the food; however another thing these lands are famous for, it’s their winemaking tradition which still is a huge part of the Cinque Terre cuisine.
The wine production here is quite peculiar and not that easy!
First of all, the amount of wine produced is limited, and that’s because the area itself is not that big. That’s why if you visit these villages you’ll see a lot of terraced vineyards, created to make room for the grape growing. These strips of land called in italian “terrazzamenti” are surrounded by little walls made by stones, known as “muretti a secco”.
Along with the “terrazzamenti” something that helps a lot is the mild climate and the permeable soil. The winemaking have also seen an evolution since the ’70s when the winegrowers started using some equipment to help the process.
The most famous one? The typical monorail system used to carry the grapes!
If you are in the region, there might be several things you would like to taste!
First of all there is the typical dry white wine “Cinque Terre Doc” (Doc stands for protected designation of origin and it means that all the grapes used are from this area). It is prepared using three different kinds of grapes: Bosco, Vermentino and Albarola.
Since it’s a dry and savory wine, it goes well with a lot of the Cinque Terre food specialities, especially seafood, anchovies, fried fish and focaccia.
Anyway the most famous wine here is the Sciacchetrà (Sciachetrà in dialect); this is a straw wine produced with the very same grapes used for the white Cinque Terre Doc: Bosco, Vermentino and Albarola.
The Bosco variety is great because of its thick skin which is perfect for the drying process. Sciacchetrà is very different from any other wine and the process to prepare it is not the easy. This wine is very sweet, that’s why it matches well both with desserts and savory food (such as tasty cheese like gorgonzola or spicy cheese), but it’s great also tasted by itself since it has the minimum alcohol content of 17 percent.
According to the legend the Sciacchetrà it has been created by a very old and wise man to pacify the five villages that were fighting; since the dispute was endless, the old and wise man asked each village to give him some grape from their own village. Some time later the man showed up with a cup of some of the most excellent wine. The old man explained that the wine was the result of the grapes of the five villages mixed together. From that moment all the people started living in peace. Of course this is just a legend you can hear from the local people, real or not, what is sure is that this wine has always been appreciated, so give it a try!
If you are planning your holidays in this region, you will not be disappointed by its food and wines.
Since we are talking about drinking, we should also mention the “limoncino” liquor; as a matter of fact, the best food in Cinque Terre requires a good ending, that’s why after eating you might want to try the limoncino, and the village of Monterosso is very famous for it! Here you can find a lot of lemon trees growing spontaneously.
Limoncino is actually pretty easy to prepare your own, the only thing you really need are good lemons!
They must not be treated with chemical substances because you will use their peel.
What you should do? Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
All you have to do is to peel the lemons being careful to not peel the white part of them, otherwise your limoncino would be too bitter. Then put the lemon rinds in a pint of alcohol and leave them there for about a month; when thirty days are passed, just prepare a syrup with water and sugar and let it cool down. Lastly mix the syrup and the alcohol together and let it rest for about two weeks.
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