The most traditional trades in the Cinque Terre have always been agriculture - made possible by manmade terraces on the steep hillsides - and fishing. The wine production (two DOC wines in such a tiny area!) and the local recipes are an ongoing testimony of the local history and traditions.
Many kinds of citrus fruits are cultivated throughout Ligury. Lemons, in particular, have a tradition going back to the seventeenth century. In this region the soil and the climate are so favorable that they can be cultivated without any chemical additives. Local use them as the main ingredient in jams, cookies, pies, sweets and a liqueur called “limoncino”.
The Cinque Terre Honey is as special as the area it originates from. The coastal, rocky surroundings are home to a great variety of plants, such as marine fennel, rue, thyme, euphorbias and all the other flora known as “Mediterranean scrub”. This plants, together with the marine breeze and the year-round sun exposure, contribute to the uniqueness of the honey.
Cinque Terre olive oil is produced in extremely limited quantity, as it’s only made of olives sourced from within the National Park of the Cinque Terre. The trees are planted on the typical terraces and the olives are harvested with the help of nets spread under the trees. The result is a delicious olive oil, light and bright golden yellow.
As the whole region spreads directly along the seaside, fish plays a big role in local cuisine! The famous “Anchovies of Monterosso” are something special among all the fresh sea produce. The are layered in big pots with a very salt-heavy brine, becoming plump and tasty and perfectly preserved. Try them with oil, oregano and garlic as a starter, cooked with tomatoes as a pasta sauce or deep fried as a main dish!
Even if the steep hills mean that growing wines is a complicated and energy consuming activity, the Cinque Terre are a winemaking region! The three local varieties (Vermentino, Bosco and Albarola) are used to produce a fresh white wine and a delicious sweet wine. The Schiacchetrà DOC is a dessert wine made from partially dried grapes. It’s refined in oak casks for at least one and a half years and is the perfect accompaniment for sweets or cheeses. It can be aged for many years! The Cinque Terre DOC is a light, floral white wine best enjoyed young and chilled. It goes perfectly with local pasta and fish dishes.