A series of small cities, all walking distance from each other. We are staying in Manarola. It is stunning. So stunning I didn't even really get any pictures of the scenery (more to come tomorrow).
We are staying at the Da Paulin - a rental agency that has a few apartments in the city. We were greeted with small glasses of Limoncino (a local specialty). We were diggin this place already.
|Limoncino upon our arrival.|
The Cinqueterre is known for certain drinks: Limoncino (lemon rind, vodka, and sugar), sciacchetra (a dessert wine, 18% alcohol, made from grapes that have almost turned to raisins, and usually served with a small cookie), and white wine.
In terms of food, the Cinqueterre is known as the birthplace of pesto (the basil grows on the mountainside), anchovies (they are caught and served fresh, not salted and canned), focaccia (the best in Italy, according to Rick Steves!), farinata (fried chickpea flour), and frutti di mare ("fruits of the sea"). The local dessert is the torta della nonna (the grandmother's cake).
Our host's recomendation for dinner was Marina Piccola. This was our view at the beginning of dinner.
This was also our view. The creepiest guy of all time. The short shorts, the sweatband on the wrist, the greasy slicked back hair. Gross. I assumed he was (New Jersey) Italian, but when he spoke he had a British accent. It almost made things worse.
Ok back to the other view during dinner. Much better.
|Sunset from Marina Piccola.|
Many restaurants are apparantly very proud of their "Frutti di Mare" - fruits of the sea - appetizers. So I ordered one. AMAZING.
I would also like to point out, to many who know Tanya, and especially Mr. Niznik and Laura (her Dad and sister), that we ACTUALLY CONVINCED TANYA TO EAT A BITE OF FISH. Please write this one down for the record books.
|Tanya, with anchovies and tomato, and about to really eat it. Also, creepy guy in the background - yuck.|
Verdict: Didn't love it, didn't hate it, didn't spit it out. It's slow and steady but we're making progress!
Meanwhile I think Doug is finally learning to love the fruits of the sea. Here is a tiny octopus he wolfed down. The appetizers were so good! So good!
|Good bye, baby octopus. You led a delicious life. Washed down with house white in the background.|
We got pesto with trofie pasta. Trofie pasta is made of flour and potato, and is specifically made to be served with pesto. It's nooks and crannies hold all the pesto-y good-ness.
|Fresh delicious pesto.|
Doug got squid ink pasta with prawns. It had pine nuts and bell peppers, with a mild tomato sauce, and was amazing.
|This may look like a plate of neatly organized dead fish, but... well actually I guess that's a correct description, but it was also one of the best seafood meals I've had. The rosemary hit it home.|
|Tanya, enjoying her pesto with a sunset background.|
The view continued to improve as the sun set. We've been eating dinner closer to 9PM, and I can see why Italy has it's dinners later - you cannot beat this warm weather and long days (or the views!)
|View from our dinner table.|
For dessert, we got the tiramisu (I think we may have gotten one in every city we've visited at this point...) and a chocolate mouse. Both delicious.
I feel like we had a really amazing, regionally specific and authentic Cinqueterre/Italian meal, which made me really happy (and full). And Tanya tried fish so we definitly had some life achievements as well :)
Fresh anchovies rule.