Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cinque Terre: Anchovies, Boats and Mimi

Now, I know I have been mostly writing about sewing on this blog, but I do have other passions as well, one of them being food. Since my weekend away in Cinque Terre had absolutely no sewing, I thought that I would take this moment and post about something I said I would blog about...but still haven't. So, just to be sure, there will be no sewing in this post. We will return to our normal programming tomorrow ;)
In the meantime, let's talk Cinque Terre. Not really about the place, although it was breathtaking and my calves will be sore from all the inclines, let's talk about the food. Obviously since it is a group of towns right on the water, their specialties were mostly seafood based. Also, being very close to Genoa, pesto is also abundant. I was not very prolific with my picture taking of food, but I did attempt. What pictures we did get were very specific. We will start with Riomaggiore. 

The first meal we were introduced to one of the specialties of the region: acciuga or anchovies. Usually I am not a lover of those small fish shoved into cans that permeate Caesar salads and pizza at home, but these were slightly different. They were still salty, but they were meatier. Our first lunch we split a first course of anchovies, capers and roasted peppers. A dish I would never catch myself ordering in the states, but when in Riomaggiore... 

Next up was Trofie with pesto, trofie was a certian pasta shape also typical to the region. The best way to describe trofie is to have you picture those hard chow mein noodles that you would have on a chinese-inspired know the ones I am talking about? Imagine those, slightly fuller in the middle and made out of pasta. Topped with fresh pesto, it was very good. My husband had fish. Just fresh local fish. That was the best we could get from our waitress. It was good and fresh and apparently local :)

The rest of the weekend went by in a flurry of food. Meals filled with smoked tuna carpaccio, bruschetta (pronounced as bru-sketta, don't let an Italian hear otherwise) of shrimp with arugula in pink sauce, gorgonzola stuffed gnocchi, spaghetti with clams, blueberry gelato and a frutta di bosco Bavarian (which I will have to look up what exactly a Bavarian is, all I know of one is that it was amazing).

Now there was one meal, which I did take pictures, that is worth mentioning. Not so much for the food, because we gave it about C, but just check out where our seats were:

Yes, we were actually on a cliff overlooking the town of Vernazza where we spent Saturday afternoon, where the amazing blueberry gelato lived. The food was meh:

The first picture is another anchovy dish of my husband's with potatoes, tomatoes and rosemary, but this must have been great the first time around. It looked pretty good, but tasted like last night's special. It was actually cold in the middle! Mine, the pesto lasagna was tasty, but can you see all that oil?? And it wasn't in a good way; a bit heavy for walking around on a hot day. But...this brings us to our best meal of the whole weekend! But first proof that I was actually on a boat. Those that know me are probably shocked. Are you shocked?
Now, meet Mimi. And please excuse my tired expression and lack of hairstyle, as we were traveling between Cinque Terre and Rome. Nestled in the navy port of La Spezia, we stumbled upon the best meal of the weekend.

We could hear her cooking just inside the restaurant in her kitchen, as she was all by herself during that Sunday. We had a Caprese salad with fresh ripe tomatoes and creamy mozzarella, that was perfect. Just the right amount of oil and seasoning. For my lunch, pictured above, I had tagliatelle with mushrooms and truffles. And it was amazing. Whether it was the type of pasta (maybe homemade, but definitely fresh) or the other ingredients being high quality, I will never know. What I do know, is that meal might even rival the fancy pants restaurant that we went to in Rome last weekend. And the chef there was not nearly as fun as Mimi. If you ever find yourself stuck in La Spezia, search out Mimi's. Trust me you will not be disappointed. 

The weekend was a success. Our accommodations were modest, just a clean studio apartment, but right next to the water. The man who owned the property was a character, and apparently the man who everyone knows in town. I am pretty sure his face was on one of the big murals in the center of town.  If anyone is curious, I am more than happy to share the name. As long as you are ready to sleep in an uncomfortable bed, but wanna be right in the heart of Riomaggiore, it is perfect. 

It was a relaxing weekend, filled with wine, food and Mimi. Really, can you ask for anything more?


  1. Posting about food is well liked. Want more pics of the FOOD and more Clothes! Sew woman sew.... no more dilly dallying. miss you

  2. WOW!! It looks beautiful and the food makes me want to buy a plane ticket right now. I am glad u are enjoying yourself. You deserve it!!

    Miss ya!

    Big Sis