“I could house another meat and cheese board” and other Cinque Terre culinary adventures…

Walking along a popular shopping street in Monterosso, a beautiful creation caught my eye: A platter of antipasto including cured meat, cheese and vegetables served to a couple sitting outside what appeared to be a tiny charcuteria. I knew immediately that I wanted whatever that was. We commandeered the table next to our fellow guests while I popped inside and ordered “una otra” and pointed to the platter, and “due bicchiere di vino rosso.”

A sign on the outside of the shop, Da eraldo, advertised “tigelle,” a pita-like flat bread the size of your palm, a basket of which were served with the platter. We used them like pita, ripping them in half, opening them up like a pocket and filling them with the paper-thin charcuterie and cheese. This fortuitous little find turned out to be one of our most memorable dining experiences in Cinque Terre. I can also attest to the fact that we ate every scrap of the antipasto, which was evident by the engraved outline of Italy on the top of the wood cutting board after we munched it clean.

The five towns of the Cinque Terre have no shortage of amazing eateries and my previous posts give a snapshot of my favorites. Here I’ve compiled a summary, separated by town and encompassing a wide variety of choices from takeaway focaccia to fine dining. Two I haven’t mentioned up until this point:

  • Bar Centrale in Riomaggiore is a great spot for coffee or a drink but their breakfast is also fantastic. The pesto omelette is delicious and even better when you order a breakfast dessert of strawberries in lemon and sugar.
  • Il Pirun is an enoteca in charming Corniglia. We didn’t eat there but it’s also a great wine bar eponymous for the unique wine carafe with a long anteater snout-like pour.
  • Gelateria Cinque Terre is home to the incredible “Loveria” gelato, I’ve deemed “what peanut butter wishes it tasted like”. Pistachio crème combined with chocolate and vanilla. Don’t order any other flavors, this is all you need.

Cinque Terre – Dining in Review

Riomaggiore:

Manarola:

Corniglia:

Vernazza:

Monterosso:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

© Jennifer Konopasek and GoodTravelerKarma, 2014.

Advertisements

Cinque Terre Oasis: Buranco Winery

“Don’t come here. It’s terrible. And crowded…Just kidding, it’s heaven.” This was Becky’s caption as she posted a photo of Buranco Winery and I couldn’t agree more.

On the morning of her birthday, I found Becky sitting in the window of her room in our little Riomaggiore flat looking at the ocean. While I got ready for our day, Becky went to our favorite focacceria Te La Do Io La Merenda, and picked up some focaccia for breakfast on our terrace.  Fortified for the day, we headed out on the train to Monterosso, the largest of the five Cinque Terre towns, to locate Buranco Winery.

It turns out the vineyard wasn’t too hard to find, just a quick walk uphill from the center of town.  A cheerfully painted wine barrel greeted us at the entrance, and when we walked in, we saw the main house and a spacious patio looking over to the valley below and the vines on the hill above. When we arrived, there were only two other people visiting the winery: an American couple who departed shortly after we were served our first glass of the tasting. After that, it was just Becky and I soaking up the sun, looking out over the vines, and enjoying a generous wine flight and little plate of complimentary bruschetta. We then decided to sample Buranco’s olive oil and honey, and finally, one more glass of wine as we watched paragliders soar over the Ligurian hillside. The local wine was lovely, but instead of a bottle of red, I had to take home what turned out to be a very large bottle of grassy olive oil.  Well worth it to add the extra weight to my suitcase.

All told I think we were at Buranco a grand total of four blissful hours. The great thing was that the helpful staff had no interest in ushering us off – they were quite happy to have us visit as long as we wanted. And as a result, we really didn’t want to leave!  Becky and I really couldn’t believe our luck to have this incredibly beautiful place all to ourselves – such a great birthday present for Becky!  Buranco is also an agriturismo – a local inn on site of a working farm – and if the service for a tasting is any indication, I’m sure it’s a welcoming place to stay. I will have to try it on my next visit!

As the afternoon wore on, we decided it was probably best we continue Becky’s birthday in Manarola, as we wanted to have dinner at the home of the tastiest pesto we found on our last trip, Trattoria Il Porticciolo.  This was the point at which we decided it would be a great idea to take a boat to Manarola as opposed to the train. And this is when we ended up hitching a ride on a boat to Vernazza instead, refreshing ourselves with gelato at the other fabulous Il Porticciolo, the best gelateria in Vernazza. After a lovely afternoon in Vernazza, we made it to Manarola, only to find that Il Porticciolo was closed. We enjoyed the “magic hour” and sunset in Manarola, maybe the most picturesque of the Cinque Terre towns, before heading back to Riomaggiore. Dinner was at another of our favorite spots from the last trip, Veciu Muin, for a trio of spaghetti. Tasty and reasonably priced, this place is no frills but good quality, and easy stumbling distance from our Riomaggiore apartment.

I think it would be hard to have a bad day in Cinque Terre, but this was a pretty incredible day, to say the least. 🙂 Grazie, famiglia Buranco!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

© Jennifer Konopasek and GoodTravelerKarma, 2014.