“Cinquegelaterre”

Our daily adventures today led us to discover and explore the rest of the towns of Cinque Terre. While doing so, we decided to incorporate our own gelato tour. Trying gelato in each town and deciding on the best gelato makers.

We began in the fullest town north, Monterosso. Bathing suit on and ready, we immediately headed down to the beach. Monterosso is known for their beaches and supposedly have the best ones out of the five towns. I would probably agree!

We wandered around Monterroso afterwards and learned about their cliff called Punta Mesco. It now contains ancient sandstone mines which were used to pave the streets of Monterosso and other cities in the area.

Monterosso definitely has a different feel to it that both Riomaggiore and Manarola. It’s much bigger, you could stroll the streets for hours, and explore all the old sites it has to offer.

Here, I ordered the lemon and reso berry gelato which was a pretty good start. Daniel doesn’t remember what he had. It must have been that tasty!

Hopping back on the train, we ventured next to Vernazza. Like Monterroso, Vernazza is a larger town with lots to see and do. We went down to the harbour, wandered into some amazing shops, and relaxed by the water. There was one shop in town that had lemon everything, soap, drinks, olive oils, etc… It was amazing.

Here, I ordered the lemon and strawberry, and Daniel had the lemon cream and pistachio. This gelato was decent, but the previous one was still better in my mind.

Continuing our journey, we arrived in the high top town of Corniglia. This place is beautiful! The narrow, cobbled stone streets brought back memories of Venice. We climbed up numerous stairs to reach a view point, but it ended up being too dark to be able to see anything decent.

We stopped at the number one ranked gelato shop in Cinque Terre, and it was insanely delicious! Here, I ordered the lemon and mango, and Daniel ordered the Cream of Portofino and basil. Portofino was Daniels favourite of the three as well, so looks like Corniglia takes it for the win!

We skipped Manarola on our way back, since we already visited it, and heading back to Riomaggiore for our final night.

By the time we arrived in town, due to a 30 minute train delay, it was almost 11:30pm. Apparently everything in Riomaggiore closes so our only option for food was a little dive bar. We ordered a couple drinks and pizza, with low expectations, but everything was surprisingly good.

Pesto Making 101

We had a decent sleep in this morning before getting ready for our big afternoon. We of course had to partake in a local morning treat.

Boarding the train around 10am, we were on route to Manarola, the second of the five towns closest to the south. It’s actually a very short walk to Manarola from Riomaggiore, except for the fact that the trail is temporarily closed. Once we arrived and headed down the path to the marina, we were blown away by the beauty of the water and cliff side villas.

Following a path around the cove, we walked up several stairs which led us to a restaurant called Nessun Dorma. Here we would partake in a pesto making class! The Cinque Terre region is known for several things: seafood, white wine, and pesto!

We checked in with our chef Simone who then led us through our class. We were given two basil plants where we had to hand pick the leaves and place them into a bowl. Ice was then added to the top, to cover the leaves. This allows for a low oxidation for the leaves.

Next, we placed a clove of garlic and a sprinkle of salt in a mortar and smashed it around the sides until it became a liquid.

We then grabbed bundles of the basil leaves, gave them a few shakes and drained the water out of the bowl as a process of cleaning. The leaves were then added into the mortar. A handful of pine nuts were added as well. Now, these pine nuts came from Pisa and sell for a whopping €83/kg!!! Once on top, they were all mashed together.

Our next step included adding the cheese: around 1 cup of 24 month aged parmesan cheese and a small stick of 36 month aged pecorino cheese.

As the pesto became thick, the final step was to add 5 seconds worth of high quality olive oil.

And voila, our pesto was complete!

Chef Simone then gave us the low down on wine in Cinque Terre and what makes it so unique. Due to the vertical landscape of the area, all of the grapes are hand harvesting by a local cooperative, that brings in young adults to help the older wine experts and growers. The wine itself contains three types of grapes: Bosco, Albarola, and Vermintino. They also have three main tasting notes, again due to the region and landscape: minerals, salty, and dry. The wine that we tried during our class was great, and you could clearly taste the notes he explained. Because the vineyard land is limited they’re only able to produce 5000 bottles of wine each year. We definitely cherished it!

After our class was finished, we were then allowed to choose our seat in the restaurant, and were given an amazing spread of food.

The view, atmosphere, and everything surrounding us made our lunch perfect!