Table of Contents
- 0.1 Destination: Monterosso Al Mare
- 0.2 Mode of Transport: Farinata Di Ceci
- 0.3 Farinata
- 0.4 The dish was created in Genoa
- 0.5 Monterosso Al Mare
- 0.6 2 Euro for 1/2 a pan
- 0.7 It’s Gluten-Free
- 1 Short Travel Guide to Monterosso Al Mare:
- 2 Where to Eat in Monterosso Al Mare:
- 3 Books we used for Cinque Terre:
Destination: Monterosso Al Mare
Mode of Transport: Farinata Di Ceci
On June 4, 2014, my blog post was about a flat pancake called Socca we first tried in Antibes, Provence. This past July, we traveled to a region in Italy that we’ve never been before, The Cinque Terre on the Ligurian coast of Italy (if you follow this coastline toward France, you’ll get to Antibes).
After some research, I had a few dishes that I jotted down in my travel checklist of foods to try while at the Cinque Terre. One of them was a crepe, made of chickpea flour called Farinata. Just like Socca, which hails from Nice, France; it is made with only 4 ingredients: chickpea flour, water, salt and extra virgin olive oil – that’s it, basta!
Why, how and where did this dish originate from in Italy? According to Manuela Zangara, a food blogger at Manu’s Menu, who adopted a recipe from Giallo Zefferano, there is a legend about Farinata and it goes something like this:
The dish was created in Genoa
The dish was created in 1284 when the city of Genoa defeated the city of Pisa in the Battle of Meloria. On the way back home, the ship encountered a tempest. Barrels of olive oil and chickpea flour were on board and were mixed together during the storm. Instead of wasting, the crew decided to keep it out on the sun to dry and had a feast.
Great story, right? I wonder if it’s legend or a real story? Well, we had a quest of our own – to eat this crepe.
Monterosso Al Mare
We stayed in the town of Monterorosso Al Mare, which is the largest town of the Five Lands in Cinque Terre. It was also the best town for families because it has the most restaurants, activities and the longest stretches of beach.
On our first day, we already saw signs of the Farinata when we stopped to have our aperitivo hour at Enoteca Da Eliseo. There was a couple sitting next to us who was eating, what looked like a flat, crispy crepe, served in a brown paper bag with wax paper – I was sure it was a farinata.
I didn’t want to stare or ask them about it while they were eating it, because it felt a bit rude. I knew it wasn’t something that the Enoteca served because they only serve drinks and very small bites along with the aperitifs. We both thought it was so nice that the owners let them have their snack at the bar, you can’t do that here in NYC. I whispered to Andrew that we MUST find this dish tomorrow!
The next day, we didn’t have to look so hard. There are only 3 streets in the old town (which is where we stayed) and as we walked the biggest road, Via Roma, there was a brick colored building with a big sign: FARINATA! We ran in. There were all sorts of pizzas, focaccias and breads but no Farinata! What the….? We asked the lady, “perdón signora, farinata?” She replied: “mezzogiorno” (noon).
Curious we thought…noon? Everything else was already prepared but noon for the farinata, there must be a reason but unfortunately, we never found out.
2 Euro for 1/2 a pan
Anyway, we went back right at noon and placed on a stand on its own, on a giant pan with nothing else but a big crepe of FARINATA – I felt like I found gold! The nice lady serves it by weight, so we, the gluttonous three, of course had to order, not one but 2 slices each. Guess how much it was for 6 slices, the equivalent of ½ the whole pan of Farinata? 2 Euro…amazing, it would be $2 each in NYC!
As you can imagine, we absolutely loved it. It was crispy on the outside and the edges and chewy. It tasted like it had cheese in it but am not sure. It was so simple and so good. We went back several times to eat farinata during our week in Monterosso Al Mare and every bite was perfect! Oh, and it’s gluten-free, for those allergic to gluten.
If you liked this dish, please share it with your friends! Come on over to the site, and tell us in the comments, if you’d had this dish or any other that is similar? We’d love to know your experiences.
Short Travel Guide to Monterosso Al Mare:
Make sure to read about another of our travel stories to get more details and inspiration on Cinque Terre here
Getting to Cinque Terre:
Fly into Genoa Airport (North) and from there you can take the Trenitalia train to Cinque Terre, towards Pisa (South). The first stop from Genoa would be Monterosso Al Mare, then Vernazza, then Cornelia, Manarolo and last Riomaggiore. Make sure you know which way your train is headed. Also, make sure to validate your ticket on one of the yellow validating machines before boarding train.
Where to Stay in the Cinque Terre (Monterosso Al Mare):
In July 2014, we stayed at the Albergo Marina which is located in Monterosso Al Mare, in the old town. In our opinion, Monterosso Al Mare was the best of the 5 towns to stay in, especially for families with kids because it is the biggest one.
Which mean, more beach, more restaurants and basically more conveniences. The hotel was fantastic. It’s owners are very hands-on. They have wi-fi (although not extremely reliable at times), a mid afternoon snack, breakfast, beach towels, equipment and tote bag – all included in the price.
TIP: if you are going to stay in this hotel, when you get out of the train station, just turn left towards the tunnel, walk through it and past the tunnel is the old town. There will be 3 streets the one all the way to the left is Via Buranco, that’s where you’ll find Marina’s hotel.
Where to Eat in Monterosso Al Mare:
Albergo Marina has a restaurant down the street, it’s tiny but the food and service was great.
Bar Midi is where we had cappuccino and machiatto everyday.
Ristorante Da Ely – has great pasta, local seafood and pizza.
Enoteca Da Eliseo – we spent aperitivo hour here almost everyday we were there.
Shopping in Monterosso Al Mare:
Lanapo – Fantastic sandals – I bought a pair when I was there.
Fabricca D’arte – Beautiful handmade products – Bailey bought a T-shirt there.
Books we used for Cinque Terre: