I have a good friend Rita who, with her husband Richard has retired to Italy. Living in Liguria, near to the Tuscan border they are not far from the Cinque Terre. Last April I was sick of the constant dreariness of the English winter and was in dire need of an Italy fix. Rita came to my rescue and off we went (my husband who is also not averse to an Italy fix came too).
Unfortunately the weather was pretty wild when we got there but we didn’t care. Richard and Rita plied us with Prosecco and lots of Aperol Spritz and took us off to see the Cinque Terre in the wind and the rain. The Cinque Terre are five villages that are perched on the cliffs of the Ligurian coast (Terra is an old word for village). In the summer they are heaving with tourists but the wild weather meant that there was not so many people about so we got to see the villages pretty much as they were before they became so popular.On the way back to Rita’s we called in at the local bakery and I was introduced to the local speciality Farinata which is a chickpea flour pancake.. A rustic, blistered pancake showered with black pepper it is served up and down the coast of Liguria and also in the south of France. As with crepe batter, this batter needs to sit before being used. One hour is the minimum, but you can make up the batter up to twelve hours in advance – the longer it sits the better. You must use Italian chickpea flour and not the Indian type. Farinata is delicious with a crisp white wine and a few chunks of strong cheese.
Another adventure we had while we were there was a visit to a large wine merchants. You could go and fill your large plastic containers full of wine from a petrol pump- like contraption.. It seemed a very good idea to me and when I tasted the wine that came out of them I was well impressed.