🍷 I “met” Jill via social media and a mutual fondness for vino! When I reached out to her to join our trek along the Italian Wine Trails, she was quick to respond and share a fun wine and food tale from Liguria…
🍷Finding Food & Wine Along the Italian Riviera! 🍷
We arrived in Santa Margherita hungry. It was getting dark and the ride from Provence, through Monaco and onto Liguria, had been exciting, with no true-North left after so much to take in. We had two nights in Liguria and the first thing on our mind, naturally, was food and wine.
At a harbor-side café a lady-in-leopard and her matching dog ate fava beans so long they extended beyond the edge of her plate. We ordered a bottle of local red wine (what we drank, if you can believe it, has been lost to memory) and several pizzas, drizzled in red pepper olive oil and dressed with artichoke, mushroom and prosciutto. There was conversation, and laughter and what I remember most was a feeling of savoring. In our travels, this emotional state has a term: basking. We basked our way through Santa Margherita, and the next day in the villages of the Cinque Terre.
It must be said that we did much, much more basking than hiking, having been told by a shopkeeper in Riomaggiore that rocks were falling onto the paths, trails were closed. Only half-sad that we couldn’t make the most of it, we headed to the port and found a seat for four on rocks with a view of dreamy wooden ships, sleeping away the afternoon on diamond blue waters. Apricot nectar and paper cones of fried seafood sustained us. Plus gelato.
We snacked later that day on a Caprese salad in Montorosso-al-Mare while we shared a bottle of Begasti Vino Merlot 2013, which wasn’t at all what we expected but it was what showed up on our table. Dinner that evening was back at Santa Margherita, with pasta and grilled prawns and mussels in white wine sauce. Lots and lots of pastries for dessert.
During each night in Santa Margherita we settled into wine bars, each outstandingly generous with their charcuterie and cheese plates. Each elegantly refined in the polishing of decanters and glasses. Though I didn’t take great notes on what we drank, it is this ritual of generosity and refinement that I’ve taken down in stone. We’ve recalled the grace of opening and pouring a bottle when the moment is just-right and we draw that memory in the Liguria file. The way things are done there.
Our last night there was a Saturday, and we stayed up late at the wine bar, tuned in to techno music, most of it in English. Though we went to bed, the town was still at full-speed. We’d left our shutters open, hoping for sounds of the harbor, but instead we heard calls in Italian, signals that we were missing the second-half of the party. It is also this that I will remember: the impression that there is still much to do in Liguria.🍷Jill Barth is the author and founder of L’occasion, awarded Best Wine Blog and Best Writing on a Wine Blog. She writes about wine, travel and food with a focus on Southern France and is a Provence Wine Master candidate. She also writes fiction. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @jillbarth.