Category Archives: Europe – Italy

Quick Stop in Genoa – Italy

We had a 2 hour connection in Genoa on our train journey from Cinque Terre to Nice.  We decided to make use of this stop and took the metro to the city centre.

Genoa’s Cathedral…

We looked everywhere for pesto food (since pesto originated in Genoa) but couldn’t find any.. how disappointing… we got our morning coffee fix instead…

The people next to us were eating a custard-filled pastry that looked pretty good.. so when I ordered, I pointed to theirs!yumm!

We also got takeout to eat on the train…by the time we ate this, it was cold and soggy…

FAIM? un peu..

Genoa, Italy

Eating in Manarola – Cinque Terre, Italy

The sun FINALLY came out when we were in Manarola and we could see the iconic village in its splendour!

We hiked up the hill to have another view of the water and the village…

After the very mini-hike, we treated ourselves to lemon gelato and sorbet.

We made a 6:30pm reservation for sunset dinner at Trattoria dal Billy weeks in advance as it’s one of the most famous restaurants in Manarola.  We didn’t anticipate that the sun would be setting at 9:20pm… but nevertheless, the view from Billy was pretty spectacular….

marinated anchovies in lemon and olive oil….. a bit too sour and salty..

mussels

seafood spaghetti…. al dente pasta.. extremely flavourful and so much seafood! This was the first time I saw razor clam in Italian pasta!

After dinner, we headed back down to the harbour to watch the sunset.. but the clouds blocked out the sun….. We ended up having another ice-cream!

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

Trattoria dal Billy

Via Aldo Rollandi, 122, 19017 Manarola, Riomaggiore SP, Italy
Phone:+39 0187 920628

Gelato in Corniglia – Cinque Terre, Italy

The village of Corniglia is perched high on the hill and to get to the village from the train station, you have to hike 15 minutes….Pistachio and Hazelnut gelato

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

Corniglia, Cinque Terre

Eating in Vernazza – Cinque Terre, Italy

After Monterosso, we caught the train to Vernazza.  The weather was still less than stellar but the village was still very picturesque.

Despite the cold weather, I still had two ice-creams! We went to the only gelateria by the water..

I have to admit, there’s not really much to do in Cinque Terre if you don’t hike. Since we were taking the trains, we saved so much time in getting to each village. However, there’s not much to do in each village because it’s so small..

We were bored sitting around and decided to have a late afternoon snack / way-too-early dinner.

mixed seafood salad….. ordered this because I wanted to eat vegetables but turns out it was mainly seafood….. kind of bland..

mussels… very very tiny mussel…

FAIM? OUI OUI!!!

Vernazza

Cinque Terre, Italy

Eating in Monterosso Al Mare – Cinque Terre, Italy

The easiest way to get to all five Cinque Terre villages is either by hiking or taking the trains.  When we went in April, it was cold and rainy; so we decided to train instead.  It’s quite convenient to train as the inter-village trains run every hour.  We trained to the northern-most village, Monterosso, which is also the largest of the five villages.

There’s two parts to Monterosso, old and new town.  The old town is more picturesque with the signature colourful buildings.

lemons everywhere…

passed by a bakery and couldn’t resist!

baci di dama…….. sooooo good! This almond cookie is so soft and buttery.. and there’s also chocolate!

Because that chocolate cookie was so good, I decided to try their apricot cookie; however, this was hard and dry.

A minute after buying that cookie, we passed by another bakery, Wonderland Bakery….and obviously, I couldn’t resist…

got a lemon and chocolate sfogliatella…  AMAZING! crispy and flaky on the outside!

For lunch, we went to a random restaurant with a Trip Advisor Excellence sign… not too good of a choice….

we ordered a pizza with tomato, mozzarella and Italian sausage….. this was so bland…

trofie al pesto…. oily and bland…

Monteresso Al Mare

Cinque Terre, Italy

Eating in Riomaggiore – Cinque Terre, Italy

The main reason for this Italian part of the trip was to visit Cinque Terre! Cinque Terre isn’t one town but is composed of five villages along the rugged coast of the Italian Rivera.   We chose to stay at Riomaggiore, the first village for La Spezia and the southern-most of the 5 villages.

 It’s very charming.. look at all the bright colours!

For dinner the first night, we decided to eat at Il Grottino as it was raining and the restaurant was right by our apartment. Right from the start, we did not receive any service at all.  The staff was very cold towards us (no hint of smile nor made any conversion) but was friendly and attentive to the other patrons…… No points at all for the non-existent service….

The food, however, was decent…

stuffed mussels.. it’s a local speciality.. mixture of eggs, parmesan, parsley and breadcrumbs stuffed into the mussel shell.. the mussel is so tiny you could barely taste it…  It’s not worth it because you’re basically eating breadcrumbs..

seafood spaghetti…  fresh seafood, the pasta was cooked perfectly but was a bit bland…

Apart from restaurants, there are also a few take away restaurants selling fried seafood….

Across from our apartment was Mamma Mia.  We could literally smell the aroma of fried calamari from our door.

fried calamari!

I picked a mix, so it included fried anchovies…

pesto focaccia.. kinda oily…

We also found a pasta laboratory!

you pick the type of pasta and the sauce…

we picked trenette pasta and pesto sauce as both pasta and the sauce is a specialty of the region…this dish is known as trenette al pesto… It was pretty good for the price (5 euros only!) but I think my mom makes better pesto pasta.  This was too oily and didn’t have enough basil taste.

FAIM? OUI OUI!!!

Riomaggiore

Cinque Terre, Italy

A Morning in Milan

My friend and I packed in Milan’s most iconic sights / food in one morning before taking the train to Cinque Terre.

Milan’s Duomo…..

We had breakfast in  Cafe Motta, across from the Duomo… The sign says the cafe has been around since 1928….. but the receipt says Autogrill!  Autogrill is the company behind Italian highway rest-stops and it makes Italian rest-stops in a league of its own.  It has restaurants (self-service and sitting), coffee bar and supermarket.  When we were in Italy last time, we stopped in so many Autogrills on the highways.  I was shocked when I saw that Autogrill owns this cafe.

eating breakfast like the italians…. coffee and pastry from the counter…We continued on our quick-paced walk…..

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II….

By 11am.. we were onto our second “meal” of the day! We went to Luini for their famous panzerotti.

they actually have a lot of variety of baked goods / sandwiches….

this is the famous panzerotti…… fried dough filled with tomato sauce and mozarella…

 it’s sooooo good! slightly crispy on the outside, chewy dough, and hot melty cheese… slightly oily though…

we also tried a baked panazotti with ham and cheese but the fried version was a lot better…

We then continued to Via Montenapoleone, the street filled with designer shops… and Cova, one of my fav cake cafe! This is another one of my food “pilgrimages” as Cova originated in Milan.

enjoying our coffee like the Italians…

They also have bite-sized pastries…

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

Motta Caffè Bar Milano 1928

Piazza Duomo

Luini Panzerotti

Via Santa Radegonda, 16, Milano, Italy

 Cova

Via Monte Napoleone, 8, Milano, Italy