The Monterossina Cake is a torte with a pastry crust and layers of sponge cake, apricot preserves, pastry cream and dark chocolate. Its best is when it’s served warm and gooey. It’s rich and decadent. Might be one of the best cakes in the world.
Spongata is a flat round cake made with a thin, crunchy pastry dough, covered with powdered sugar. It has a soft, light-brown filling with a very pronounced, spiced flavor. The original recipe was first written down at the end of the 14th century and requires three days to complete. The cake is made of toasted bread, amaretti cookies, walnuts, honey, sugar, pine nuts, raisins, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange peel and white wine. Its name comes from the Italian word for sponge, or spugna, referring to the consistency of the filling, the small holes on the outside and the sugar coating. Some people believe that spongata was brought to Italy by the Jews, while others suggest that it is a Roman dish that was kept alive during the Middle Ages thanks to the tradition of panes melati ac pepati, or spiced, honey breads. The ducal family of Este regulated the production of spongata by a special decree.
Cinque Terre has always been famous for the dessert wine, Sciacchetrà is one of them, a sweet wine made only in this small region. Given the challenge of the topography, it’s no wonder that grapes were the crop of choice, most of the wine made here is dry, however, getting to enjoy a bottle of sciacchetrà will wholly change your mind about it. The locals consider this a celebration wine, brought out for special occasions like a wedding. The first thing you notice is the color: a dark amber reminiscent more of rum or whiskey than wine. Then the nose: it’s a touch oxidized, like sherry. Next, take a sip: the liquid moves like velvet over your palate, rich and full with flavors of almond, orange and apricot, with a slight touch of honey.