The anchovy, a fish that plays a part of traumatic childhood memories involving the salted kind, has a whole different following in the tiny village of Monterosso al Mare in the National Park of the Cinque Terre.
Caught fresh from the shores of the Riviera, mild flavored and white-fleshed, anchovies are at their peak harvest in the months of June and July, and Monterosso celebrates their mascot in a big way.
If you are in the area, try and make it to the sagra dell’acciuga salata (the salted anchovy festival) which is usually held in mid-September. There are also festivals for the fried little fish (the sagra delle acciughe fritte, held in mid-June), as well as a lemon festival (late May) that showcases the lemon preserved kind.
Local elders of the village take their places at stands along the boardwalk leading into the piazza in the town center, cooking and serving the anchovies that their families have fished and relied on for centuries, while kids and tourists line up to snack on Monterosso’s most famous treat – it’s a great way to change your opinion on a local treat you might be hesitant to try.