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In Bormio, and the neighboring towns of the Alta Valtellina, gastronomy and handicrafts mix together in the local culture. Both are intertwined with ancient customs, and they stand out as facets of a past, that today, is still very much alive. Bormio’s inhabitants have a strong identity with these elements of the past, which they recognize in themselves, whenever they enjoy a tasty plate of Pizzoccheri or peep into the shoemaker’s shop.
Simple but substantial food, to fight the winter cold
Bormio’s cuisine, inspired by the fragrances of the mountains, is simple, hearty, and very tasty. The main ingredients for dishes in the Alta Valtellina are provided by the earth, the products of local farms. Pure and simple dishes, eaten over the centuries by rich and poor alike, are based on cheese, butter, potatoes, and buckwheat, and provide the warm and filling energy necessary for the long mountain winters.
The ideal places to sample and taste the rich flavors of Bormio and the Alta Valtellina are in the many restaurants, and the local agriturismo, which are restaurants whose dishes are based on their own production. During the summer season there are many alpine feasts and festivals, where the local dishes are prepared according to the original recipes.
A few of the local dishes that stand out, and which must be sampled during your visit include without a doubt Pizzoccheri, the Sciatt, Manfrigole, Polenta Taragna with game, and bisciöla. Additionally, single ingredient local specialties that accompany most meals—and which you must try—include Bresaola, Slinziga, the local cheeses, honey, and of course, the wonderful wines of the Valtellina and the local amari.
Land of carpenters, blacksmiths, and cobblers
The fine handicrafts of Bormio are based on the use of raw materials supplied by nature and by the mountains. Wood, stone, iron, leather, and wool (for the making of the pezzotti, a local carpet/rug), are just some of the elements which are used to create works that are handed down from one generation to the next, often for centuries. Many of these hand crafted items consist of furniture, or items of common use, but over time they become artifacts of history and are sought after as antiques. Crafts, in the Alta Valtellina, are typically built on the workmanship of three main trades: the Leñamejr (the carpenter), the Ferejr (the blacksmith), and the Sciober (the shoemaker).