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The Alta Valtellina is a land of flavors from the past and its cuisine is simple and genuine, and is based on the local products specific to these mountains, that come from fields that for long months are frozen or covered with snow. The geographical and agrarian bases are very different, from livestock to game, from the products of the pasture to those of the forest, from wine to cheese.
The specific ingredients of our local recipes are those offered by our land (that can be grown here). Among others, buckwheat and rye, used both as grain and for flour, potatoes, butter, cheeses of Alps, the cured meats, polenta Taragna, venison, mushrooms, and honey. And, of course, plenty of grapes, the basis for our Valtellina wines.
The menu of the perfect “Valtellinese”
We invite you to enjoy the flavors of our local culinary specialties, and for this we have chosen from the most typical dishes, those that are the most famous, and also perhaps, the easiest to prepare.
Begin to whet your appetite with an appetizer of Bresaola, beef (usually beef, but sometimes deer) salted and dried and consumed, preferably, thinly sliced and without condiments. Enjoy it accompanied by a dish of Sciatt, small pieces of local cheese, dipped in buckwheat batter, and quickly fried, typically served on a lightly dressed bed of salad. Or try the Bresaola with Taroz, which is a tasty purée of potatoes, beans, cheese, and butter.
To follow, of course, is the legendary Pizzoccheri, made of buckwheat tagliatelle (ribbon shaped pasta) seasoned with cheese, potatoes, cabbage, celery or fennel, sage, and butter. Alternatively, try the taste of Manfrigole, crepes of buckwheat and white flour, stuffed with cheese and Bresaola, and seasoned with other ingredients typical of the Alta Valtellina.
For your main course, the Polenta Taragna, made with buckwheat flour, butter and cheese, and accompanied by stew of deer and game, with Porcini mushrooms as side dish. Before dessert, enjoy some small pieces of our local cheese; Casera, Scimudin, or Bitto—the king among the Valtellina dairy production. As a dessert, a slice of Bisciöla, a rustic cake with walnuts, figs, and raisins.
Of course, your dinner wouldn’t be complete if not accompanied by the fine wine from the Valtellina, of which the best know include Sassella, Grumello, Inferno, and Sfursat. And, after the Pignattino coffee, it’s time for a toast with a local grappa or a local amaro (a slightly bitter after dinner drink), Braulio, Taneda, or Genepy