Five tasting itineraries for gourmet lovers to discover the best of the Lombard culinary tradition.
1. Lodi and Raspadüra
Raspadüra is a typical dish from Lodi. Grana cheese is served in very fine shavings sliced off a Granone Lodigiano wheel or off a “young” cheese from the grana family. A special knife is used to make the Raspadüra as the cheese has to be slivered very finely to melt delicately in the mouth. It can be enjoyed on top of risotto or pasta dishes, but it can also be served as an accompaniment to an aperitif.
The area is home to numerous pig farms that provide the salami, cotechini and prosciutto that are always served in the Lodi cuisine.
For a perfect end to your meal try Tortionata, a typical crispy crumbly cake made with almonds.
You can also visit the cellars that produce San Colombano DOP by following the Strada del Vino (wine route).
The best way to discover the territory’s gastronomic heritage is to enjoy the Rassegna Gastronomica del Lodigiano food festival. From October 1st to December 4th, dairies, farmsteads, educational farms, cured meat producers and wine cellars all open their doors to visitors for tastings and guided tours.
2. Oltrepò pavese: the Wine and Flavour Trail
The Oltrepò Pavese Wine and Flavour Trail encompasses 78 municipalities along a route of approximately 60 km.
The journey through the territory’s flavours and genuine food products could start from Voghera to then descend to Liguria, visiting locations in Piedmont along the way. Amongst the wines to try are Oltrepò Metodo Classico DOCG, Cruasè and Oltrepò Pavese DOC in its many variations (Bonarda, Barbera, Sangue di Giuda and Pinot Nero).
Lots of local dishes are on offer: from agnolotti to risotto with peppers, polenta with grape must, cotechino sausages and coppa, Formaggella di Menconico delicate cheese or sweet breadsticks.
The seasonal appointment is with the Autunno Pavese, from September 30 th to October 3 th , at the Palazzo Esposizioni, where producers of wine, rice, cured meats will become ambassadors of taste. The program also includes masterclasses, tastings, show cooking, while until October 16th there will be visits to the cellar, tastings and dinners in the farmhouse and other events spread throughout the area.
3. Discovering the crotti: all the flavours of Valtellina
Crotti are natural cellars with a source of fresh air that blows between the crevices of the boulders and keeps the temperature constant all year round. They store traditional local food and wine specialties and some offer tastings comprising salami, such as bresaola, and cheeses like Bitto and Valtellina Casera with the DOP certification.
Some of the best local dishes to taste are sciatt (small buckwheat pancakes stuffed with cheese) or pizzoccheri, buckwheat pasta strips cooked with cabbage and potatoes then creamed with butter and cheese, or the famous polenta taragna, topped with lots of cheese and butter. If you have some space left for dessert, don't miss the bisciola, also called Pan di fich or Panettone Valtellinese, a sweet loaf enriched with dried fruit, butter, eggs and, in some recipes, even honey.
Autumn is the right season to learn about this heritage of flavors, thanks to the many festivals and festivals dedicated to the excellence of the Valtellina territory. It starts on October 1st with Gustosando in Valtellina, a series of food and wine itineraries between villages and historic cellars of Gerola Alta, Talamona, Traona, Albaredo for San Marco and Mello and on the Wine Trail.
On October 2nd, in Chiavenna and surroundings, is the Dì della Brisaola, to get to know the artisan producers and taste the typical product. The Weekends of taste animate the weekends (until November 27th) in the capital of pizzocchero, Teglio: mushrooms, game and other typical autumn products will be the protagonists of the menus of the restaurants in the area.
The tasty autumn ends with the Mostra del Bitto in Morbegno (15 and 16 October) and the Valtellina Wine Trail, a race through vineyards, historic cellars and villages on the road from Tirano to Sondrio, on 12th November.
4. Montisola – Lago d’Iseo: lake fish.
A culinary tradition of Lake Iseo is the drying and conservation of fish: sardines, chub or perch.
The washed and gutted fish are laid in salt for 24 hours. When removed they are washed again and placed in the sun for 5/10 days in parallel rows on ash wood arches. After drying, they are carefully placed, pressed and separated from the air by a layer of oil, inside metal containers.
After a few months, the fish can be eaten as soon as it is removed from the container or cooked on the grill for a few minutes, usually served with oil, aromatic herbs and polenta. This typical dish based on lake fish can be eaten in all the restaurants in Montisola, naturally always accompanied by Franciacorta wine.
Tench from Lake Iseo is the main ingredient of another recipe whose origins date back to the nineteenth century: “tinca ripiena” (stuffed tench). The fish is filled with cheese, bread and spices, baked in terracotta dishes with generous dose of butter, and is served with polenta.
Every year in the third week of July, Clusane d'Iseo offers the traditional culinary event "Settimana della Tinca al Forno con Polenta", during which all the associated restaurants will taste their baked tench recipe in a fixed price menu.
5. Cremona: the home of nougat and much more.
A Cremonese specialty to try are the mixed boiled meats: hen, stuffed capon and beef served with whole fruit Cremonese Mostarda and with a selection of vegetable-based sauces.
The local restaurants also offer the typical cured meats of the area: garlic salami, sweet cotechino alla vaniglia, salame da pentola (ready to cook salami), salsiccia and verzini sausages.
Amongst the many delicious Cremonese desserts, Torrone (nougat) is one of the symbols of Christmas throughout Italy but also famous and delicious are the Baci di Cremona, hazelnut flour biscuits sandwiched with a filling of chocolate, jam or whipped cream.
From 7th to 9th October 2022 Cremona Salami Festival with a rich program of collateral events designed to enhance the history and culture related to the most famous and loved sausage in the world. There will be guided tastings, cooking shows, challenges between farmhouses, entertainment and workshops dedicated to children.
The Nougat Festival takes place every year in November: this year's appointment will be from November 12th to 20th.