Visit Lombardy on a culinary tour of Italy with The International Kitchen and learn about local specialties and gastronomic delights. Lombardy is one of our favorite destinations for a culinary tour, not only because of its amazing food and culture, but also because it is a bit less known to US travelers, and therefore provides a really authentic and intimate experience. You can experience all of these our culinary tour in the Valtellina Valley, which offers 4-night and 6-night itinerary options.
What are some of the specialties you might experience on our Lombardy culinary tours in Italy?
- bitto and casera cheeses
Perhaps the most famous of dishes of this region, pizzoccheri pasta are utterly unique. They are a thick type of tagliatelle pasta made with buckwheat flour, which gives them their distinctive look. They are classically prepared with greens (either Swiss chard or a local Savoy cabbage), potatoes, and Casera cheese. This is not a light dish, but a hearty mountain dish!
Sciatt are cheese-filled fritters also made from buckwheat flour. They are made in a round shape, fried until crispy, and served usually over a bed of chickory. Their warm, liquid center is pure melted casera cheese. Fun fact: “sciatt” in the local dialect means “toad.”
Bresaola is an air-dried cured meat product in the family of prosciutto and other salumi, but it is made of beef instead of pork and is aged until it turns a very deep red color.
The most famous cheeses you will taste on a culinary tour of Italy in the Valtellina Valley are probably Casera and Bitto. Casera is a cow’s milk cheese that has a sweet flavor that hints at the mountains. It can be eaten either on its own or used in recipes.
Bitto cheese, produced near the Bitto river, is another cheese of the area and is produced only in the summer months. It is made mostly of cow’s milk to which a small percentage of goat’s milk is added. It is a ripened cheese and can be found in semi-hard and hard varieties, depending on the amount of aging.
Of course, any of these should be served if possible with local Lombardy wines, such as Sassella and Grumello, for a perfect Northern Italian experience!
Try these northern Italian specialities on a culinary tour to Italy in the Valtellina Valley. Contact us for details!
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By Peg Kern
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