Valle d'Aosta, flavours at high altitude
Have you reached this earthly paradise? Then make yourself comfortable and examine the cheese menu, firstly with Fontina, the queen of Valle d'Aosta products. You will be able to recognise it by its sweet flavour and straw-yellow colour, paler in the cheeses produced in winter, when the cows are fed with hay, and deeper in summer production.
These are followed by delicacies such as Gressoney toma cheese, salignon, reblec, brossa, seras and goat cheeses, each with its own story to tell. Listen and taste them all.
Go on to classics such as Valdostana-style chops, polenta concia and ”soupe valpellineintze” (Valpellina-style soup); venison, chamois in salmì (in “civet”), trout, “carbonade”, a beef stew, and fondue, a single dish made with cheese, melted in a dedicated pot, to be consumed hot, are also excellent.
Enjoy sausages, such as Vallee d'Aoste jambon de Bosses, a specially matured ham, Boudin with a refined taste, Saouseusse, seasoned minced meat, Lard d'Arnad, soft lard, Teuteun, salted beef udder, Motzetta, aromatic dried meat.
The Alpine microclimate is the joy of apples, which develop intense flavours here. Try the Red and Gold delicious, Jonagold and Renetta: raw or cooked, they are sweet and versatile, the basis of smoothies, sweet or savoury jams, to be served with fine dishes.
Last but not least, desserts and wines. For the first courses, try the tegole, torcettini - typical regional biscuits - and the blanc manger alla valdostana with cream; for the second courses, place of honour to all, such as the whites Muller-Thurgau and Pinot noir (vinified in white) and the reds Pinot noir, Gamay, Torrette, Nus Rouge.
Had too much to eat? Here's a shot of Genepì, a digestive made from alpine herbs, artemisia.