Over the next several weeks, Marist Italy will be posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.
Next in our series is the region of Lombardia. As we approach the holiday season, we’ve noticed that one of the regional specialties of Lombardia has already started popping up in stores. Read on to find out what it is!
Pork butchering was developed and improved in the Lombardy region due to the medicinal and therapeutic needs of the monastic orders. Today, this means that Lombardy boasts some of the best and most famous cured pork products in Italy.
Salame Brianza DOP – This cylindrical salami is one of the most common throughout Italy. The ruby red meat comes with a distinct aroma and remarkably sweet flavor.
Salami di Varzi DOP – This salami originated during the Lombard invasions. Only select pork is used to make the meat, which became very popular as far back as the 12th century. The pork is minced, and then stuffed into a casing of entrails. A finished Salami di Varzi is bright red in color with pure, white fat distributed evenly throughout. The length of aging can influence the distinctive aroma and sweet taste.
Salame d’Oca di Mortara IGP – The Po, Ticino, and Sesia rivers encompass an area perfect for goose farming because of its fresh herbs and water. The historic center of this area, known as Lomellina, is the town of Mortara. This meat, named after the historic town, is believed to have been produced to satisfy the kosher needs of the local Jewish community. In 1891, Pellegrino Artusi documented a sausage made with a mixture of goose and pork meat when there was a shortage of geese.
A list of other cured meats from Lombardia is available at http://garrubbo.com/salumi-italian-cured-meats/.
Panettone, is the Christmas Italian dessert by definition. A dome shaped cake with raisins and candied fruits whose dough requires nearly 20 hours to rise and be ready for baking.
Agri di Valtorta- Soft Ewe’s milk cheese
Bernardo- Produced only in the summer, this goat’s milk cheese has a yellow-brown crust, and is intense and aromatic.
Crescenza- Italy’s closest thing to cream cheese. A soft spreadable cow’s milk cheese, very young.
Magro di piatta- One of the lightest cow’s milk cheeses. It sets in water for 16 hours loosing all the fat. Maturing process lasts for 60 days to a year.
Mascarpone- Creamy, sweet white cream that comes from working of milk cream
Pannerone lodigiano-A whipping cream excellent in pasta and rice dishes.
Quartirolo Lombardo DOP- Table cheese from cow’s milk.
Semigrasso d’Alpe o Livigno- Cheese produced by mixing cow’s milk and goat milk. Matures for 18 months.
Silter- Semi-skimmed hard cheese from raw cow’s milk.