Regional Flavors of Italy – Valle d’Aosta

By Alessandra Bianco, MA 2013-14

Next in our series is the region of Valle d’Aosta. Your Marist Italy Blog editor visited this tiny region in the northern part of Italy over the weekend and absolutely fell in love. With breathtaking views of the Alps and castles galore, what’s not to love? But if you visit, what should you eat? Read on to find out…  

aosta wiiki

Cured Meats

Taken from http://garrubbo.com/salumi-italian-cured-meats/.

Valle d’Aosta Jambon de Bosses DOP – This cherished product of the Saint-Rhemy-en-Bosses region dates back to at least 1397. The 7 kilo finished product is salted, naturally aged, and uncooked. An outer coating of hard, shiny fat covers the red interior of Valle d’Aosta Jambon de Bosses. The flavor of this cured meat can be described as somewhat gamey, with salty and sweet accents.
Valle d’Aosta Lard d’Arnad DOP – This specifically produced and aged pork lard has been made in the Valle d’Aosta region for over two centuries. A white outer layer, streaked with meat, covers the pinkish-white lard interior. The artisans who make Valle d’Aosta Lard d’Arnad take much pride in their traditional methods, and the quality of their product reflects this sense of dedication to detail. This lard is produced exclusively in the town of Arnad within the Valle d’Aosta.

Hearty, Hearty

When you live in the mountains, what better way to warm up than with delicious soups and stews?
Minestra di castagne e riso – A porridge of rice and chestnuts, simmered in milk until it becomes thick.
Polenta alla rascard – Corn meal mush, chilled and sliced, then layered with a thick beef and sausage ragout and Fontina cheese.
Risotto alla valdostana – Creamy rice with Fontina cheese, butter, tomatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Image © http://mazzonehospitality.com/tasting-room/2014/02/angelos-tavolo-tasting-menu-val-d-aosta-italy-february-18th-february-21st/
Image © http://mazzonehospitality.com/tasting-room/2014/02/angelos-tavolo-tasting-menu-val-d-aosta-italy-february-18th-february-21st/

Seupa de gri – Barley soup made with fresh or dried mushrooms, chestnuts and almonds, potatoes, and seasoned with onions and salt pork.
Seupa à la valpellinentze – Savoy cabbage, Fontina cheese, ham and rye bread, simmered in beef broth with salt pork, spices and herbs.
Carbonade – Beef stew made with salt preserved beef, onions, and red wine, served with polenta.
Capriolo alla valdostana – Venison and vegetables stewed in an herb flavored cream and grappa sauce.

Fondue
Valle d’Aosta recipes are known for their sweet cheese, Fontina. This cheese is particularly used as fondue.

Secondi Piatti
Costoletta alla valdostana – Breaded veal cutlet, fontina
cheese, white truffle cream, crispy speck.

Image © http://mazzonehospitality.com/tasting-room/2014/02/angelos-tavolo-tasting-menu-val-d-aosta-italy-february-18th-february-21st/
Image © http://mazzonehospitality.com/tasting-room/2014/02/angelos-tavolo-tasting-menu-val-d-aosta-italy-february-18th-february-21st/

Desserts
“Fruit from the Alps is very sweet and many desserts are prepared with the locally grown apples and pears. These fruits are often cooked with red wine. Torcetti, or ring shaped cookies, are also flavored with honey before being dusted with powdered sugar.” – http://www.made-in-italy.com/italian-food/regions/aosta-valley

Image © http://www.forkandbottle.com/pantry/
Image © http://www.forkandbottle.com/pantry/

Tegole – Cookies, named after the roof tiles that they resemble, they are sweet biscuits (thin wafers), baked with the flavorful local honey. Their main ingredient is ground hazelnuts.

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