The Lake Maggiore area and the valleys in its hinterland are renowned in Italy and abroad for the cheese produced from animals grazing on mountain pastures, which is a feature of the local culinary culture.
The ample lush pastures of the valleys have given the area a long tradition of high quality cheese production.
Classic local cheeses are the Ossolano d’Alpe, a cow’s milk cheese with a tasty yet mild flavour, the celebrated Bettelmatt, with a restricted production in only 7 alps in the Antigorio and Formazza valleys, and Mottarone, with its characteristic straw-yellow colour and many others such as goat’s milk cheese and ricotta. These cheeses are made on the high mountain pastures or in the dairies lower down in the valleys: for example, the Cooperative Dairy of the Antigorio Valley in Crodo.
Cheese is also made on the shores of the lake; an example is the Formagella of Luino, a medium-firm cheese made with whole raw goat’s milk.
And on the subject of superior regional products – don’t forget one of the best:Gorgonzola, which is made in the Varese and Novara areas and in the surrounding hills.
A taste of the mountains: salami and cured meat
Processing meat by curing to make sausages andsalami is an age-old tradition in the whole of the Lake Maggiore area, from the hill country to the mountains. A wide range of classic products is available, thanks to the skill of our pork butchers, who have inherited the mastery of their trade from the past generations.
The valleys to the north-west of the lake produce a wealth of cured meats, from the mortadella of the Ossola (under the protection of Slow Food), theraw ham and violini di capra (cured goat’s leg) of the Vigezzo Valley, to the herb-flavoured lard of Macugnaga and the famed dried meat. A quick snack or light supper here will usually feature salami,pancetta and bresaola.
The hill area around Novara is renowned for its gourmet salamis such as Salam della Duja and Fidighin Pat, both made with prime pork meat. And to complement these delectable salamis, the locally produced wines are perfect: full-bodied reds like Ghemme Docg and Nebbiolo from the Novara hills, Prunent and Neuv Bruschett from the Ossola valleys, or the wines of the Angera area.