Lombardia on the Table – Italian Regional Cuisine

duomo di milanoLombardia on the Table

Acclaimed to be one of Italy’s largest regions, Lombardy lies in Northern Italy, sharing a border with Switzerland. This stretches up towards Lake Como and down to Milan and is an abode of many rich, regal dishes!

Lombardy: the Region

Formerly home for Lombard’s, characterizing the region geographically is the Alps in its north, and Ticino, Mincio and Po Rivers on its south. Located beyond the Po River, Mantua and Pavia are its two provinces which are located just beyond the Po River.

Primarily a flat land, its landscapes does include soft hills and marshlands. A head turner, on the foothills of the Alps, there is a fertile, hilly area of Brianza, which was in the past a favorite vacation spot for well-off people from Milan. Known for its genuine wines is Lomellina, an area sandwiched between the Ticino, Sesia and Po Rivers! Traversing along the south through the Pianura Padana, or Padan Plain, will take you to the vast farmlands, meddled with poplar trees!

The capital of Lombardy is Milan, one of the four capitals of the Roman Empire. Founded by the Gauls, Milan was center-point for
Christian center. Credit goes to an edict of Constantine the Great and to his Bishop Ambrogio, or Saint Ambrose. Worth visiting are the Basilica of San Lorenzo and Sant’Ambrogio, which has stood the test of time and various rulers. Worth pondering are some of Milan’s attractive monuments including Castello Sforzesco and the Duomo, the churches of San Satiro and Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper.

ponte di padernoCovering a vast from Alps to Po Valley, Lombardy is a haven for a variety of landscapes; amazing mountain chains, popular resorts, sport facilities, dotted lakes, ancient glaciers, vineyards and wine production, there is place for everything!

Lombardy’s rolling hills is spotted with famous vineyards and wine production. It is because of these mountains and hills that the weather here is quite mild with moderate temperature! This helps in cultivation of citrus, olives and wine grapes. Drawing real attraction to the region is its great tourist draw, which pulls in visitors very often!

Frequently visited places are Sirmione and Lake Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, and many more! No less beautiful are the stately homes of Lombardy which has parks and striking small towns.

Drawing cards of the region are the Po Valley lowlands, which glistens by shimmering mirrors of water and rice paddies. Steeped in the tradition, Lomellina is another landscape, which is THE AREA of rice harvesters. Some of the other countless distinctive facets of the region are Lombardy, which will instantly hook you with its fertile soil, nature, history, art and culture; the region is also a perfect mix of innovation, technology, entertainment, fashion, and a contemporary outlook.

Lombardy’s provinces are Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lodi, Lecco, Mantua, Milan (regional capital), Monza and Brianza,
Pavia, Sondrio and Varese. Tourists throng Lombardia for the regions artistic value; seamless collection of art of varied shapes, sizes and values, it has the best Italian history under its hood. It doesn’t stop with that! As is the region’s arts and artists, the culinary offerings of the region are vital too!

cucina lombardaThe best-class cuisine handed down from the Centuries: Lombardy’s Food

Lombardy’s food specialties create a sense of interest and surprise amidst many! Ranging from the delicious saffron risotto, and the bread-crumbed cutlet Cotoletta alla Milanese, to the consommé of Pavia, everything gets sprinkled with an unmatched taste that is carried down from centuries! Few other specialties of Lombardy include pizzoccheri, a buckwheat version of tagliatelle, bresaola, an air-dried salt beef, cured salame of Varzi and finally, fresh water fish, and many more!

A typical First Courses, Risotto alla Milanese is a favorite of many. Adding special touch to the dish is its golden color because of saffron! Famous all throughout Italy, Risotto is made with butter and with regional produces like mushrooms, sausage, frogs and pumpkin. Rice is also used in soups and vegetable minestrone.

As is rice, Polenta is in most mountains parts of the region. They spice it with cheese, small birds, and butter! Some other local varieties are Pizzoccheri, a homemade pasta kind, which is made from buckwheat flour, is served with boiled vegetables; Bitto is another aromatic mixed cow and sheep’s milk cheese variety; tortelli di zucca in Mantua is ravioli-like pasta stuffed with rich, sweet pumpkin.

Lombards and the cattle production have been imperative ever since the bygone days! This has given birth to the dairy production, which reached the summit during the Middle Ages by the Cistercians monks. The most sought after and eminent cheese variety is Gorgonzola, which is from the town bearing the same name. Some other cheese varieties are Mascarpone, parmesan-style Grana, Bel Paese, Robiola soft cheese. Cattle were, and are still reared for meat. Bresaola DOP, or aged beef, is a specialty of Valtellina. Originally made with deer or other hoofed animals, Bresaola is one of the salami made in Lombardia.

vigneti lombardiAfter Lamb, decorating the menu list is Pork! As is Pork sausages from Varzi and Milano, is Cassoeula, a winter dish made with pork skin, ribs, legs, sausages, head and cabbage. Pairing boil meats is Mostarda di Cremona, which is an Italian fruit preserve. This is available in both sweet and spicy versions.

The desserts of Lombardy are yummier when compared with the other regions, especially those that are made during the regional holidays!

Found around Christmas is Panettone, a soft sweet bread which is flavored with raisins and candied fruit; Colomba is a doveshaped Easter bread which is speckled with almonds; Torrone di Cremona and Amaretti di Saronno are special varieties of the region!

When it comes to wines, Grumello, Inferno and Sassella della Valtellina are the best! From the vineyards of spumante, these wines are produced in Franciacorta.

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