The Cuisine of the Aosta Valley
By: Liz Flynn
The Valle d’Aosta, or the Aosta Valley, is a region in northwest Italy. It is bordered by both Switzerland and France. The food in this region is influenced by Italian, Swizz and French cuisine. Traditional dishes in this region are based on the ingredients that are readily available in the area at different times of the year. Here is an overview of traditional food in the Aosta Valley.
The regional cheese produced in this area is Fontina. It is a full-fat, semi-cooked, semi-hard cheese that is made from cow’s milk. It has a sweet, earthy taste and an intense flavor. It is eaten on its own, with rye bread or as an ingredient in sauces.
A popular dish from the Aosta Valley is Fonduta. This is a type of fondue that is made using Fontina cheese combined with eggs, cream, and butter. The fondue sauce is mopped up with rye bread or black bread.
Pasta is not eaten as much in this region as in other areas of Italy. Instead, they commonly use polenta as a dietary staple. This is often served with game from the mountains or bacon.
Stews are typical of this area and one of the best to try is carbonade. You can use any type of meat, although beef is the most common choice. The meat is stewed with other ingredients, including spices, onions, and red or white wine. Most people serve it with polenta. Another example is capriolo alla valdostana. Venison and vegetables are the main ingredients of this dish and the sauce is made from grappa and herb flavored cream.
Risotto alla Valdostana
This risotto is made using three cheese to create a creamy sauce; Fontina, toma and Parmigiano Reggiano. It is seasoned to taste and served either as an appetizer or an entrée.
Seup de Gri
Soups are another common dish cooked in the Aosta Valley. A typical example is seup de gri which is a barley soup. Seasonal vegetables and potatoes are added before seasoning with salt pork and onions.
A special treat from this area is mountain stream grown trout. A traditional dish in this area is trout stuffed with ham and topped with Fontina before poaching in white wine.
As much of the area is mountainous, the locals cure many of their meats. One of the most popular is bosses de jambon which is a ham spiced with mountain herbs. Motzetta is the dried meat taken from the muscle of goat, sheep or beef.