West of Trentino and Veneto is Lombardy. Cattle are reared on the plains in the central and southern parts of the region and so meat features more in the dishes here, especially veal, a good example being “Ossobuco alla Milanese” veal shanks braised in white wine and “Cotoletta alla Milanese” similar to the Wiener schnitzel , these are served with “Risotto alla Milanese” the well known creamy risotto flavoured with saffron. Bressaola (air-dried salted beef) comes from this region, and cheeses include Taleggio, Gorgonzola and Grana Padano. Many of the regions dishes will include maize or rice. The most famous regional dessert is the Panettone, normally eaten at Christmas time, it is baked with candied and dried fruits in a sweet bread dusted with icing sugar.
It is hardly surprising that risotto is one of the main dishes of Lombardy as rice grows so well in this region of Italy and rather than pasta, rice is the staple food of Lombardy, it gives rise to wonderful dishes such as “risotto alla milanese“ which has gained world-wide recognition and hails from Milan the major city of the Lombardy region of Italy and from Brescia “riso alla pitocca” . Cattle thrive in this area which provides the veal shanks for the “ossobuco“ as well as the butter and cream which are in many of the regions dishes, and provides milk for the cheese industry. Cheese is also a major part of the cuisine of Lombardy and there are several excellent cheeses produced in the area such as Agri d’ Valtorta, Bagoss, Bitto, Branzi, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Provolone Valpadana, the creamy Mascarpone (used in the popular Italian dessert tiramisu), Robiola, Bel Paese; Taleggio.
Although not a coastal region, Lombardy does get a good quantity of fresh-water fish from the lakes within it’s area as well as the many rivers and streams. From these waters Lombardy gets Pike, Carp, Tench, Sturgeon and freshwater Eels. Some villages and valleys around Lake Como, such as Oliveto Lario, are one of the few parts of northern Italy where olive trees were historically grown, called for this “zoca de l’oil” (valley of the oil). Pork is an important part of the Lombardian diet and they produce very good salame in Varzi and Monza is known for it’s pork sausage, from the Alpine area we get Bresaola, air dried beef, and Violino, a goat Proscuitto, and Pavia produces a great goose salami. Vegetables grow in profusion and one can see fields filled with peppers, onions, lettuce, pumkins, tomatoes and potato crops. Putting all these wonderful ingredients together produces great hearty stews, great cheese based dishes, wholesome soups, polenta with thick, rich sauces, slow braised meat dishes, and delicious filled raviolis which is reason enough to come and sample all the best that Lombardy has to offer.
There is also something for those with a sweet tooth Torrone from Cremona, a nougat made from honey, egg whites and almonds and also Mostarda do Cremona made from candied fruits, sugar and mustard. From Milan comes the famous panettone Christmas cake a sweet bread with candied orange, citron, and lemon zest, as well as raisins. Torta del Paradiso is a cake from Pavia, which is also noted for the Colomba Pasquale a cake in the shape of a dove which is traditionally eaten at Easter. Voghera is noted for the “Zuppa di Voghera” a torte with coffee and cream and the “Stracchino di Voghera” a variety of Gelato.
Wine making in the Lombardy region dates back to the Greeks and nowadays produces 28 million gallons per year. The region is particularly known for its sparkling wines made in the Franciacorta and Oltrepò Pavese areas. Lombardy also produces great red, white and rose wines. The wine regions along Lake Garda are known for their Chiaretto style rosé wine made from a blend of Barbera, Gropello, Marzemino and Sangiovese.
- Franciacorta (as Spumante, Spumante rosé and Spumante cremant), produced in the province of Brescia
Oltrepo Pavese Metodo Classico (as Rosé, Cremant, Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Rosé), produced in the province of Pavia
Moscato di Scanzo or “Scanzo”, produced in the province of Bergamo
Sforzato di Valtellina or Sfurzat di Valtellina (Rosso), produced in the province of Sondrio
Valtellina Superiore (Rosso as normale and Riserva) with the option to indicate one of the sub-regions Inferno, Grumello, Maroggia, Sassella and Valgella, produced in the province ofSondrio, or the sub-region Stagaflassi for wine bottled in Switzerland
- Botticino produced in the province of Brescia
Bonarda dell’Otrepo Pavese produced in the province of Pavia
Buttafuoco dell’Oltrepo Pavese procuded in the province of Pavia
Casteggio produced in the province of Pavia
Capriano del Colle produced in the province of Brescia
Cellatica produced in the province of Brescia
Garda an inter-regional DOC produced in the provinces of Brescia and Mantova (Lombardia) and Verona (Veneto)
Garda Colli Mantovani produced in the province of Mantova
Lambrusco Mantovano produced in the province of Mantova
Lugana an inter-regional DOC produced in the provinces of Brescia (Lombardia) and Verona (Veneto)
Oltrepò Pavese produced in the province of Pavia
Riviera del Garda Bresciano produced in the province of Brescia
San Colombano al Lambro produced in the provinces of Lodi, Milano and Pavia
San Martino della Battaglia an inter-regional DOC produced in the provinces of Brescia (Lombardia) and Verona (Veneto)
Scanzo produced in the province of Bergamo
Terre di Franciacorta produced in the province of Brescia
Valcalepio produced in the province of Bergamo
Valtellina Rosso produced in the province of Sondrio
Valtenesi produced in the province of Brescia