Foodstuffs from the Lombardy Region (Atlas of typical and traditional products - Lombardy Region Directorate General Agriculture - ERSAF) that can be produced in the area covered by the Strada del Franciacorta.
Traditional dairy products (other cheeses from Brescia)
Fatulì della Val Saviore (Slow Food Presidium)
Fatulì is produced in the summer and is made exclusively from raw whole milk from Bionda dell'Adamello goats, a breed that was threatened by extinction before being repopulated so that there are now 4000 of them in Val Saviore. The cheese is smoked with twigs and juniper berries. The maturation period ranges from 30 days to 6 months. Fatulì is cylindrical in shape, with flat faces and a small size (10-15 cm in diameter, 4-6 cm high and 300-500 grams in weight). The colour of the crust varies depending on the duration of smoking. The curd has a straw yellow colour and elastic consistency, and is compact and almost entirely free of holes. Its smell features prevailing hints of smoke, while its flavour contains hints of herbs and dried fruit. It tends towards being slightly sour. Fatulì is consumed as a table cheese or, when properly matured, is grated to add flavour to pasta dishes and various main dishes.
Trivia: the Adamello Natural Park, the Mountain Community Valle Camonica and Slow Food established the Presidium for Fatulì in Val Saviore, in order to give more visibility to this cheese and to protect the herds of Bionda dell'Adamello goats, conscious of the fact that this valley’s economy is primarily based on cheese-making and dairy farming.
This cheese has been produced in the same region for almost 100 years, first in the homes of peasants, then in manufacturing dairies and now in cheese works. The name comes from the Latin “caseolus”, which means “little cheese”. The whole or skimmed cow’s milk used to produce this specialty of Valcamonica is first heated and then calf rennet is added to it. The curd obtained is subsequently broken into small granules, heated, mixed, allowed to stand and then drained and put into moulds. The forms are then salted, either dry or in brine, and finally left to mature from a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 12 months. Different forms are used, although the most typical is triangular, with a weight of 2 kg. It has wrinkled rind covered with surface mould that is yellowish or brown in the case of prolonged ageing. The curd is pale yellow to yellow, soft and slightly holey; the scent is milky and the taste sweet and delicate, becoming more full-flavoured with longer ageing.
Traditional meat and meat products
The individual sausage is 20 cm long, but can reach 18 m. It is folded back on itself to form a cluster with a diameter of 4-5 cm. Its flavour of the pork is sweet or spicy depending on the mixture that is used.
It is processed in a similar way to salami. The chopped meat is ground to a small-medium size, then spices and salt are added and, sometimes, wine soaked in garlic. When everything is ready, the mixture is well blended and stuffed into natural casings.
The cases are tied by hand and prepared in a chain, that is, a chain of sausages tied head to tail. It can be cooked on the grill or used in a risotto or in fillings.
Salami from Monte Isola
It has a variable weight of 500-800 g, a diameter of 5-8 cm and is dark in colour. The salami is quite soft as a result of the short maturation, and dark in colour, both from the colour of the mixture and because of the smoking process. Its taste is distinctive, smoky, sweet and spicy, and completely different from other sausages; the flavour of the meat is strong, but the mixture of spices and the smoking dominate. About 100 tonnes are produced on the island per year.
Measuring 5 sq km and positioned 600 metres above sea level, Monte Isola, in the centre of Lake Iseo, is Europe’s largest inhabited lake island.
It has a cylindrical shape and weighs around 200 g.
Soppressata Brescia (version produced in Franciacorta)
It is produced in raw sliced or pot meat versions.
Bacon flavoured with Curtefranca
This is a sausage that can be sliced raw or used in cooking. The raw ingredient used is the shoulder lard of fat pigs.
It is obtained from the fat that covers the shoulder of properly fed mature pigs. When it has just been cut, it is placed in a Sarnico Stone pot or in wooden containers and left for a few days in brine, with plenty of Curtefranca DOC White, salt, spices and herbs. It is then hung up to dry. It is aged for a minimum period of 4 months, and up to a maximum period that may exceed one year. Its taste is very well balanced between sweet and salty.
RET De.Co. (Denominazione Comunale) of Capriolo
The raw material used to produce Ret comes from pigs reared within a radius of 30 km from Capriolo. At the time of production, Ret weighs from 4 to 14 kg. The smaller sizes are put on the market after at least five months; the bigger ones have to wait up to two years.
It can be sweet or very sweet depending on the type, but can also sometimes be bitter, depending on the derivation (for example chestnut).
The production of honey is very simple if we consider that the only the human contribution to the process consists of extracting it from cells placed on honeycombs by unsealing the cells (opening the wax plug) and cold centrifugation.
These simple steps provide the honey, but it must then be filtered and left to mature to remove even the smallest impurities.
The last operation to be carried out is packaging, which normally occurs in glass jars. It should be kept away from heat sources.
Honey can be used as an ingredient in some sweets, as a sweetener or as a rich nutrient for breakfast or snacks. Excellent with cheese or with bacon.
Fish products caught today in Lake Iseo
Traditional Lake Iseo dried sardine (Slow Food Presidium)
The continued decline in the abundance of fish in recent years has meant that even shad from other lakes have been for use, although the traditional preservations technique have been kept; the Presidium thus aims to “stress the ancient technique of drying and storage and promote local production, differentiating it from that with other sources”.
The shad are caught throughout the year, except for the breeding period, which is from 15 May to 15 June, but the traditional processes only use shad caught and left to air dry from November to March.
The fishermen go out at sunset with small boats about 7 metres long, with a typical tapered shape, called “naec” in the local dialect and drop nets (“sardenere”) at least 200 metres from the shore, anchoring them to buoys and raising them at the next sunrise. The catch is immediately gutted, washed in running water and left in salt for at least 48 hours, after which time the fish is washed and left to dry in shady and ventilated places, arranged on wooden racks with stainless steel nails for 30 or 40 days. The sardines are then placed in circular stainless steel containers and pressed for about 4 days, to drain the fat, and then they are finally covered with oil. They are left for at least four months, then cleaned and placed in smaller containers to mature in olive oil for another 12 months.
This storage method was developed over time by the fishermen of Lake Iseo to be able to preserve the ‘sardines’ for a long time, as they were caught in large quantities at certain times of the year. According to oral tradition, this technique dates back at least 1000 years, to the times when fishermen from the “pisciaria “(fishing centre) of Iseo had to deliver a precise amount of dried fish to the monastery of Santa Giulia in Brescia every year.
Alborelle or Àole
Their production is mainly seasonal, because it is based on bleak fishing.
Marinated Aole: after flouring the bleak with white flour, fry them in oil, add salt and allow to cool while wrapped in paper towels. Then put them in a non-metallic bowl with the chopped garlic and parsley, watering them with white wine vinegar. Let them marinate for 24 hours and sprinkle occasionally with their own “Conso” (marinade sauce).
Coregone in foil: Clean, wash and dry 4 coregone weighing 300 g each. Season them inside with salt and pepper. Chop 1 onion, 1 stalk of celery, 1 carrot, 3 cloves of garlic and a few leaves of basil. Use one sheet of aluminium foil for each fish, which should be oiled and flavoured with some ‘battuto’ of finely chopped vegetables. Use the rest of the battuto to stuff the fish, and wrap well in foil, taking care to close the wrappings. Lay the parcels on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. Serve with boiled or steamed vegetables.
Fried Pike: Prepare a ‘battuto’ mixture with parsley, 1 clove garlic, and 2 boned and desalted anchovies. Brown in butter and olive oil, then add a 1 kg pike, cleaned and washed. Pour in half a cup of Curtefranca DOC White and let it evaporate. Season with salt and flavour with spices to taste and cook over medium heat. Serve the fish warm in its sauce.
Grilled char: Clean and wash the fish well. Season with salt and stuff inside with well-chopped aromatic herbs. Place it on the grill, after lightly coating it with a little extra virgin olive oil. When ready to serve, add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of chopped parsley. The simplicity of the recipe will serve to enhance the flavour of this delicious fish with excellent flesh.
Scardola (common rudd)
Rudd and chub with grilled polenta: sear the fish in the pan and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and chopped parsley and garlic, accompanying the dish with grilled polenta. Its best eaten with your fingers, after removing the big and long bones.
Food products with Protected Denomination of Origin (DOP) status that can be produced in the reference area of the Strada del Franciacorta (from the Atlas of typical and traditional products - Lombardy Region General Directorate of Agriculture - ERSAF).
DOP Dairy products
As such, it has a soft and creamy look with a unique distinctive flavour, which slightly sharp in the dolce (sweet) type, and a stronger and fuller in the piccante (spicy) type, whose body is more veined, firmer and more crumbly. Eaten even before the year 1000, its creation can be traced to the end of the tenth century in the town of Gorgonzola, near Milan.
Grana Padano DOP
Back in 1955, Grana Padano cheese was one of the first Italian cheeses to obtain the recognition of the Denomination of Origin, meaning it can only be produced in the Po Valley.
The creation of Grana Padano dates back to around the year one thousand, thanks to the Cistercian monks who reclaimed and irrigated many lowland areas in the Po Valley, and in particular the areas between the Ticino and the Adda. The development of livestock farming and the consequent need to store milk products were contributing factors leading to its invention. It is a fine and delicious cheese, and a worldwide symbol of “Made in Italy” gastronomic excellence.
Provolone Valpadana DOP
There are two types of Provolone: “Dolce” (sweet), which is distinguished by the use of calf rennet and is matured for no more than 2-3 months, and “Piccante” (spicy), which is distinguished by the use of kid and/or lamb rennet paste and a maturation period ranging from a minimum of 3 months to over a year.
Quartirolo Lombardo DOP
The cheese forms are made using a rectangular mould, with sides measuring 18-22 cm wide and 4-8 cm high, and weigh between 1.5 and 3.5 kg. The maturation lasts from 5 to 30 days, or more.
Salva Cremasco DOP
The taste is sweet, aromatic and more decisive in cheeses aged for longer. The taste varies from mild to intense, with different fragrances depending on the animal feed.
The production of Silter is typical of the lower Valle Camonica and the Prealpine areas to the east of Lake Iseo. In the local valligiano dialect, ‘Silter’ refers to the part of the hut used for salting and ripening of the cheese. Silter originates exclusively from the milk of Alpine Brown cows from Monte Guglielmo and surrounding areas.
The curd is smooth and compact, softer under the crust and, after maturing, more crumbly in the centre of the form. The colour of the cheese varies from white to straw yellow, with a few small holes. Its flavour is sweet, with slightly acidic and aromatic hints, sometimes with a truffle aftertaste. Its smell is very distinctive.
Laghi Lombardi extra virgin olive oil DOP with Sebino geographical indication
The Sebino geographical indication is restricted to oil obtained from no less than 40% Leccino variety olives, and Frantoio, Casaliva, Pendolino and Sbresa olives totalling no more than 60%. Production may also include other varieties in quantities not exceeding 20%.
The olives for the production of Laghi Lombardi extra virgin olive oil DOP are grown in the areas of Iseo and Lake Como, which are located at a latitude that is theoretically not suitable for growing olives; actually the waters of the lakes act as large reservoirs, and are able to store heat and humidity during the summer and release it in the winter months, creating an exceptionally mild microclimate in the heart of Northern Italy. This, combined with the fertility of the glacial soils, has allowed olive cultivation to flourish.
The production area for the olives that go into Laghi Lombardi Geographical Indication Sebino extra virgin olive oil comprises 24 municipalities in the province of Brescia and 24 municipalities in the province of Bergamo, all in the vicinity of Lake Iseo.
Lombard olive growing has ancient origins that certainly pre-date the Roman era, as witnessed by numerous historical documents and by the discovery of remains of old olive presses. It developed on the banks of the pre-alpine lakes, which are characterised by fertile soils of glacial origin and a climate well suited to the cultivation of this Mediterranean plant.
Over the centuries, the production of Lombard oil has had its ups and downs, as in the rest of the peninsula. In the period of the barbarian invasions the oil was no longer used either as food or for religious rituals. The cultivation of olive trees resumed in the Middle Ages thanks to the work of Benedictine and Cistercian monks and reached its maximum development in 1500. In 1600, with Spanish rule and the introduction of a heavy tax on olive groves, the production came to a halt again, then recovered during the Enlightenment, thanks to the development of the free market and the abolition of the tax.
With the advent of the Industrial Age, many olive groves were replaced by crops that are more resistant to frost and typical of the area, and the oil of the Lombard lakes became a niche product that was rare and prized by connoisseurs.
In 1997 it obtained DOP recognition from the European Community, with EC Regulation. 2325/97 of 24/11/1997 and published in the Official Gazette no. 234 of 10/07/98.
On 30/07/99 a voluntary Consortium was established for the protection and enhancement of “Laghi Lombardi” extra virgin olive oil with Denomination of Origin (DOP), with their additional geographical indications: Sebino and Lario.
The Consortium is a non-profit organisation and has a duty to protect, promote, enhance and control the Laghi Lombardi extra virgin olive oil with Protected Designation of Origin, in Italy and abroad.
The olives are harvested directly from the plant before the middle of January, and oil production begins within three days. The oil obtained is classified by experts as having the following characteristics: a yellow-green colour, a light fruity smell, a fruity taste with a possible presence of slightly bitter and piquant flavour, suitable for enriching any type of dish.
The healthy olives are picked directly from the tree, generally in the month of November, although the Production Regulations stipulate 15 January as the deadline for harvesting; this can be carried out manually, with the stripping technique, or by mechanical means.
The olives must be pressed within three days of picking; only mechanical or physical means are permitted for the extraction of oil, as this makes it possible to produce oils that fully exalt the peculiar characteristics of the fruit.
The maximum production per hectare should not exceed 5000 kg and the yield in oil cannot be higher than 19%.
Like all oils, it should be stored in a cool, dry place away from heat sources and also protected from light. The optimum storage temperature is between 12 and 14° C. “Laghi Lombardi” oil is at its best when consumed fresh because of its light, fruity characteristics, which gradually fade away 12 months after processing.
It tends to solidify at low temperatures, so prior to consumption, bring it to room temperature (16-18° C) for a few minutes and shake vigorously. However, it is better to avoid the condensation process caused by low temperatures, as this may cause the loss of its special taste and texture characteristics.
The lightness and delicacy typical of these oils means they can be used in various dishes: with antipasti, fish from the lake, meat carpaccio or bresaola, cheeses and vegetables, as a dressing on salads, pastas and soups and even in the preparation of certain pastries.