Valais air-dried beef IGP: sublime
One of the celebrated icons of the region's gastronomic heritage is Valais air-dried beef IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée, Protected Geographical Indication). The production process was first described as far back as the 14th century: salt, herbs and spices are rubbed into the raw beef, which is then air-dried in wooden barns for at least six weeks. Only first-class leg of beef may be used. It tastes especially good with rye bread and a fruity Fendant – on a sunny terrace.
Risotto: a creamy delight
There is hardly a restaurant in Ticino that does not serve a home-made risotto. And hardly a Ticinese who will not philosophise for hours about which rice variety, which white wine and what cooking time are the only "right" ones. The fact that the first and only Swiss rice is cultivated in the Terreni alla Maggia is a matter of special pride for them all.
Torta di pane: made from old bread
The celebrated torta di pane is made from old bread and is a favourite speciality in the Sopraceneri region. What was once a way of using up leftovers has become a dessert masterpiece, which in its finest incarnations can also contain amaretti biscuits, almonds, raisins, nuts, marsala, rum and a shot of grappa.
Polenta: age-old culinary magic
Preparation of Ticino polenta requires an element of culinary magic. The ground maize is cooked in a copper cauldron over an open fire, just as it was in the old days. The golden-yellow cornmeal bubbles for hours, even scorching a little at the bottom of the pot to get its full taste. The polenta is served up thick – and proves that the simplest food is the best.