Gamaret: a grape success
The Gamaret grape variety was created – along with its sibling, Garanoir – in 1970 by crossing Gamay and Reichensteiner stock. Since then, this red wine grape has enjoyed unparalleled success. As the grapes are highly resistant, they can be left to mature for longer. The resultant wines are of a vivid colour, fruity and spicy, and go well with grilled dishes.
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.
Saffron: more precious than gold
Saffron flourishes in only one place in central Europe: the Valais mountain village of Mund. Just five kilograms are harvested a year, laboriously by hand. For Mund saffron comes from the three red stigmas of a crocus flower; it takes 12,000 flowers to make just 100 grams. The delicacy can be enjoyed in saffron risottos, saffron fondues, parfaits or other desserts.
"Cholera": a Valais curiosity
"Cholera" is a pie that probably originated during the cholera epidemics around 1830. People no longer dared go out onto the street, so to prepare a meal they took whatever they had – potatoes, leeks, cheese, onions, apples, pears, bacon – topped it with pastry, and baked the pie in the oven. Today even top chefs have created their own version of this innovative dish of leftovers.