Mazza: a meaty feast
The Ticinesi love their soil. Many families have their own vineyards, make their own nocino (walnut brandy), and in summer send a few pigs up to the alp – which are then slaughtered in the autumn. From them comes the famous Ticino "mazza" – meats including lardo and pancetta, and homemade sausages such as salami, luganighe and liver-enriched mortadella.
Ticino cheese: each one an original
Ticino is famous for its cheeses: such as the Piora, for example, made beside Lake Ritom in the Valle Leventina. This alpine cheese is so popular that the entire production is often sold out a year in advance. No less delicious is a cheese from the Valle di Muggio: the pyramid-shaped Zincarlin, which matures in the rock cellars of Monte Generoso.
Chestnuts: the soul of Ticino
Whether eaten roasted, in the form of chestnut gnocchi or as marrons glacés, chestnuts are enjoying a renaissance – as are many traditional Ticino delicacies. Once chestnuts were the "bread of the poor", roasted in old smoking huts or "grà". Today, chestnut trails lead through the forests, and in the autumn, chestnuts appear on the menu of just about every restaurant.
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.