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.
Raclette du Valais AOP: brilliant
You hold a piece of cheese by the fire to melt, scrape some onto a plate – and your raclette is ready! According to legend, a love-struck cheese-maker once inadvertently placed the cheese too close to a fire, so creating the "national" dish of the Valais. More certain is that the name raclette (from the French "racler", to scrape) was first used in 1909 at a wine fair in Sion.
Plant Robert: rediscovered
This ancient grape variety of the Lavaux had been all but forgotten when four enterprising winegrowers in the Cully region had the idea of cultivating the fine red grape again. It paid off. The "Plant Robert" is a characterful wine, comparable to Gamay; it goes well with rustic fare, but with its finesse can also accompany the most sophisticated dishes with bravura.
Malakoffs: potentially addictive
These crispy fritters made with cheese, egg, white wine and Kirsch are not free from danger. Quite a few visitors have tasted one, ordered a couple more, then a couple more… the record is supposed to be twelve! The story goes that French-Swiss mercenaries brought the recipe home from the 19th-century Crimean War, perfecting it into today's delicacy.