His Majesty the Salame di Varzi
Salame di Varzi is certainly the most famous, both nationally and
internationally, and boasts very ancient origins, in fact it seems that
it even dates back
to the Lombard invasion.
Documents from the 12th century report how the Marquises Malaspina had a sweet tooth for this food, which is still delicious today because it is produced according to the ancient recipe.
Recipe that owes its success also and above all to the climate of the Staffora Valley which favors perfect seasoning.
In short, Salame di Varzi cannot be improvised and, to protect the consumer from possible imitations, on the sausage today adorned with the double DOC and DOP brand.
This is how, according to the production disciplinary, Salame di Varzi was born:
on the same day of slaughtering the pig, whose weight should be around 160 kg., first of all we proceed with the choice of meat, which must be mature, low in water and selected exclusively from cuts of shoulder, thigh, loin , fillet, neck and, as regards the fatty part, bacon, shoulder head, culatello and lard.
Traditionally minced into small pieces, the meat is then skilfully mixed
with salt and black peppercorns.
The last trick to flavor it is therefore the addition of an
infusion of garlic, nutmeg and aged red wine.
At this point, the mixture is stuffed into natural casings, always made from pork, with holes to help it mature.
Rigorously tied with twine or hemp rope, the salamis are stored in the cellars, a real "monument" of Varzi and the Staffora Valley.
Here, favored by the extraordinary flow of Apennine winds and salty breezes from nearby Liguria, it ages for at least 120 days.
In any case, connoisseurs of well-seasoned salami wait even more than 180 days to taste it.
When cut, which is always oblique to obtain the typical oblong slices, it is coarse-grained, tender and wine-red in colour.
Truffles are mushrooms that complete their life cycle underground and
thanks to their underground origin they have been surrounded by an aura
of mystery since ancient times.
The entire Oltrepò area boasts an ancient tradition in the search for truffles, so much so that the upper Oltrepò has become one of the most important markets at a national level.
You can find various species of truffle:
Prized black truffle:
it is harvested throughout the winter period and in particular in the first months of the year, especially under oaks, hazelnut trees and black hornbeams.
Prized white truffle:
it is available only in late spring, autumn and early winter.
Its particular flavor and aroma have led it to be the king of the kitchen. It is eaten raw.
You can find various species of truffle: prized black truffle: it is harvested throughout the winter period and in particular in the first months of the year, especially under oaks, hazelnut trees and black hornbeams. prized white truffle: it is available only in late spring, autumn and early winter. Its particular flavor and aroma have led it to be the king of the kitchen. It is eaten raw. Scorzana: it is one of the most common truffles, it can be found all year round, even in considerable quantities under oak, hazelnut, poplar, beech and pine trees. Its scent is light, aromatic and pleasant.
anche in notevoli quantità sotto quercie, noccioli, pioppi, faggi e
pini. Il suo profumo è leggero, aromatico e gradevole.
The Oltrepò Pavese area is also a land of mushrooms.
interesting and pleasant itineraries that lead to uncontaminated places
where it is possible to collect fleshy and fragrant mushrooms.
In particular, the porcini mushrooms and ovules are sought after which, due to their intense aroma and aromatic flavor, are a leading element in the
In fact, there are numerous dishes based on fresh mushrooms, often combined with meat or tasty first courses such as risotto with porcini mushrooms.
In the local economy the production of cheese occupies an important place. There are typical qualities that enhance the aromatic characteristics of the milk produced in the pastures of the upper valley. molana: derives from the ancient local cheese, with a soft consistency, it tends to melt easily and crack on the surface. Low and round cheese, with a white texture, it is destined to be eaten both fresh, spread on slices of polenta or brown bread, and aged, up to being grated on some typical local dishes. pizzocorno: this square-shaped cheese with an intense and decisive aroma takes its name from the small village in the heart of the Staffora Valley. It is a cheese obtained from the processing of whole, raw milk, produced in the two milkings in the evening and in the morning. The pasta is placed in square shapes and dry-salted. goat cheeses It is possible to taste different types of goat's milk cheese, both fresh and sweet, and seasoned and tasty. Classic goat cheese is a white, raw, rindless cheese with a slightly sour taste. It is a soft, spreadable cheese that can be flavored with herbs, spices, vegetable charcoal and berries. Goat cheeses can also be seasoned, until they become very pleasant semi-hard cheeses to be cooked on the grill.
Near Varzi is the medieval village of Livelli in a sunny position
suitable for the cultivation of almond trees; since ancient times the
production of this fruit was remarkable and the harvest
This abundance of almonds was used by the local population
to invent a product which was subsequently very successful due to its characteristics of simplicity and flavour.
Thus was born the almond cake
made with eggs, flour, sugar, lemon zest and ground almonds.
The dough thus composed, cooked over high heat, produces a fragrant and durable cake, therefore suitable for consumption on long journeys.
The luxuriant nature of the area offers rich spontaneous blooms that
allow the production of significant quantities of honey.
It is a product obtained from the simple transformation of flower nectar by bees; the absolutely natural processing allows to keep intact the biological-nutritional characteristics offered by nature itself.
The producers offer:
millefiori, black locust, chestnut, linden, dandelion.
Oltrepò Pavese is a vast hilly area that can be defined as one
of the most prestigious areas for the production of wine, an ancient production tradition that has its roots in Roman times.
Vineyards are scattered throughout the hills of these valleys.
The grapes are still cultivated in the name of tradition and the typification of the wines obtained.
The good exposure, the nature of the land and man's experience mean that excellent quality products can be obtained. Among the various types of wine we can mention:
the bonarda (intense and pleasant, dry or sweet), the barbera (dry, full-bodied, slightly acidic), the pinot noir (fruity, fresh, full-bodied sparkling wine), the Italian riesling (pleasant and fruity, dry and fresh), the Cortese (pleasant and fruity, dry and fresh), the Moscato (aromatic, intense, sweet and delicate).
The quality of the wines is once again guaranteed by the d.o.c. mark, an acknowledgment that has contributed to making these wines famous and competitive on international level.
Lean meat cooked over a very low heat, preferably in an earthenware pan,
in a sautéed onion, plenty of butter, lard and oil, to which red wine,
cloves and cinnamon are added later.
It is also used for the filling of braised meat ravioli.
Snails boiled, they are removed from the shell, cleaned and washed with water and vinegar, cooked in a pan with butter and red wine, cooked very slowly and several times.
Merluzzo con cipolle
The cod, cut into pieces and floured, is fried in abundant boiling oil
to which the previously cooked onion
is then added.
The filling of the traditional Varzesi ravioli is made as in the
description of the preparation of the braised meat with the addition of
parmesan and nutmeg, all chopped with a knife.
The pastry is composed of flour, eggs and salt.
The ravioli topped with the braised meat itself.
Very diluted batter of water, flour and salt, fried in a pan in very hot oil.
Tripe cut into strips and cooked in a pan with butter, oil, white beans, celery and carrots.
Green gnocchi made with spinach, white flour and ricotta
Zuppa di ceci
Boiled chickpeas with water, flour, oil, salt and pork shank or rind.
Torta di riso
Puff pastry filled with rice, cooked in milk, and mixed with parmesan cheese and baked in the oven.
Torta di mandorle
Dough, baked in the oven, of almonds (chopped and toasted), wheat flour, sugar and butter.