A BASKET OF LOCAL PRODUCTS
The Canavese valleys, particularly the hilly areas of the Upper Canavese and of the Sacra Valley, are known for the production of fruit, especially berries and delicious apples, with crops grown in accordance with organic and integrated principles. From fruit and vegetables local companies make jams, juices, creams, sauces, pickles and other specialties which can be purchased from our members Cascina Amalthea in Borgiallo and Agriturismo La Bedina in Rivara. The beautiful vineyards that characterize the landscape of the gentle hills around the Sacro Monte di Belmonte produce a light and sparkling red wine made from mixed blends dominated by the Nebbiolo grape. Recently these areas were included in the Canavese DOC and are launching new and very interesting products. The extraordinary hills of Carema are undoubtedly the “historical” places of the Canavese wine, an area of terraced vineyards perched on rocks around the Dora Baltea, with the typical stone topion, where the prestigious DOCG Nebbiolo of Carema is produced. Caretto farm is a member of the consortium and they produce all of the Canavese DOC wines: Erbaluce di Caluso, Passito, Canavese Red, Canavese White; while the Agriturismo il Tarassaco produces Erbaluce and Passito. Not only wine, recently the farm Terra di Mezzo in Filia di Castellamonte started producing an excellent craft beer. Concerning spirits, the specialty of the Canavese Alpine Valleys is genepì which is produced by the farm L’ort de Tchampiy within the Gran Paradiso National Park, in harmony with nature. Related products worth mentioning are the genepì flavored chocolate cream and genepini (chocolates filled with genepì).
The best local cheeses are the fresh or aged cow and goat tomini and the mountain pasture cow tome that are sometimes flavored with herbs and chili or processed into typical products like bros and salignon. The toma of Ceresole (mentioned in historical documents dating from the 1400s) and the civrin from Valchiusella are just some of the typical cheese of the area, but each area has its specific products: a magnificent gastronomic biodiversity. The Ca Veja Agliè farm produces some of the most magnificent soft goat cheeses. The cheeses can be combined with honey and fruit compotes produced in the valleys, from the typical Canavese mostarda (a type of cognà) to the boldest combinations that combine tradition and innovation (pear and saffron, fruit and vegetable chutneys).
The production of cured meats is also glorious with the typical potato salami, which needs to be eaten fresh, and the rustic lard. Mocetta is another typical cured meat; it used to be made with chamois meat, while nowadays it is produced with goat meat. The local honey is produced by small, family-run businesses, and it is of an excellent quality; you can find all varieties (chestnut, rhododendron, dandelion, alpine flora, acacia) from beekeeper Marco Pezzetti in Locana. Many other forest products, such as berries, wild herbs, chestnuts and mushrooms are also very interesting. Among the local sweets we wish to mention the soft amaretti (almond flavored macaroons), cornmeal biscuits, butter-rich torcetti, the ancient giuraje and the Gran Paradiso pralines, a specialty of the Pasticceria Perotti in Pont. Besides cornmeal cookies, the local corn flours pignoletto rosso and nostrano dell’isola can be used to prepare wonderful polenta to be paired with cheese or wild game.
All these excellent products can be found from the producers who are members of the Consortium.
THE PLEASURES OF THE PALATE
Your palate will be delighted in the many restaurants, taverns and farm-stays in the area. The appetizers, which have a fundamental importance in the typical Piedmont meal, are the aforementioned cured meats and lard. Other appetizers are usually made with eggs or stuffed vegetables, or combine sauces with anchovies or boiled tongue, or use gelatin or vinegar to present vegetables and meat.
The cabbage is the king of the Canavese cuisine, and we find it in the caponet, cabbage rolls stuffed with meat, and in the supa mitonà, cabbage soup with bread, broth and cheese (and in some versions with sausage and onion). There are also other soups, some based on milk, rice and chestnuts, and meat or vegetable broths traditionally enriched with lots of cheese and a few spoonfuls of red wine. Homemade agnolotti or tajarin were the typical holiday meal, while rice was consumed frequently, with mushrooms, vegetables or yellow squash. Meat was also typically reserved for moments of celebration and it included sumptuous boiled dinners, accompanied by red and green sauces, savory wild game stews (hare, wild boar) with Carema wine or Barbera accompanied by polenta, sweet and savory mixed fry, or rabbit a-la Canavese. The basic dishes of Canavese cooking are essentially two: bagna caoda accompanied by raw or cooked vegetables, and tofeja (beans and pork rinds and pork leg cooked in a wood oven in a traditional earthenware pot from Castellamonte) which is often eaten during the Carnival celebrations. Together with the tofeja we wish to mention the fresse (offal and raisin meatballs wrapped in pork omentum) and other dishes included in the seina del crin, the banquet which followed the domestic processing of pork sausages and meat.
The basic ingredients and the traditional recipes have been reinterpreted by the restaurateurs of the Consortium who can offer tasty and intriguing dishes in every season.