Visiting an area means discovering its history and culture, but also enjoying the aromas and flavours that the local cuisine has to offer.
Lake Como offers a real gastronomic treasure, from lake fish to cheese, cold cuts and meat-based dishes.
Missoltini (sun-dried shad) Larian-style tench, pike fillets, risotto with perch, maltagliati with lavaret roe and famous traditional Lombard dishes such as casseoula all accompanied by polenta uncia and tocc, and washed down with some good local red or white wine, are just some of the dishes that you will find in the Lake Como area.
In the mountains around the Lake you can sample peasant cooking, essentially based on yellow taragna vuncia polenta. Polenta,mushrooms and chestnuts are the main foods in this simple but genuine cuisine.
Full fat cheese, a typical product of mountain dairies, is still made today in copper pans on wood burning stoves and the cheese is left to mature for at least three months in natural cellars. The mountains in Lecco area excel in cheese-making.The most famous product is taleggio but there are also stronger or more delicate cheeses, ricotta, rustic salami and excellent butter.
In (THE) Brianza area there are hearty local dishes like verzata (pork and savoy cabbage), busecca or foiolo (tripe), polenta with small birds, cotechino with beans and, of course, delicatessen products like filzette and cacciatorini.Typical of the area is also the original rustisciada, made with pork loin and sausage browned with onions.
The Brianza area is also famous for the production of wine in Montevecchia hillside. There are also vineyards on the northern west end of the lake above Domaso.
Cheese making is the most important activity for farms in the Como area. Both fresh and mature cheeses are made using cows’ milk, goats’milk or a combination of both. Cows’milk cheeses include typical Semuda, magro di Bellagio, Lariano di latteria and Lariano di alpeggio, whilst goat’s cheeses include Lariano di capra
The Como area has an ancient olive growing tradition. This is thanks to its particular microclimate. The lake mitigates the rigid winter temperatures. A group of greek settlers following Julius Caesar’s army might have started th cultivation of olive trees in the area
In the small village along the coast of Lake Como it is possible to taste traditional local fish dishes and still see the typical triangular trestles on which the typical local fish, “Agone”- “twaite shads” are hung to dry and then be used in the preparation of the famous “missoltini”.
The butchery and processing of cured meats have always been present in the local culinary culture. Among meats, a special mention goes to the Lamb of Brianza race
Of all the Como lake area cakes, the one that stands out is cutizza (also known as paraa), a fried focaccia made using flour , sugar and milk. Sometimes also containing apples, it used to be served as a snack .
It was an important figure from the Como area, Plinio il Vecchio, who carried out one of the first studies on the world of bees and the production of honey. Born in 23 AD in Como, he was a Latin author and one of the leading academics of ancient times.
The viticulture in the area around Lake Como has very ancient origins. The two most important production areas are the hills of Brianza, in the Montevecchia and Valle del Curone Park, and the upper Lake Como. Since the end of the 1800 a number of reasons (HAS) caused the gradual abandonment of the terraces.