Valle d’Aosta Food & Recipes

This is an excerpt from the book “Aosta Valley Itineraries”.

fontine – Photo © Donato Arcaro, touristic and naturalistic guide of the Aosta Valley

The flavors that emerge from fontina cheese summon images of the fresh herbs and flowers the cows graze on in the high Alpine meadows of the Valle d’Aosta.  This semi-cooked, straw-yellow cheese, with tiny holes and a supple, soft texture, is perfect for melting and is used to make fonduta, or fondue, one of the region’s famous dishes.  For an authentic antipasto, toast small squares of country bread, rub with a clove of garlic, top with little chunks of fontina and an anchovy, then pop the toasted squares into a hot oven for a minute, and serve piping hot.

Providing hearty sustenance, carbonade is a classic Valdostan stew. The meal is made with salt-cured or fresh beef, onions, red wine, butter, and nutmeg, and often is served with polenta. The name – derived from carbone, or coal – refers to the dark gravy that results after the meat is cooked.

Lard di Arnaz -
Lard di Arnaz – Photo © Venturini

Eaten in soup, with lardo (spiced bacon), or savored alone with a pat of fresh butter, pane nero (black bread) is a staple food for families in the typical food of Aosta Valley. Made with rye and wheat flours, this bread was baked traditionally in the communal oven just once a year and was dried to preserve it. There are typical salami from the Valle d’Aosta.

Today, residents and visitors consume so much of the satisfying pane nero that it is made fresh on a daily or weekly basis.

After a delicious and satisfying fonduta, friends and neighbors may be found sipping a cup of grolla dell’amicizia, or cup of friendship, to keep warm on a chilly night.  More than just an after-dinner drink, grolla consists of wine and espresso that are mixed and spiked with grappa and served hot in a wooden goblet with a lid to keep in the heat.

Making Polenta
Making Polenta

Valle d’Aosta Food, typical food of Aosta Valley:

Capriolo alla valdostana: venison stewed in red wine with vegetables, herbs, grappa, cream.
Carbonade: salt-cured beef cooked with onions and red wine in a rich stew.
Minestra di castagne e riso: thick soup of rice cooked in milk with chestnuts.
Polenta alla rascard: cornmeal cooked, cooled and sliced, then baked with layers of Fontina and a ragout of beef and sausage.
Risotto alla valdostana: Fontina, toma, Parmigiano Reggiano and butter make this one of the creamiest of rice dishes.
Seupa de gri: barley soup with potatoes, onions, seasonal vegetables, salt pork.

Valle d’Aosta food Recipes:

Costoletta alla valdostana – Veal Chop with Fontina
Fonduta – Fondue
Fonduta Tartufata – Fondue with trufles
Gnocchi di patate alla bava – Gnocchi with Fontina
Pasticcio di penne alla valdostana – Baked Penne Valle d’Aosta style
Polenta Ricca – Rich Polenta
Zuppa valdostana – Cabbage and Cheese Soup
Zuppa Valpellinentze – Cabbage Soup

Where to find typical products in Aosta

Zazy’s Gnam at Località Teppe, 28 – 11020 – Quart (Aosta) carries typical products from small local suppliers.

Saveurs du val d’aoste: Stores in the Valley selling typical local products.

This is an excerpt from the book “Aosta Valley Itineraries”. Get the ebook for the complete content with list of restaurants and description of the localities and attractions.