An unusual specialty typically identified with Cremona, in the Lombardia region of Italy, traditional Mostarda is a mixture of whole fruits preserved in simple syrup and mustard oil. Mostarda’s origin goes back to the honey, mustard, oil and vinegar condiments of the Roman Empire.
The word mostarda derives from the French, moutarde, which in turn derives from mout ardent-a fiery condiment made by adding essence of mustard to unfermented grape must and cooking it down. It also derives from the traditional cugna of Piedmonte.
This is a jam made from boiled down grape must which is spiced with ground mustard and mixed with fruit. During the Renaissance, sweeteners were difficult and expensive to obtain, so mostarda was enjoyed primarily by the aristocracy. Most modern visitors to Italy recall seeing mostarda served with bollito misto, the famous boiled meat dish of the North.
I suspect that the creativity of the cremonesi is in part a product of their substantial cuisine. Most agricultural statistics indicate that the farms in the province of Cremona are the most productive in Italy. This is in the middle of Padania, the fertile plain of the Po River valley. There are beef cows and dairy cows. The former wind up as the secondo at many cremonese meals.
The latter produce rivers of milk, used to make several wonderful cheeses plus butter and cream. A special flavor here is mostarda, which gives a special tang and sweetness to many of the dishes in cremonese cuisine, including tortelli di zucca and bollito misto.
The food of Cremona surely is not light, but it is more subtle than one would expect from a place that relies on the cow for much of its sustenance.
Cremona also vies with Benevento in Campania and a few other towns as the home of the popular torrone. Where it was created is a matter of debate, but there is no doubt that the version made in Cremona is the most famous.
While most food stores in Cremona are closed on Sunday and on Monday afternoon, you can buy 24/7 the Internet products presented on the Internet without having to go to Cremona first.
Where to stay in Cremona
There are hotels, apartments, condo hotels and B&Bs available, check it out and make a reservation here.
Lombardia in Cucina: The Flavours of Lombardy
Milan-style risotto, pizzoccheri Valtellinesi, and pumpkin tortelli to start; casoeula, Milan-style cutlets, frogs stewed in tomato to follow, and to send, a slice of sbrisolona cake or panettone.
Lombardy surprises with the richness of its culinary traditions and natural ingredients, which modernity has barely affected.
"Milano in Cucina" captures this kaleidoscope of flavours, with contributions from some of the most celebrated chefs on the culinary scene, who pay homage to their territory, and whose skill is able to present a modern vision in keeping with the region's progressive spirit.
The Italian Academy of Cuisine
La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.
Milano in Cucina: The Flavours of Milan
The famous Risotto Alla Milanese gets its golden hue from the precious spice saffron. Legend has it that the dish came about when a Milanese painter decided to gild the risotto served at his wedding banquet with a harmless gold-colored dye. In Milan, they traditionally serve Risotto Alla Milanese with ossobuco (braised veal shank).
Traditionally made with raisins and candied citron, or with a creamy cream filling, the light, fluffy brioche-like bread called panettone may be tall or short, covered with chocolate or flavored with various liquors, but it’s always a symbol of the Christmas season.
With its hallmark domed shape, panettone graced Christmas tables in Milan since at least the 15th-century. Common knowledge claims its invention is from Milan. It is the most famous Christmas Lombardia food.
The Pax side of the Moon featuring Cesareo
Lombardia (Dicon tutti che sei mia) Quarantine Version - feat. Cesareo (Quarantine Version)