While Italian regions like Tuscany are instantly recognised and ‘emerging regions’ such as Puglia are gaining attention, a few of Italy’s 20 regions are overshadowed by powerful capital cities and barely known by name. So it is with Italy’s wealthiest region, industrial Lombardy with fashion capital Milan at its heart, which is also rich in agricultural land. In 2012, Alessandro and his wife Anna led Franz and me on a whirlwind trip around Lombardy, discovering the fabulous produce, rich culture and cuisine of Alessandro’s little-known corner of Italy. Together we created this celebration of Lombardy’s traditional food, as diverse as the Alps, lakes, hills and plains that make up this landlocked region. Lakes such as Como and Garda provide fish and a micro-climate that allows olive trees, citrus and grapes to flourish further north than normal, while the rib-sticking dishes of the Alps have more in common with bordering Switzerland than sunny southern Italy. Wooded hills provide boar, pheasant and other game plus mushrooms and chestnuts, and the fertile plains of the River Po produce corn for polenta, rice for risotto and pastures for cattle, making dishes like osso bucco popular and producing some of Italy’s most famous cheeses, including mascarpone, gorgonzola and taleggio. Baking is also popular and sweets include Italy’s famous Christmas bread, panettone, and delicious cakes, nougat and deep-fried Carnevale treats. Order an autographed copy now.
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