Food Culture and Tradition

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Foods of Lombardy


The city of Milan, bustling and industrialized, dominates the plains of Lombardy. In the 1300s foods were sometimes gilded in the belief that gold was curative; the poor could not imitate this except by the use of saffron and the generous addition of golden butter to as many dishes as possible. This tradition is common in many Milanese dishes such as risotto and costolette alla milanese (butter-fried veal cutlets). Another famed dish is a version of minestrone which includes toasted bread, poached eggs, and a sprinkling of cheese with the soup poured over top. Buseca (tripe with white beans), vitello tonnato (cold roasted veal served with tuna sauce), and osso bucco with risotto (veal shanks braised then served with a gremolata of minced garlic, parsley, and grated lemon rind) are such beloved dishes that they are part of fine international cuisine and are found in countless cookbooks.

Panettone, the richly sweet yeast cake eaten throughout Italy both for Christmas and Easter festivities, is humorously believed to have been originated in Milan by a baker called Tony whose delighted customers then continued to ask for “panne Tony” (Tony’s bread) but other provinces claim it too. Gorgonzola, the creamy-rich, blue-veined cheese also known worldwide, is the product of Lombardy. Many other cheeses are produced hut are mostly used locally.

Lombardy wines include: Cortese, Barbera, Montelio, Sasella, and many others.

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