The Lombardia region of Italy
Panettone is the classic Christmas cake eaten across Italy during the festive period or holiday together with Pandoro, Pandolce, torrone and croccanti. Panettone is, in fact, a typical cake from Milan. Although there are several versions of its origins, this legend of how panettone was born is one cherished by the Milanese.
Written in English 'Shoe Museum' does not convey the style and elegance of the hundreds of hand made shoes housed in the 'Il Museo della Calzatura e della Tecnica Calzaturiera' in Vigevano. It is a place entirely dedicated to the history of shoe making, techniques and models through the centuries. Visitors can appreciate the evolution of footwear from simple functional objects to design and fashion icons.
This is a route celebrating Milan's place as perhaps Italy's first city of music. In fact, the city has an ancient tradition of Ambrosian rites and chants since the 4th century. It's not just about the Teatro alla Scala but thirteen additional locations from concert halls to museums, coffee houses and shops.
The province of Cremona is characterized by the flood plain of the River Po and its borders with Emilia Romagna. Interestingly, it's not the famous salami from the zone which catches the eye, it's the mustard. Indeed, Cremona is Italy's mustard capital. What was once a dish prepared by housewives and made from fresh fruits cooked in a syrup with added 'senape' flour, is now a huge industry.
The River Po is at its widest near the town of Cremona in Lombardia, roughly the middle of a navigable stretch in the region running from Pavia to Mantova. Look to hop on and off visiting little known places with perhaps a guided bike excursion thrown in. First stop on a boat trip from Cremona will usually be the mooring at Motta Baluffi.
Lombardia is a region of enormous historical and cultural interest, a land full of antique traditions, legends, mystery and folklore.
The following itinerary has been proposed by the Associazione Culturale Itinerari based in Sesto Calende to help the visitor discover places of ancient significance and inspiration.
To understand Milan's premier gastronomic dish, you must understand the city and wider territory. The local food traditions have always been closely linked to the River Po valley and the wide flat plain which produces abundant meat and dairy products.
Butter always dominated in cooking especially for frying and to also make fillings and desserts. The ever present pot of broth boiling on the stove gave rise to the popualrity of dishes requiring many hours of preparation such as stews and soups. This also created a whole culture of using every part of an animal; tripe, braised veal shanks (ossobucco), liver etc
Veal was consumed here more than anywhere else in Italy. Prices were lower thanks to the large number of farmers producing high quality meat and the supply chain was very short. The midollo or bone marrow is essential an ingredient in authentic risotto alla milanese.
Another fundamental element is the zone of Lomellina, home to Italy's best rice. Dried pasta and olive oil based dishes only really appeared in the post war boom period, imported from south Italy by migrant workers. Hence, rice as a key element in local cuisine. Our book of historical recipes from Milan lists 13 specific risotto types.