Franco Aliberti, formely of Osteria Francescana, and Gianni Tarabini are the chefs at La Preséf restaurant at the La Fiorida agritourism in Mantello, where the mountains are a welcome companion.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE FOOD IN VALTELLINA?
The cuisine in Valtellina is a reflection of the simple family traditions from which it came. The taste of every product and dish is a nod to the food prepared in local kitchens. Much of the food, which is made according to recipes taught to people by their grandparents, depends on livestock reared in the Alps and crops grown among the rocks or in the forest. The area has six PDO-certified products and when you combine these – like six musical notes – you can create an infinite number of taste symphonies.
WHICH LOCAL DISH DO YOU LIKE COOKING MORE THAN ANY OTHER?
We love Sciatt [buckwheat cheese fritters]. Despite the name, which in Valtellina dialect means “toad”, they are little bundles of wonderful flavour, all made from simple ingredients: water, buckwheat, Valtellina Casera DOP cheese and a dash of grappa.
WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DO YOU HAVE WITH ARTISANAL PRODUCERS IN THE AREA?
The land is the pantry from which we stock our kitchen. Whenever we leave the farm at La Fiorida, we always drop in on our local producers, which vary from the smallest artisans to the larger-scale farmers and breeders. Thanks to their products, we are able to create a menu that offers our guests quality, taste and authenticity.
FRANCO, YOU’RE NOT ORIGINALLY FROM THESE PARTS. HAS ANYTHING SURPRISED YOU?
It’s the little things that make Valtellina so special. Traditions have survived here, there are timeless hamlets and virtually unexplored valleys that man hasn’t yet conquered. These little things might be taken for granted by the people that live here, but when you see them for the first time they’re absolutely fascinating.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE LOCAL WINES?
The majesty and character of Il Nebbiolo delle Alpi is a reflection of the sheer effort that has gone into creating it. Its terraced vineyards have been carved out of the rocks and every single second of the growing process is carefully managed by hand. Whenever guests from to La Fiorida or La Preséf to taste a local wine, we always advise them to walk along the Sentiero dei Terrazzamenti, which takes them through DOCG-certified wine areas like Maroggia, Sassella, Grumello and Inferno. That way, they truly understand where these wonderful wines have come from.
Franco Aliberti & Gianni Tarabini
SAPORE LIFE/ Valtellina THREE UNMISSABLE EXPERIENCES
There is no better accompaniment to a slice of Valtellina cheese than a glass of…
Mix the two types of flour, add water to form a dough and knead for around five minutes. Using a rolling pin, roll thE…
Mountainous areas are best known for their dairy products, tasty examples of…