In a small and remote region bordering France and Switzerland on the far edge of North West Italy, lies the Alpine region of Val d'Aosta.
A fascinating mountainous land, which has managed to remain "less touristy "than its neighbours despite harbouring a multitude of culinary secrets and typical foods.
What the region lacks in size it makes up for in gastronomic diversity, where the French influence and mountain traditions fuse to form a multi-faceted and interesting culinary landscape with a diverse larder of cheeses, cured meats and much much more.
We have selected eight typical products of the Val d' Aosta that we can't keep secret any longer:
1. Jamon de Bosses (Ham from Bosses)
The climate, in the village of Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses, is particularly conducive to the maturing of this special ham. Jambon de Bosses was born centuries ago and boasts a centuries-old tradition and has since gained the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin status).
2. Fontina DOP
Perhaps the most typical product from Val d'Aosta. According to the strict production regulations, it must be obtained exclusively from whole raw milk from the breed Valle d'Aosta, and matured for at least three months in the cellar. The flavour is sweet, soft and yellow flesh.
This dry cured meat tastes very similar to bresaola although it can also be made from beef, horse or chamois. The most traditional way to eat it is with black bread, butter and a drizzle of honey.
Teteun is one of the most typical products of the region: a pickled cow's udder which is then cooked and eaten in slices, possibly accompanied by several jams. For brave palates only!
5. Valle d'Aosta Fromadzo
Photo: Taccuini Storici
Fromadzo is the patois word for cheese. This popular Toma cheese is made from cow's milk and has both the nose and palate aromas and flavours of herbs and mountain flowers. With ageing it acquires a certain spiciness.
6. LARD D' ARNAD DOP
Photo: Les Goûts du Mont Blanc
Perhaps the most famous Italian bacon, the bacon fat takes its specificity from being conserved with local aromatic herbs, and a further maturing in traditional doils (cubical wooden boxes).
Photo: Made in VDA
These typical, thin and crunchy regional biscuits are usually made with nuts, sugar, egg white and flour. Almonds and vanilla can also be added to adapt the recipe to taste.
Drinking this herbal liqueur is one of the most typical experiences that you can do in Valle d'Aosta. Made from the aromatic plant Artemesia that still grows in the mountains (although now mainly cultivated), the traditional Italian digestive is perfect for enjoying after a meal.
Discover Fine Dining Lovers' exclusive Why Waste? video series, featuring Massimo Bottura and his team of chefs, as they teach us how to repurpose leftovers and trimmings in delicious and imaginative ways, from vegetables to dairy. Take a look