Ossola Valley is a land of high-quality traditional cured meat, unique products that are rare in Italy and truly authentic.
One of the most typical dishes is violino di capra (“goat violin”): this dish is only found in Ossola Valley (especially in Vigezzo Valley, as well as in Bognanco Valley and Antrona Valley) and owes its name to its distinctive shape, which recalls the shape of a violin, and above all to the way in which thin slices are cut from the meat using very sharp blades, placing this tasty “instrument” on the shoulder and manoeuvring the knife like a bow.
Similar dishes include violino d’agnello (lamb violin) and violino di camoscio (chamois violin), a true delicacy when carefully seasoned.
Another traditional Ossola Valley meat is liver mortadella, which is recommended by Slow Food and made with the front part of the pig and with the addition of a small percentage of raw liver (around 5%, though a special variety in Vigezzo Valley can contain twice as much): the mixture is blended with herbs, salt and a spiced wine-based decoction, before being placed in the pig’s intestine, which can be long, thin and folded with a twisted shape or tied like a star.
Maturing of salami for raw consumption varies from two to six months: when fresher, it can be cooked and consumed with polenta, boiled potatoes or classic mashed potatoes.
Prosciutto crudo from the pig’s rear thigh is another important cured meat: in Vigezzo Valley, it is first massaged by hand to completely release any residual blood and air, softening the fibres, and then, after being bathed in wine, spices, herbs, pepper and salt, is smoked for a few minutes in juniper wood smoke and seasoned in mountain air from six months to a year. The finished product is a must-try Ossolan delicacy characterized by delicious, soft meat that smells of resin from the woods of Ossola Valley.