An Appetite for Lombardy: The People, the Places, the Food




Many people have preconceived ideas about Lombardy: the economic powerhouse of northern Italy, home of trendsetting Milan and upmarket holiday destinations such as Lakes Garda, Maggiore and Como (a certain Hollywood A-lister hasn’t harmed the latter’s reputation).

What fails to spring immediately to mind is the excellent food of this varied region. But it should. Yes, Lombardy is blessed with wonderful plains, lakes and mountains, but it offers some equally extraordinary food and wine many of which are only known outside of Italy to experts.

The residents of Lombardy are hard-working and open to exterior influences, especially in Milan. As might be expected in one of Europe’s major cities, fine and Michelin-starred dining is plentiful. However, many of these places already have high international profiles, so this book spends more time in the quality osterie and trattorie of the region.

Among these are places with a strong continuation of family history and traditions, and those that began as neighbourhood restaurants but are now better known for shining in the Michelin-starred galaxy: Ristorante Due Colombe with one star and Da Vittorio where the Cerea brothers have acquired a dazzling three stars.

There are also striking contrasts. The region’s character is equally defined by large international names like Grana Padano (impossible to consider Lombardy without it) and small businesses such as the ancient rice mill run singlehandedly by Pietro Schiavi.

Some suggest that Lombard cuisine came about from a mix of two ingredients: poverty in rural areas and wealth in big cities where rich families’ food was prepared by private cooks. Today, there is an increasingly accessible choice between rustic simplicity and Michelin-starred dining. These, and all the stages in between, are distinguished by some of the most dedicated and enthusiastic chefs, managers and supporting staff you will ever meet. Who better to introduce you to some of the best current food and wine in Lombardy?

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