What to Taste
In the valleys and mountains, the cuisine is simple, based mainly on yellow polenta, taragna or vuncia, accompanying tasty dishes of game or rustic sliced beef dishes with Casera cheese, produced in two forms: fatty or semi-skimmed. In Valsassina, the best-known product is taleggio, but other dairy products should not be ignored, for instance goat cheese, ricotta and pasture butter.
In the area around Brianza, hearty specialties prevail: think Savoy cabbage (cazzoeula, casoela, etc.), tripe or foiolo, polenta and bird, cotecotto sausages and beans and, of course, all the products of the Italian delicatessen, such as filzette and cacciatorini (long, thin, salami). The original rustisciada is a typical Brianzola dish made from pork loin and sausages browned with onion.
Then, rabbit is cooked with special, traditional sauces, while savory stewed California rump stake takes its name from an old farmstead on the road between Viganò and Monza.
Fish is the undisputed king of Lake Como's gastronomy. Risotto with fillets of perch is the “national dish” of Lario, but other specialties preserve the zone's simple, folk gastronomy. The misultitt (by now Italianized as missoltini), is lake shad caught between May and June, dried in the sun and pressed with salt in the wooden containers know as missolte.
Finally, desserts include miascia, made with cornmeal and raisins, locally produced honey and dried fruit; and, in Valsassina, the traditional caviadini cookies made with pastry and sugar beans.