During the course of exploring the various Italian regions and their cuisines, it seems that each region improved upon the next. I think I’ve discovered the pinnacle of their cuisine in Lombardy.
Lombardy is in the North Central of Italy, and is most likely the furthest away from what Americans percieve to be “Italian Food”. They eschew olive oil and prefer butter or lard. They dismiss pasta, choosing instead to eat more rice. And a fair amount of their foods seemed to be similar to Austrian/German cuisine.
However (and oh is there a ‘however’), Lombardy is swimming in cheeses. They love cheese so much that at one time they even had a “cheese bank” where one could deposit cheese and have it stored for a small fee. I’m unsure if the bank still exists, but if it does, I tihnk I know where I want to vacation next.
I’m sure I could wax eloquent about Risotto alla Milano. There’s a chance I could talk about Ossobucco. There’s a possibility that I may discuss what it means to serve meat scaloppine. All of these things may happen.
But the smart money is that I will talk about the manna that is Gorgonzola. Then there’s the creamy, Parmesan-like, grana padana that’s therer to explore. Oh, and let’s not forget marscapone. Then there’s Bel Paese. My body currently quivers in cheesy anticipation.
In short, when thinking of Lombardy, my eyes are on the cheeses. Yes, there’s a culinary tradition which needs to be discussed, but in my mind, that’s the secondary topic.