1. Food

Antipasti, Cold Cuts and More More from the Val D'Aosta

Today we would consider many of these recipes to be antipasti. In the past, when the Val D'Aosta was much more isolated than it is now, and the cooking was more frugal, some of these dishes would have served as an entire meal.

A Salami Frittata -- Frittata con il Salame
A Salami Frittata, or Frittata con il Salame: This is one of the Valdostan dishes that would have been the major player in a one-course meal in the past, and has now become an antipasto (in small wedges). In Val D'Aosta it would have been made using butter or lard as the fat for the skillet because they didn't have olive oil, but you're free to...

Mushroomy Valdostan Bread Pudding - Tortino Di Pane Valdostano Ai Funghi
This savory bread pudding from the Valle D'Aosta is best with fresh porcini, though any flavorful wild mushroom will work.

Green Salad with Cheese: Insalata di Verdure al Fromazdo
A tasty salad with lots of things including cheese, and an unusual (for Italy) cream-based dressing.

Mocetta is one of Valle D'Aosta's traditional cured meats, and in the past the animal used was mountain goat. Now most of the goats are in national parks, and though some are still raised for the purpose, people also use beef. It is in any case a preparation that should only be undertaken after temperatures have dropped in the fall, and will require a cool dry place for both the salting and the aging.

Salad with Fromazdo Cheese -- Insalata di Verdure al Fromazdo
Salad with Fromazdo Cheese: In much of Italy salads are simply dressed with oil, vinegar, salt, and no pepper. In Val D'Aosta things are a little different, because it's too far north for olive trees to grow, and few could afford olive oil, which was imported from either Liguria, Provence or Lago Maggiore. Instead they used walnut oil, and a variety of dairy and cheese mixtures that Americans and northern Europeans may find more normal than would most of the people living elsewhere in Italy.

Sausage and Potatoes -- Salsicce e Patate
Sausage and Potatoes, or Salsicce e Patate: Sausage and potatoes would strike one as obvious, and the combination is, especially in mountainous areas where potatoes grow well and contribute heavily to the diet. Indeed, in the past this was often the only item on the menu in the Val D'Aosta's mountain inns. You'll need four mild Italian link sausages that aren't too fatty. With a salad, it will do an excellent job of keeping the chill of winter at bay. To serve 4 you'll need:

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