Lombardy is a north-western region of Italy, n°1 in the country in terms of population, and n°4 in terms of surface area. With its lakes, plains, and mountains, it spans an area that is extremely complex on a geomorphological level, but at the same time beautiful and rich in high-quality raw material, which is the basis of a considerably interesting history of food and wine tradition. Lombard products are a crucial link in the Italian food and agricultural chain, thanks to an unparalleled heritage including 250 traditional products of excellence, with 34 having PDO or PGI designations, and 41 wines having DOCG (designation of controlled and guaranteed origin), DOC (designation of controlled origin), or IGT (designation of typical geographic indication) designations. Let us now discover the main regional specialties together.
Vines are grown in Lombardy ever since prehistory, as the numerous findings along lakes Garda and Iseo reveal. The region’s vineyards stretch out across 30,000 hectares (over 74,000 acres), along an area that is 50% flatland, 45% hill, and 5% mountainous. This particular geographic combination is the prerequisite for a wide range of top-notch and organoleptically diverse wines. The region boasts 5 DOCG, 21 DOC, and 15 IGT wines. The most common native vines are Chiavennasca, Colombaia, Erbamat, Invernenga, Lambrusco Viadanese, Marzemino, Pignola, Rossola, and Vespolina.
Culinary specialties exist all across the region, defining food and wine trails across a varied and evocative landscape. Lombardy features an impressive cheesemaking tradition, including alpine, fresh, and aged cheeses, such as the PDO Bitto, the Bagoss di Bagolino, the PDO Formai De Mut dell’Alta Valle Brembana, the PDO Quartirolo Lombardo, the PDO Strachitunt, the PDO Casera della Valtellina, and the PDO Taleggio. Finally, there are the PDO Grana Padano and the PDO Gorgonzola, which are among the most famous Italian cheeses worldwide. The region boasts an equally astounding selection of cured meats: the PGI Bresaola Valtellina, the PDO Salame Brianza, the PDO Salame Varzi, and the PGI Salame d’Oca di Mortara goose salami are all absolutely worth a taste! Moreover, there are the PDO Varesino di Acacia honey, the PDO Oliva Garda extra virgin olive oil, and – among fruit and vegetables – the PGI Cantello asparagus, the PGI Valtellina apple, and the PGI Mantovano melon.
Milan is the capital of Lombardy. Following the 2015 Expo, the city has turned into a point of reference for food lovers and a popular destination among international tourists searching for the latest trends in high-quality food services. The city hosts 5% of all Italian food services, and 1/7 of all wine bars. The main food delivery companies have its headquarters in Milan. Furthermore, the most celebrated international chefs regularly stop here for events and cooperation initiatives. Expo 2015 has paved the way for a profusion of events, food markets, and food trucks without comparison on a national level. This has also been possible thanks to the city’s architectural rebirth, with the restoration of ancient splendour and redevelopment of a large number of neighbourhoods.