Must-Eat Foods

The Lake Maggiore area is renowned in Italy and abroad for its wide range of products.

The local cheeses, like the celebrated Bettelmatt or the tasty Ossolano d’Alpe, are even more delicious eaten with the high quality honey produced in the area.

Speciality cured meats include the mortadella of the Ossola (under the protection of the Slow Food organisation), the raw ham and violini di capra (cured goat’s leg) of the Vigezzo Valley. To complement these delectable hams and salamis, the locally produced wines are perfect: full-bodied reds like Ghemme Docg and Nebbiolo from the Novara hills,  Prunent and Neuv Bruschett from the Ossola valleys, or the wines of the Angera area.

Finally, the area surrounding the Lake Maggiore offers an equally diversified range of local speciality cakes and biscuits, such as the Fugascine of Mergozzo and the Margheritine of Stresa.

Our food

Cheese

The Lake Maggiore area and the valleys in its hinterland are renowned in Italy and abroad for the  cheese produced from animals grazing on mountain pastures, which is a feature of the local culinary culture. The ample lush pastures of the valleys have given the area a long tradition of high quality cheese production.

Classic local cheeses are the Ossolano d’Alpe, a cow’s milk cheese with a tasty yet mild flavour, the celebrated Bettelmatt, with a restricted production in only 7 alps in the Antigorio and Formazza valleys, and Mottarone, with its characteristic straw-yellow colour and many others such as goat’s milk cheese and ricotta. These cheeses are made on the high mountain pastures or in the dairies lower down in the valleys: for example, the Cooperative Dairy of the Antigorio Valley in Crodo.

Cheese is also made on the shores of the lake; an example is the Formagella of Luino, a medium-firm cheese made with whole raw goat’s milk.

And on the subject of superior regional products – don’t forget one of the best: Gorgonzola, which is made in the Varese and Novara areas and in the surrounding hills.

Honey

The honey produced in the Lake Maggiore area and the valleys in its hinterland is delicious eaten with lard or cheese and in desserts, but is also used interestingly in entrées and meat dishes. It’s one of the many specialities produced locally. Beekeeping is an ancient tradition here, with its origins as far back as the 14th century, as historical documents attest.

Local honey production is supervised by two Consortiums, one in the Verbano Cusio Ossola area and the other in the Varese area, which promote the main types of honey and guarantee their quality thanks to a combination of modern techniques and hands-on experience passed down through the generations.

The area’s geographical conformation means that honey can be produced from the shores of Lake Maggiore to high mountain altitudes. The variety of altitudes and consequently of vegetation result in the production of seven different types of honey with a high quality of flavours and aromas: chestnut, acacia, lime, rhododendron, honeydew honey, thousand flower and thousand flower from the mountains. These honeys have a range of flavours and colours, from pale gold to amber, sweet to slightly bitter, depending on which flowers the bees used to collect the nectar.

Cured meat

Processing meat by curing to make sausages and salami is an age-old tradition in the whole of the Lake Maggiore area, from the hill country to the mountains. A wide range of classic products is available, thanks to the skill of our pork butchers, who have inherited the mastery of their trade from the past generations.

The valleys to the north-west of the lake produce a wealth of cured meats, from the mortadella of the Ossola (under the protection of Slow Food), the raw ham and violini di capra (cured goat’s leg) of the Vigezzo Valley, to the herb-flavoured lard of Macugnaga and the famed dried meat. A quick snack or light supper here will usually feature salami, pancetta and bresaola. 

The hill area around Novara is renowned for its gourmet salamis such as Salam della Duja and Fidighin Pat, both made with prime pork meat. And to complement these delectable salamis, the locally produced wines are perfect: full-bodied reds like Ghemme Docg and Nebbiolo from the Novara hills, Prunent and Neuv Bruschett from the Ossola valleys, or the wines of the Angera area.

Rice

For over 500 years rice has been the “king crop” of the Novara area, characterising its agricultural economy and defining its landscape. A wide range of varieties of rice are grown here, from the well-known classics such as Arborio, Roma, Sant’Andrea, to the lesser known Baldo, Balilla, Vialone Nano and Ribe, as well as Venere, the intriguing Black Venus rice.

Novara possesses a wealth of rice-based dishes, but the classic recipe must be Paniscia, a hearty dish of rice cooked with lard, onions and the local salame della duja in a broth whose ingredients vary with the season but can include beans, carrots, celery, leeks, cabbage and tomatoes. The name “paniscia” derives from the fact that the dish was once made not with rice but with a low-grade cereal similar to millet, called panìco.

Paniscia used to be a festive dish, cooked only on special occasions, but today you can try it in restaurants and agriturismi all over the area, along with a glass of excellent Piedmont wine.

Wine

Gourmet visitors to Lake Maggiore will be delighted to sample the full-bodied, fragrant wines that are the perfect accompaniment to the traditional dishes of the area, from the gentle hills of the Novara area to the lake and the high valleys beyond.

Pride of place must go to the wines of the Novara hills, such as Ghemme Docg and Nebbiolo Doc, or Barbera, or Vespolina DOC.

But the terraced hillsides of the Ossola valleys also offer wines that encapsulate the flavour of the mountains: Prünent, Neuv Bruschett and Cà d’ Matè. Again, the wines of Angera on the lake shore provide a different taste experience.

Cakes and biscuits

This large area, which brings together the different environments of lake, hill and mountain, offers an equally diversified range of local speciality cakes and biscuits. Visitors will be tempted to try these traditional delights, on mouth-watering display in the dozens of old-established bakeries and pastry-shops of the region.

In the Ossola, Val Vigezzo in particular, look into one of the local bakeries selling Crescenzin, a round rye loaf stuffed with walnuts, figs and raisins.

Travelling towards the lake area, stop in Mergozzo for a taste of its delicious sweet Fugascine, in Stresa to buy some Margheritine, biscuits originally made in honour of Queen Margherita of Savoy, and in Intra for a box of Intresine, made with butter and topped with almonds and hazelnuts.

In Novara and its neighbouring hills, don’t miss a taste of San Gaudenzio’s bread and the traditional Novara biscuits, made with flour, sugar and fresh eggs. And Varese will tempt you with Varese Cake, a light sponge “log” made with maize flour.

Beer

The Varese province is home to one of the oldest Italian beer houses. In fact, Angelo Poretti founded the historic beer house which still sits at the entrance of the Valganna with its Liberty buildings in 1877.

Today, besides the historic Poretti beer house, other establishments which preserve the beer house vocation of this territory have been added, among which are the University of beer in Azzate and the L'Ordo Verde (Green Bear) microbrewery in Busto Arsizio.

The Lake Maggiore area and the valleys in its hinterland are renowned in Italy and abroad for the  cheese produced from animals grazing on mountain pastures, which is a feature of the local culinary culture. The ample lush pastures of the valleys have given the area a long tradition of high quality cheese production.

Classic local cheeses are the Ossolano d’Alpe, a cow’s milk cheese with a tasty yet mild flavour, the celebrated Bettelmatt, with a restricted production in only 7 alps in the Antigorio and Formazza valleys, and Mottarone, with its characteristic straw-yellow colour and many others such as goat’s milk cheese and ricotta. These cheeses are made on the high mountain pastures or in the dairies lower down in the valleys: for example, the Cooperative Dairy of the Antigorio Valley in Crodo.

Cheese is also made on the shores of the lake; an example is the Formagella of Luino, a medium-firm cheese made with whole raw goat’s milk.

And on the subject of superior regional products – don’t forget one of the best: Gorgonzola, which is made in the Varese and Novara areas and in the surrounding hills.

The honey produced in the Lake Maggiore area and the valleys in its hinterland is delicious eaten with lard or cheese and in desserts, but is also used interestingly in entrées and meat dishes. It’s one of the many specialities produced locally. Beekeeping is an ancient tradition here, with its origins as far back as the 14th century, as historical documents attest.

Local honey production is supervised by two Consortiums, one in the Verbano Cusio Ossola area and the other in the Varese area, which promote the main types of honey and guarantee their quality thanks to a combination of modern techniques and hands-on experience passed down through the generations.

The area’s geographical conformation means that honey can be produced from the shores of Lake Maggiore to high mountain altitudes. The variety of altitudes and consequently of vegetation result in the production of seven different types of honey with a high quality of flavours and aromas: chestnut, acacia, lime, rhododendron, honeydew honey, thousand flower and thousand flower from the mountains. These honeys have a range of flavours and colours, from pale gold to amber, sweet to slightly bitter, depending on which flowers the bees used to collect the nectar.

Processing meat by curing to make sausages and salami is an age-old tradition in the whole of the Lake Maggiore area, from the hill country to the mountains. A wide range of classic products is available, thanks to the skill of our pork butchers, who have inherited the mastery of their trade from the past generations.

The valleys to the north-west of the lake produce a wealth of cured meats, from the mortadella of the Ossola (under the protection of Slow Food), the raw ham and violini di capra (cured goat’s leg) of the Vigezzo Valley, to the herb-flavoured lard of Macugnaga and the famed dried meat. A quick snack or light supper here will usually feature salami, pancetta and bresaola. 

The hill area around Novara is renowned for its gourmet salamis such as Salam della Duja and Fidighin Pat, both made with prime pork meat. And to complement these delectable salamis, the locally produced wines are perfect: full-bodied reds like Ghemme Docg and Nebbiolo from the Novara hills, Prunent and Neuv Bruschett from the Ossola valleys, or the wines of the Angera area.

For over 500 years rice has been the “king crop” of the Novara area, characterising its agricultural economy and defining its landscape. A wide range of varieties of rice are grown here, from the well-known classics such as Arborio, Roma, Sant’Andrea, to the lesser known Baldo, Balilla, Vialone Nano and Ribe, as well as Venere, the intriguing Black Venus rice.

Novara possesses a wealth of rice-based dishes, but the classic recipe must be Paniscia, a hearty dish of rice cooked with lard, onions and the local salame della duja in a broth whose ingredients vary with the season but can include beans, carrots, celery, leeks, cabbage and tomatoes. The name “paniscia” derives from the fact that the dish was once made not with rice but with a low-grade cereal similar to millet, called panìco.

Paniscia used to be a festive dish, cooked only on special occasions, but today you can try it in restaurants and agriturismi all over the area, along with a glass of excellent Piedmont wine.

Gourmet visitors to Lake Maggiore will be delighted to sample the full-bodied, fragrant wines that are the perfect accompaniment to the traditional dishes of the area, from the gentle hills of the Novara area to the lake and the high valleys beyond.

Pride of place must go to the wines of the Novara hills, such as Ghemme Docg and Nebbiolo Doc, or Barbera, or Vespolina DOC.

But the terraced hillsides of the Ossola valleys also offer wines that encapsulate the flavour of the mountains: Prünent, Neuv Bruschett and Cà d’ Matè. Again, the wines of Angera on the lake shore provide a different taste experience.

This large area, which brings together the different environments of lake, hill and mountain, offers an equally diversified range of local speciality cakes and biscuits. Visitors will be tempted to try these traditional delights, on mouth-watering display in the dozens of old-established bakeries and pastry-shops of the region.

In the Ossola, Val Vigezzo in particular, look into one of the local bakeries selling Crescenzin, a round rye loaf stuffed with walnuts, figs and raisins.

Travelling towards the lake area, stop in Mergozzo for a taste of its delicious sweet Fugascine, in Stresa to buy some Margheritine, biscuits originally made in honour of Queen Margherita of Savoy, and in Intra for a box of Intresine, made with butter and topped with almonds and hazelnuts.

In Novara and its neighbouring hills, don’t miss a taste of San Gaudenzio’s bread and the traditional Novara biscuits, made with flour, sugar and fresh eggs. And Varese will tempt you with Varese Cake, a light sponge “log” made with maize flour.

The Varese province is home to one of the oldest Italian beer houses. In fact, Angelo Poretti founded the historic beer house which still sits at the entrance of the Valganna with its Liberty buildings in 1877.

Today, besides the historic Poretti beer house, other establishments which preserve the beer house vocation of this territory have been added, among which are the University of beer in Azzate and the L'Ordo Verde (Green Bear) microbrewery in Busto Arsizio.

Our consortia

Serate di Gola 2017

"Gnoch da la chigiàa" receives an important acknowledgment

Top Events

La vita tra Leponti e Walser

Ornavasso, From 30 April to 1 May 2017

Street Food Platea Cibis

Verbania Pallanza, From 21 April to 25 April 2017

La vita tra Leponti e Walser

Ornavasso, From 30 April to 1 May 2017

Street Food Platea Cibis

Verbania Pallanza, From 21 April to 25 April 2017

Conventions and Meetings

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The beautiful countryside around Lake Maggiore offers peerless convention facilities. With its natural and artistic beauties boasts a long tradition in the meeting and convention hosting sector with many excellent venues and services, and unrivalled hospitality facilities. Quality, hospitality and the varied and beautiful scenery make it one of the preferred destinations for visitors from all around the world.