DescriptionThe characteristic strong point of local Belluno cooking is its diversity, how much it varies from one area to another; while in the northern reaches of the province the influence of neighbouring Austria is evident in the use of a number of typical ingredients - for instance poppy seeds - the cuisine of the Valbelluna is more in line with the culinary traditions of the rest of the Veneto region. This is why in the traditional dishes of Belluno you will find strong, robust mountain flavours softened by the country air. The traditional local economy, which used to be based on cattle and sheep rearing, has produced irresistible main courses, such as pastìn, Alpago lamb and Lamon mutton, not to mention a superb range of cheeses. The local dishes have been influenced and enhanced since their origins by ingredients and cooking techniques from further afield, from both mountain and coastal areas; naturally this booklet can give only a few examples of the wealth of Belluno’s culinary heritage, but we hope to give you a taste for more - there is plenty for your tastebuds to discover in the province! To produce a classic, tasty Belluno dish it is not enough to take simplicity, season with tradition, add a pinch of creativity and leave to simmer on a low heat; the secret of a great recipe lies in the genuine ingredients it is made from. Today this fundamental aspect has been recognised and certified by the quality trademarks, Slow Food Presidia and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) labels, which you will find on a number of local products; this recognition of the importance of genuine, quality produce has encouraged farmers to preserve, protect and promote some local varieties of food which were gradually disappearing; both producers and consumers are becoming increasingly aware that quality cuisine depends first and foremost on quality farming on quality land. Some traditional crops that visitors can enjoy in the province include the Lamon bean and the Cesiomaggiore potato, as well as the Feltre walnut and a number of local varieties of apples. You will find a huge range of restaurants, farmhouse restaurants or mountain refuges where you can sample the local food, and there really is something to suit everyone. The tasty dishes you can enjoy in these places are skilfully prepared with simple, genuine ingredients, according to traditional recipes handed down from one generation to the next. An excellent example is polenta, part of the staple diet of the local mountain and country folk, perfect with formai schiz, pastìn or roe deer, and found in the finest, most representative restaurants in the province. From the generous first courses through to the glass of grappa flavoured with local herbs or forest fruits to round off your meal, traditional Belluno cooking is never a disappointment, bringing together as it does the down-to-earth, unpretentious local character with pure, delicate flavours.