Lombardy is a very large region (about 24,000 square kilometers), therefore it has areas with very different characteristics both from the climatic point of view and from the point of view of the soil. We pass from decidedly mountainous areas, such as Valtellina, to flat or partially hilly areas such as the Oltrepò Pavese and there are areas with a very special microclimate, such as those around Lake Garda. The regional surface is flat for about half, mountainous for a further 40%. Just over 10% of the surface is hilly, and therefore lends itself to quality viticulture. All this means that from the wine-growing point of view crops and productions are different depending on the area taken into consideration.
Viticulture in Lombardy
The 30,000 hectares of vineyards in Lombardy are scattered over the large regional surface. The vineyards of the Valtellina are located on the slopes of the mountains, on the right side of the Adda, where the sunlight manages to ripen the grapes, while the vines are cultivated in terraces often at the limit of the maximum altitude that allows their development. In this area the most common type of farming is Guyot. Oltrepò Pavese, an area between the provinces of Pavia and Alessandria, has always been known for mass production of predominantly regional red wines. Guyot is also the most widespread form of farming.
The vines of Lombardy
In Valtellina the main grape variety is Nebbiolo, here called Chiavennasca, other autochthonous wines are Pignola, Rossola, Brugnola (known in Emilia as Fortana or Uva d’Oro), all in black berry, rarely vinified in purity and falling within the blend of classic Valtellina wines. In the Oltrepò Pavese, the most widespread grape is Barbera, followed by Croatina, Bonarda and Uva Rara. Pinot Noir deserves a special mention, while white wines are made with Riesling Italico, Moscati and Malvasie grapes. Franciacorta, in the area of Lake Iseo, is known for the cultivation of Pinot Nero, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay grapes. In the Garda and Colli Mantovani areas, the Groppello, Barbera, Marzemino and Sangiovese vines are cultivated. In the Garda and Colli Mantovani areas the Pergola Trentina and the Sylvoz are the most widespread forms of farming.
Regional cuisine in Lombardy
Lombardy is a very diverse region from the gastronomic point of view, also due to the vastness of the territory and the variety of its conformation, from the Alpine Arch to the Po Valley with many lakes and rivers. The appetizers are mainly based on cured meats, such as the salami of Brianza and Varzi PDO and the bresaola della Valtellina PGI. Nerves of veal and peppers from Voghera are also typical. Among the first courses we remember the remarkable variety of risottos, among which the most famous is without a doubt the Milanese risotto, soups and minestrone, such as the Pavese soup (with stale bread and eggs) and the Milanese-style minestrone. We should also mention the Valtellina pizzoccheri, buckwheat noodles cooked with cabbage and potatoes and seasoned with butter and cheese. The latter are mainly based on meat, the Milanese cutlets and the ossibuchi are famous, also accompanied with risotto. In addition, the Lombard cuisine is rich in game dishes based on hare, pigeons, chamois and roe deer. Also common are freshwater fish dishes, thanks to the presence of rivers and lakes, based on trout, carp and perch. There are many cheeses with a designation of origin, such as the formai de mut of the upper Val Brembana, the Casera and the Bitto in Valtellina, the Lombard quartirolo and many others.
Among the desserts the Easter dove and the panettone are now widespread nationwide, in addition to the nougat, the Mantua sbrisolona, the offelle (shortbread cakes with jam) and many others.