Trentino-South Tyrol is a region rich in traditional flavours and tastes that make every dish special. To discover a place through its typical and traditional dishes is an original and extraordinary way to get to know its culture and history. Oil, cold cuts, cheeses, fruit and wines will provide you with pleasant taste experiences that you can also take home with you by buying a bottle of oil, a piece of speck or a few kilos of local apples.
The oil of Trentino has reached an excellent level of quality, but the difficult climatic conditions of the city allow the growth of olive trees only on the shores of Lake Garda where the climate is more temperate. The great frost of 1985 caused enormous damages to the olive trees and led farmers to examine the land for the planting of new olive trees and for the enhancement of the true olive oil of Trentino, with better characteristics. Currently, the production of olives varies between one thousand and seven thousand quintals. Part of this production is processed with a stone mill and the oil obtained has a leafy green colour with golden reflections, with a very characteristic taste and aroma.
The salumi (italian cold cuts) produced locally represent at its best the tasty food tradition of Trentino. The speck in the whole region, the carne salada in western Trentino, the garlic salami, the cacciatore and the seasoned lard in Val Rendena, are the products that stand out most in the salumi production of Trentino.
The speck is produced in every valley and it is the most known cold cut of Trentino. In order to enjoy a high quality speck, there are some fundamental characteristics to look at, such as maturation, fat percentage, salting, smoking and colour. <br/ >The <strong< carne salada (salted lean beef sliced very thinly), is a product that Italian consumers love to use for preparing delicious carpaccio dishes. Born in western Trentino, the so-called “Carpaccio di Carne Salada” has become one of the main dishes eaten and beloved by Italian people for its unique taste, tenderness and the low fat percentage that it contains (around 1%).
The garlic salami and the cacciatore (matured luganega sausage) are traditionally produced and matured in Val Rendena. The knowledge and mastery of the producers are expressed in the processing of the best pork meat with the addition of simple ingredients, such as salt, pepper and garlic, which gives a unique taste to the salami. Today in Val Rendena there are still several companies that keep this tradition alive and that, with the help of technology, offer excellent products with consistent quality.
Finally we have the so-called lardo, a sausage with a unique and appeling taste, an ingredient offered in the best Italian restaurants and in everyday appetizers. Without preservatives, rich in vitamins, tasty with spices and herbs, the lardo can be eaten with fresh bread or used in the kitchen to flavour more complex dishes.
The grappa of Trentino is an old an old grape-based pomace brandy with a long tradition that has been able to remain young and unique by constantly following the evolution of the consumers’ taste. In the distilleries, the principles of the traditional distillation have not been changed. This distillation follows the old rules of indirect heat source, slow distilling and the constant work of man. At the same time, the tradition has been combined with more modern techniques: the grape pomace is distilled while it’s still fresh and softer, in order to obtain a grappa of higher quality. With its grappa production, Trentino contributes 2.5% to the overall national quantity and ranks among the first places in terms of quality recognized also on an international level. In order to further qualify the product, Trentino is carrying out the recognition of a controlled designation of origin (denominazione di origine controllata DOC) that would certify the origin of the distillate. The peculiarities, that are typical of the area of origin, allow a differentiation from the rest of the national production. However, the production of the Trentino distillates is not characterized exclusively by the production of grappa: it includes also other types of productions, such as fruit distillates, among which stand out the grape distillate, the apricot distillate and the quince distillate.
The cheese is divided into many categories, based on its fat percentage, its texture and its maturation time. In Trentino the most known cheeses are Grana, Asiago, Vezzena, Fontal, Taleggio, Crucolo and Puzzone of Moena. The Grana Trentino, better known under the name Trentingrana, belongs to the Grana Padano family and under a qualitative point of view it’s at the level of the Parmigiano Reggiano that is produced in Emilian Appennines. In the province of Trento, the production is mainly concentrated in the Non Valley where this cheese is produced for more than half a century.
Another famous cheese is the Asiago, original from the town Asiago but has always been produced also in the valleys of Trentino. In Trentino, another century-old tradition is the preparation of ricotta, which is called “poina” in the local dialect. In the mountain cottages where it was produced, the ricotta was often smoked and left to ripe: this way the ricotta gets brown outside and inside remains white-light green.
In some valley were common also ricotta biscuits, which were prepared by searing the so-called poina on the fire.
In Trentino almost every type of wine is called by the name of its grape’s variety. Currently, more than 50 % of the white grapes produced in Trentino are Chardonnay. These grapes are not only used for the production of Chardonnay Trentino Doc but also for the production of Spumante Trento Doc.
In Valle dei Laghi the Nosiola grapes are used for the Vino Santo Trentino Doc, a dessert wine produced with an ancient winemaking technique. Other dessert wines are the Moscato giallo and the Moscato rosa Trentino Doc. The red grape variety most cultivated in Trentino is the Schiava, a grape that is used to produce a light and particular table wine and often made into a rosé. Among the red wines produced in Trentino, the following ones are worthy of mention: Teroldego Rotaliano Doc and Marzemino Trentino Doc, two emblematic wines of Trentino produced locally from grapes with the same name. The Teroldego grapes, known as the “prince” wine of Trentino, are cultivated in the Rotaliana Plain, northern from Trento, while the Marzemino is a typical wine from Vallagarina. Merlot and Cabernet are two varieties introduced in Trentino around the end of the last century. Trentino rosso Doc is made from the union of these two grape varieties and a wide range of grapes are harvested under the name of this wine.
Spumante (sparkling wine)
With more than 5 million commercialized bottles in 1995, the production of Trentino classic spumante (sparkling wine) has tripled in less than a decade. Trentino, currently national leader regarding the sparkling wine produced with the Méthode Champenoise, has made it possible to place the italian production of sparkling wine on the same level of the productions other countries.
Trentino has an area under vines between 300 and 800 metres above sea level with areas of steeply sloping terrain, where the grapes Chardonnay, Pinot blanc and Pinot noir undergo a slow process of aging and develop the perfect characteristics for the production of spumante. Chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot blanc are used to produce the spumante Trento Classico.
The harvest of grapes used for the production of Trento Classico is regulated by specific requirements that establish the period and method of harvesting. The sparkling process is carried out according to strict standards regulated by the Méthode Champenoise, which involves various phases carefully inspected by the technical committee of the Consortium. Ferrari, Rotari and Firmato are certainly the three best known brands among those belonging to the Trento Classico. Other small companies that offer products of great interest and prestige are: Abate Nero, Cesarini Sforza, Equipe 5, Concilio, Arcade, Aldeno, Le Brul, Terrazze della Luna, Maria Theresia, San Michele, Pisoni.
Apples have unique characteristics and are an extremely healthy food. The apples of Trentino, cultivated on hills and mountains, are real concentrates of nutrients. They are produced in many parts of Trentino but the valley most famous for its apple production is Val di Non. The most common qualities are the ones of the Reinette du Canada – a typical apple variety cultivated in Trentino that represents one of the oldest rustic qualities -, of the Golden Delicious – the most famous apple variety on Eurpoean level -, and of the Red Delicious, – also suitable for diabetics. Mountain apples are crunchier, more fragrant and last longer. All our apples are subject to particularly strict quality controls, guaranteed by specific regulations of self-discipline approved by the provincial authority. The producers follow strict rules throughout each phase of the production to preserve the quality of the product and protect the consumer’s health and the environment. Only to the apples that present this characteristics of quality can be given the brand “mele del Trentino”.