Food and wine

Where the hills of Monferrato meet the Po River you can find the vineyards and the wines that are perfect to accompany the savoury dishes of the local cuisine of Casale and Alessandria. Here the Piedmontese dishes show the influence of the Liguria cuisine, suffice it to think of olive oil and anchovies, the main ingredients of the local “bagna cauda”.
If you continue towards the Lomellina the view from the river bank consits solely of cultivated fields, a mosaic of colours that change according to the season: bright green in April, yellow ripe rice in late summer, brown corn stubbles emerging from the fog in November and flooded rice fields reflecting crystal blue skies in the winter. The water resources of the Po river make it possible for the Po Valley to produce so many different products to feed a big part of the Italian population.
You journey through the tastes of the middle part of the Po River continues in Mortara, to visit the loacl fair dedicated to geese salami in September. These white birds are bred in the shadow of the poplar woods dotting the area. Alpine cows are kept in the farms of the valley during the winter, where they prduce the milk necessary to make famous local cheese, like stracchino, mascarpone and gorgonzola. The Great Valley offers also a big variety of vegetables and fruit. If you want to try them you just have to choose among the numerous village fairs, where you will find asparagus from Cilavegna and peppers from Voghera.
If you do not like the wines of the valley you just have to climb the hills of the Lodi area. Here the river flows along the vineyards in San Colombano. From the opposite banks you can visit the countryside around Pavia, where the famous wines Bonarda and Gutturnio are produced. Try them with the excellent salami from Varzi.