3 Alpine Recipes and Wine Pairings From Northern Italy

photo of meats, cheese, herbs, and fresh lemon from northern italy's cuisine
Photo by Robert Bredvad / Food Styling: Barrett Washburne / Prop Styling: Andie McMahon

Encompassing some of Europe’s highest vineyards, the alpine wine regions of northern Italy offer picturesque views with snowy peaks and charming villages. The wines produced in Trentino-Alto Adige, the tiny Valle d’Aosta and north of Milan in Lombardy combine bright freshness with power and elegance and come alive when paired with the hearty cuisine of the region. These refined dishes show influences from neighboring countries like Austria and Switzerland and are unlike those from any other region in Italy. Almost as if taking inspiration from the mountain scenery where the ingredients are grown, this cuisine can reach breathtaking heights. Designed to warm your soul and invigorate your palate, these alpine recipes and wine pairings can transport you to the captivating peaks and valleys from which they hail.

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2022 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!



costoleeta alla valdostana
Photo by Robert Bredvad / Food Styling: Barrett Washburne / Prop Styling: Andie McMahon
Costoletta alla Valdostana

This simple dish brings together the beloved ingredients of veal and fontina from the small region of Valle d’Aosta in northern Italy.

Valle D’Aosta

Bordering France and Switzerland, and containing peaks like Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, this tiny, but stunning, region grows a wide variety of grapes on steep slopes that rise to over 4,000 feet in altitude. The native grapes Prié Blanc, Petit Rouge, Fumin and Vien de Nus are common, as well as the Swiss variety Petite Arvine plus Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir plantings can be found. It became an autonomous region of Italy in 1947 and retains many cultural ties with France and Switzerland.

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Lemon and Gin-Scented Spaghettoni with Marinated Trout and Trout Roe
Photo by Robert Bredvad / Food Styling: Barrett Washburne / Prop Styling: Andie McMahon
Lemon and Gin-Scented Spaghettoni with Marinated Trout and Trout Roe

A delectable pairing of pasta and cured fish from northern Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige. Learn how to make it here.

Trentino-Alto Adige

This region comprises Trentino in the south and Alto Adige (aka S√ľdtirol) in the north on the Austrian border and is bisected vertically by the Adige River. Here you‚Äôll find the red wines Schiava, Teroldego, and Lagrein, as well as ‚ÄúTrentino Rosso‚ÄĚ made mostly of Merlot blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. Trento DOC (known as ‚ÄúTrentodoc‚ÄĚ) wines are traditional method sparkling whites and ros√©s and are considered Italy‚Äôs best sparklers along with Lombardy‚Äôs Franciacorta.

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Osso Buco with Risotto alla Milanese Pairings - Northern Italian
Photo by Robert Bredvad / Food Styling: Barrett Washburne / Prop Styling: Andie McMahon
Osso Buco with Risotto alla Milanese

Hearty and luxurious, this simple braise, paired with flavors of saffron and gremolata, is a classic of Lombardy cuisine.

Lombardy

A sixth of Italy‚Äôs population lives in Lombardia‚ÄĒmostly in and around the Milan metropolitan area‚ÄĒbut it only produces about 3% of the country‚Äôs wine. Sparkling wine is a star here (not just Franciacorta but the Oltrep√≤ Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG), along with Nebbiolo (locally known as Chiavennasca) growing on precipitously steep south-facing slopes in the Valtellina region, near Switzerland. Lombardia is also home to Italy‚Äôs three largest lakes, Garda, Maggiore and Como.

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Published on July 22, 2022