The Val D’Aosta is the
smallest Italian region. Aosta the capital has about 35,000 inhabitants; the region has a population of
The Val D’Aosta region is bordered
by Switzerland on the North, by Piedmont on
the Southern and Eastern sides and on the West with France.
The Valley of Aosta is
surrounded on three sides by the Alps
and located at the slopes of Monte Bianco, Monte Rosa, il
Cervino – the Matterhorn-and the Gran
The official language is Italian; the
dialect Roman-Provencal is spoken in Val D’Aosta and parts of Piedmont.
Under the Mount Blanc a road
tunnel 7.25 miles long, linking Val D’Aosta to France, is a
great architectural and engineering accomplishment and an advantageous project to help the commerce
between Italy and France,
shortening the journey in miles and in time.
Tourism is one of the most important
contributors to the economy of Val D’Aosta: Cervina, Gressoney, Courmayeur are well-known and
excellent places where winter sports are offered. In the other seasons the region offers to the tourists
spectacular landscapes, with unforgettable sceneries, mountains with the tallest peaks in Europe, rivers with
abundant fishing, tourist guides to help and arrange mountain climbing and a complex of first class hotels,
thermal baths, golf courses, first class international restaurants and most of all, the friendly hospitality of
the local Valdaostani. Agricultural has been at the base of the local economy. Corn, cabbage, potatoes, fruits
and grapes to make wine are cultivated for local consumption and shipped to markets. Fodder is produced and
utilized for the dairy herds: the milk is used to produce the famous Fontina cheese, exported all over
the world. The production of hydroelectric power has sponsored the woodworking and metal industry.
The cuisine Valdaostana is of country
origin. The main ingredients are the areas’ harvest: cabbage, polenta, mushrooms, peas, potatoes, pork and
pork products, the famous Jambon de Bosses, cured pork produced in the San Bernardo Valley, game
and fish like trout, eels, trout-salmon and carp.
The restaurants offer the same dishes
found in the Piedmont eateries, homemade food is prepared in small establishments and in some restaurants trying
to revive the traditional country cooking. The zuppa Valpellinetze is made with cabbage sautéed in butter,
stewed with beef broth served on top of stale bread and aromatized with nutmeg. The Lasagna Valdostana
is made with egg noodles layered with peas, mushrooms, pancetta, Italian bacon, sautéed with garlic and oil,
covered with a buttery sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Game is stewed with wine or vinegar,
aromatic herbs and mushrooms or other vegetables. Polenta concia made with butter and Fontina
cheese, potato dumplings, la Carbonada beef cooked in wine with bacon, lots of butter, nutmeg, and
cinnamon, served over polenta. Pork, sausages and other fish dishes are part of the Valdaostan menu’. The
delicious black bread, pane nero is baked with rye and wheat, also made in an amiable version with raisins,
walnuts or fennel seeds. The Cogne soup, made in the homonym village, is a risotto, the Cogne
cream is a smooth, rich, chocolate dessert similar to a mousse fortified with rum and served with the
tegole. Tegole are round thin biscuits made with hazelnuts, almonds, flour and butter. Another
well-liked dessert are pears cooked in honey. Coffee is often served with grappa.
The region produces quality wines in small
quantities. Among the whites the Valle d’Aosta Pinot Grigio and Pinot Bianco, the Muller-thurgau the Blanc
and the Spumante de Mergex and La Salle; the reds Val d’Aosta Gamay, Petit Rouge, Pinot Noir, Rosso,
and the better known Arnad-Motjovet, Enfer d’Arvier, Nus Rouge, Chambave Rouge, Donnas, Torrette and the
sweet Muscat produced by most of the wineries. A premium grappa is distilled in Val d’Aosta along with the
Genepi Liquor, made with the golden buds of the genepy plants, the Artemisia, the mutellina and the
glacialis: these herbs grow wild in the high elevation of the western Alps.