I am getting ready for a new Jaunting Trip in the North of Italy, so I thought it would be nice to share with you a post from my last trip up there. Very close to the Swiss border there is the absolutely charming town of Chiavenna. The easiest way to reach it is to take the train from Milano. The tickets are about 10€, and the ride itself takes about 2h 30 min. What’s so special about it? Well first of all it’s a small Italian town at the feet of the Alps. The air is fresh, the scenery is breathtaking and the food is delicious!
Welcome to Chiavenna
I chose to write about Chiavenna because you should be booking a trip this October. Why you ask? On 2nd October there is a food festival. And I am talking here about Italian food and wine, so you know it’s going to be good! It’s not your typical pasta, pizza or risotto dishes, that first come to mind when thinking about Italian food. This is the bresaola festival or by its local name – Dì de la Brisaola.
This is the point where vegetarians should probably look away…
So what is this bresaola? It sure looks like prosciutto. But whereas prosciutto is made from pork, bresaola is made from beef… delicious air-dried salted beef. Since this is typical for Lombardia, the festival in Chiavenna is the place to be when it comes to bresaola. With the map in hand and 15 different producers, with their own “secret” recipe, I got the chance to tour the city by foot. Despite the rainy morning, there was a great vibe all around and the mood was set by local bands playing everything from trumpets to drums.
But don’t fill up on bresaola, because a Chiavenna “must” is to have lunch in a grotto (or crotto). The crotti are natural hollows in the side of the mountain. With a constant temperature throughout the whole year, these are the ideal places for maturing cheeses, salami and cold meats and for aging wine. So after a nice stroll through the city and a climb in the Paradiso Botanical-Archeological Park for some amazing views, I headed towards Crotto al Prato for lunch. The typical lunch consists of platters of cheeses & cured meats, white pizzoccheri, meats cooked on hot stones and polenta.
Chiavenna is about 2h 30min away from Milano by train, I definitely would recommend to stay one night here. Other than the town itself and the bresaola festival, you should visit Palazzo Vertemate Franchi and the Acqua Fraggia waterfall. But this I leave for another post.