One of the best-established food traditions in Ticino is “mazza”. This is a ritual which once brought families and village communities together; it was “celebrated” by butchers whose fame spread from village to village. Changes to our lifestyles and regulatory requirements governing the production of cured meats mean that this important event has shifted from farmyards to abattoirs. Fortunately, the flavours and know-how associated with this fine tradition have not been lost and, indeed, over the last few years, many smallholders have successfully started rearing beef cattle breeds to provide high quality, succulent cuts. Amongst the various types of cold cuts to be enjoyed, salami, pork, horse, venison and wild boar salami have become increasingly popular and are now an ever-present feature in any self-respecting grotto. Dried meat (beef and horse) coppa, lardo, flat and rolled pancetta, luganiga, luganighetta (unforgettable when barbecued and in risottos), liver mortadella, raw and cooked ham and stuffed pig’s trotters and are also sublime. Other dishes loved by gourmets are ossobuco, braised meat and shank bone, accompanied by polenta or risotto, grilled pork chops, local lamb and kid and, lastly, tripe soup.
By Alessandro Pesce, journalist and Daniela Linder-Basso (UCT – Unione Contadini Ticinesi)