The Ticinese cuisine, which is closely related to that of Lombardy, is, like in all regional gastronomies, the result of a continuous process that lies somewhere between evolution and preservation.
The poor and monotonous food of the last centuries, when the majority of the Ticinese people lived off chestnuts, polenta and potatoes, slowly became richer. New food, flavours and recipes came into the picture with the changing of the times, also thanks to Ticinese immigrants that brought back different culinary ideas from the countries they visited.
At the same time, however, Ticinese cuisine preserved several of its characteristics: the use of genuine products, the simplicity of dishes tied to the rural world and the fondness for tasty flavours. Today it proposes dishes prepared according to the recipes that have been handed down from one generation to another but also the modern re-visitation of traditional recipes. Following tradition, which tells us that already in 1400 there was a cook from Blenio working for the Sforza family, many Ticinese people who are passionate about cooking, are able to conjugate Lombard flavours and the culinary suggestions deriving from the lands of emigration, rustic products from the farmlands and Alps. All this gives rise to refined dishes born out of the constant research for taste, simple and fast dishes and the elaborate dishes of the past. The following are among some of the most renowned and appreciated Ticinese dishes: minestrone, pumpkin soup and “busecca”, risotto, roasted meats (rabbit, kid), stewed, and salmì meats, polenta with Bologna sausage or braised meat, baked, sautéd or marinated fish from the river or lake. The traditional cakes, like “tortelli”, bread cake and macaroons are also delicious. Among drinks, besides red, white and rosé wines, there is fresh and thirst quenching lemonade but also grappa and ratafià (also called nocino), a liqueur made from walnuts of which, they say, only friars know the original recipe.