Lombardy is the anglicised name for Lombardia, a region of central northern Italy, bordering Switzerland along its northern edge. It includes Sondrio, Varese, Como, Bergamo, Brescia, Milan, Mantua, Cremona and Pavia. Agriculture is important. Maize, wheat, rice and wine are produced and mulberries are grown for sericulture. Dairy produce is the main speciality of the region so butter is used in preference to olive oil, cream is frequently used in sauces and many cheeses are available, including Bitto, Gorgonzola, Robiola, Taleggio and Bel Paese. The rice is used in making the great risotti of the area. You will more often find polenta or rice than pasta, and when you find pasta it is likely to be fresh rather than dried. Rice and polenta dishes are likely to be served with meat or vegetable mixtures and then topped with melted butter or cheese. The cold weather encourages the production of warming dishes like minestrone and osso buco which, at their best, are sublime. Lake fish are found in Lakes Como, Maggiore and Garda, some of them rarely seen elsewhere, such as missoltini. In autumn (US: fall), mushrooms, truffles and chestnuts may be found in the mountains, while staples include potatoes, cabbages and pumpkins.



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