- Food & Wine
Tasting your way around Monza and Brianza
Fine quality, short food chain, attentive production methods. Wild garlic pesto, pink asparagus from Mezzago, and white potatoes from Oreno are three of the culinary delights that have received the “Made in Brianza” mark.
Did you know that to recoup their energy after their long winter hibernation, brown bears dig for allium ursinum? Indeed, this particular variety of wild garlic also goes by the name bear’s garlic - an authentic delicacy that grows wild in Spring in moist woodlands. The Lambro Valley in Brianza and Monza Park are full of it, and anyone visiting these areas in Spring will be treated to the particular scent of these plants. This product is so characteristic of the zone that the wild garlic leaves are used to make a pesto, sold since 2017, which immediately received the “Made in Brianza” mark. For the authentic wild garlic pesto from Brianza, only the fresh leaves picked from a woodland on the banks of Alserio Lake are used. There are three varieties of this pesto: traditional with pine kernels, with almonds, and with walnuts. You can use it as a sauce for pasta and rice or paired with boiled and roasted meats, on bruschetta or with smoked fish.
Another culinary excellence with the “Made in Brianza” mark is pink asparagus, a very specific variety of asparagus only grown in Mezzago, near Vimercate. What makes it so unusual? It’s completely white, with a characteristic pink tip. You can buy it from April to May directly from local authorised farmers who grow it according to the specifications of the Council Denomination of Mezzago. During that same period, Mezzago also hosts the pink asparagus festival.
The white potatoes grown in Oreno, a delightful hamlet of Vimercate, have also earned the “Made in Brianza” mark. The particular soil here favours the growth of these potatoes, which only have white flesh and a richly bold flavour. You can use them to make gnocchi, or potato croquettes or mashed potatoes, or you can make your own French fries. In September, when the potatoes are harvested, you can also try them out during the famous White Potato festival. During the festival, the old town of Oreno fills with food stalls, craft stands, guided tours and entertainment for the children. A must-attend event!