Many travellers look to sample the food and drink of an area that they are visiting and the Aosta Valley provides a wealth of great local produce in the form of food, cheese, beer, wine and gin! We offer a taste of what you can enjoy when on holiday in Champoluc below.
We think that this fine local craft gin, Acque Verde, is delicious!
Created using water from the Acqueverdi spring which cascades down the slopes to the village of Saint-Marcel and combined with a unique blend of local alpine herbs.
If you get the opportunity to taste an Aosta wine, seize the opportunity! The Aosta Valley produces the least wine of any region in Italy and in fact, Aosta is so small, and its viticulture so difficult, that its production is limited to just more than a million bottles a year — 90 percent of which never leave the valley.
Prié grapes are Aosta’s only native whites. The region also has 12 native reds, the best known of which is Picotendro (sometimes called Nebbiolo). Other natives include Petit Rouge, Vuillermin and Roussin de Morgex. International varieties grown in the Aosta Valley include Müller Thurgau, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah.
Although the Aosta Valley whites get a lot of attention, the first Aosta wine to receive DOC status was a red. That was the 1971 Donnas. Local Petit Rouge grapes produced the second DOC wine, the 1972 Enfer d’Arvier. Donnas and Enfer d’Arvier are now considered subzones of the regional DOC. Other reds to try include Fumin, Barnet, Grenache and La Sabla. Some predict the Fumin will be Italy’s next “number-one red”
At present, the best-known winery of the valley is Les Cretes, whose Chardonnay Cuvée Bois has received top honors (‘tre bicchieri’, or ‘three glasses’) from the international wine group Gambero Rosso. In 2005, two other Aosta whites received this honor: the Anselmet Chardonnay and Lo Triolet’s Pinot Gris.
The white wines of the Aosta valley are praised for icy crispness and minerality. Lately, the white Petite Arvine is attracting attention for its “crisp, flinty qualities” and grapefruit-mandarin citrus notes [source: Sonkin].
The grapes are native to both Aosta and Switzerland (where they’re often called Valais). Look for Les Cretes’ Petite Arvine vigne Champorette 2006, or Grosjean Frères 2005.
We’ve yet to taste the new IPA from this micro-brewery in Champoluc but the word is that it is very tasty. Watch this space for updates!
Produced from raw (non-pasteurised) local milk which in turn has been flavoured by the mountain herbs eaten by the cows, Fontina is a whole milk cheese.
The typical cheese-making activity dates back a long time according to a 15th century treaty in which the processing techniques and the characteristics of this cheese are noted with clarity and precision.
The term “fontina” appears for the first time in 1717, in a document of the hospice monks of Gran San Bernardo.
It may derive from the name of some local mountain pastures, or it may be connected with its notable melting capacity (“fontis” or “fondis” in ancient French).
The fresh and fragrant essences of the high altitude pastures that extend across the Aosta Valley are the ideal food for the Pezzata Rossa and Pezzata Nera breeds of cow, from which the milk is collected.
The Fontina, with a sweet and pleasant flavor, has high energy content and is rich in phosphorus, calcium and vitamins A and B. It is eaten raw or used in many local recipes.
For more links to local food and produce, please click here: https://www.lovevda.it/en/food-and-wine/products/farms-open-to-visitors
Not unique to the Ayas Valley, but still consumed by many of our clients, the Bombardino is a warm drink perfect for the end of those cold January ski days! Click here to visit the Inside The Rustic Kitchen blog with more information about this popular tipple and don’t forget to try one next time you are in Champoluc.