Credits photo: Alessandro Vecchi – Opera propria, CC BY-SA 3.0
The origins of the city of Biella, in Piedmont, dates back to the Middle Ages, when the name of the city was named in a document of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1800 the city became an important shopping and manufacturing center in the textile industry.
In fact, the history and the development of the city have always been linked to the textile world, especially the wool industry. Wool processing has ancient origins and has progressively been developed by determining the economic fabric of the city, with large and important companies in the industry.
In addition to being famous for its fabrics, the town of Biella is characterized by a culinary tradition handed down from generation to generation, of which many local products are made in an artisanal way, by promoting the knowledge of the Biella region through its flavors and by knowing the excellence of the Piedmont region. Biella’s cuisine is a mix of Piedmontese and Valle d’Aosta food and wine combinations, combining products from the plain and from the pasture, creating simple but tasty dishes.
Among the most popular Biella products, you can find cheeses, salami, sweet and biscuits, honey and mustards. Among the most famous:
- Toma, a hard cheese with cow’s milk, of ancient Alpine tradition and is produced by the D.O.C. of the Piedmont Region;
- “Beddu” cheese produced with skim milk that is consumed fresh or seasoned on a bed of straw;
- many different varieties of salami: pig, donkey, and goat;
- potato salami, to which boiled potatoes are added in the dough;
- apple and grape mustards to accompany boiled meat or polenta;
- the “Canestrelli” fragrant waffle wafer walnuts with chocolate and hazelnuts.
Typical dishes from Biella are simple recipes with typical ingredients of poor, timeless, tasty cuisine. In fact, soups and polenta are the real protagonists. One of the most famous dishes is the “polenta concia” soft corn cream cooked for a long time in the cauldron, melted with abundant local cheese and incorporated tasty butter. Another very important ingredient of Biella’s tradition, after seasoning cheese and vegetables, is rice: boiled and mixed with Toma cheese and butter, or accompanied with maize or wild boar or wild spinach.
The various types of salami are also used for the preparation of traditional dishes, such as “rugnusa frittata”, which is a salami omelet, or “verzata”, a rich soup of cabbage and salami.