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Mountain air and chocolate sciatt

My heart is big and can hold infinite passions.

Part of this heart, in fact, resides in Bormio, Valtellina. This mountain town, with just under four thousand inhabitants, is where I used to spend at least two months of my summer holidays when I was a child and later a girl. Today I cannot stay for long like I used to, but my love for this place is unchanged.

So much so that I even chose it to celebrate my wedding. 

I carry within me all the flavours of the place like the cheeses at the mountain cabin, the scent of the bresaola as it matures, and the pleasantness of the herb flowers, not to mention the traditional dishes. 

The choice between pizzoccheri, taroz or sciatt is always a dilemma. The latter, then, are a healthy drug for me. The moment the Casera cheese, inside these little caskets of buckwheat and white flour, melts in the mouth, it is a sensation of pure delight. The combination with chicory salad (not to be missed!) makes everything perfect.

Making good sciatt* is not so easy: the cheese needs to be the right one and at the right temperature, the cooking oil needs to be fresh, not burnt, the salad needs to be in such a quantity as to pleasantly contrast with the fried food, in other words, it seems easy to say but not to find.

In my opinion, the best sciatt, in Bormio, is at the Vecchia Combo, a historic restaurant with only one flaw: you need to book well in advance to find a table. This is where, while enjoying one of my many dinners, I became acquainted with the owner Caterina (“Rina” to everyone) and was lucky enough to witness the birth of the chocolate sciatt! 

Her daughter Tiziana, arriving back late in the evening from university in Milan, had a craving for sciatt… but there was no more cheese… how could she give it up! The idea came spontaneously and so, through play and curiosity, a piece of dark chocolate was inserted into the bread ball instead of Casera cheese. The sublime result is impossible to describe, I can only invite you to go and try them… but please remember to call and book a table in advance!

* sciatt is the name of a traditional Valtellina dish. They are small, round, crispy fritters made from buckwheat flour and white flour. They have a delicious heart of melted Casera cheese and are served with chicory. 

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