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To the discovery of typical products: the rosemary of Montevecchia

The farmers’ love of rosemary in the Lecco Brianza area dates back a century. In the heart of the Curone Valley, the cultivation of this aromatic herb, a staple of Italian cuisine, became a community matter in the early 1900s.

Montevecchia, a small municipality in the Brianza region of Lecco, part of a 2,700-hectare Regional Park, has made rosemary a local excellence, a niche production that is absolutely worth discovering.

Nestling on gentle slopes just thirty-five kilometres from the city of Milan, in the heart of Brianza, the Park is an area renowned for viticulture, cheese production and the cultivation of aromatic herbs. Perched on the top of one of the hills stands, imposingly, the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine del Carmelo: those who climb the long flight of steps leading to the summit will immediately be enveloped by the perfume of fresh rosemary, lushly growing on the terraced slopes of this south-facing hillside protected from the cold winds of the Alps.

The scenery is also breath-taking: on a clear day, from the top of Montevecchia one can enjoy a beautiful view of the city of Milan.

The properties of rosemary

This is a local excellence that benefits from the designation P.A.T. Which stands for:  Traditional Italian Food Product. Farms skilfully make use of the benefits of rosemary and other medicinal herbs in the area to create body creams and soaps, as well as exquisite regional dishes.

In the kitchen, rosemary is precious because it is a source of mineral salts (calcium, iron and potassium) and natural antioxidants, making it important in the fight against free radicals and useful for food preservation. Some of the best-known recipes in Italian cuisine that feature rosemary include focaccia, the ever-present rosemary potatoes and also risottos in northern Italy and, in central Italy, rabbit and white meats in general

Rosemary focaccia
Pumpkin and rosemary risotto
Steak tagliata with rosemary

As well as being an excellent seasoning in cooking, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) boasts purifying, invigorating and revitalising properties. Rosemary essential oil promotes digestion when taken in drops, preferably with a teaspoon of honey, while it is equally popular in natural cosmesis, for the creation of ointments and creams. If sprayed, it can enhance concentration: it is no coincidence that the ancient Greeks used to circle their foreheads with rosemary twigs when engaged in intellectual tasks.

How to preserve rosemary at home

Flowering does not follow a seasonal pattern but takes place several times a year. For this reason, we should not be satisfied with only using dried rosemary in the kitchen, but we can also enjoy fresh rosemary, easily: all we need is a small plant grown in a pot and placed on a balcony – sheltered from the wind and placed in a sunny spot – and we can use its fragrant sprigs in many typical Italian recipes. To preserve cut rosemary, simply place it in a glass with water and it will be available for several days.

Rosmarino

Travel encounters

During our trip to Brianza in the Lecco area During our trip to Brianza in the Lecco area, we selected the specialities of various top-quality farms offering natural herb-based products, as well as local wines, cheeses, cured meats, and charming hospitality choices.

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