The journey to discover a place, a culture, a corner of the world undoubtedly also goes through food. Every dish we taste tells us a story, an identity, a relationship with nature.
If you too believe that gastronomic experiences are a key element of travel and always seek information in advance about local products and traditional recipes, we have a destination to recommend that you absolutely cannot miss.
A little-known and incredibly authentic corner of Piedmont offers an interesting cuisine and a wide variety of renowned local products: the Valle Maira.
Impressive mountains, endless forests, and vast meadows give life to a wild and enchanting land that continues to maintain timeless charm and unspoiled nature. The villages of Valle Maira live every day the most authentic mountain experience, perhaps different from what we know, more rugged but at the same time welcoming and poignant.
The ancient Occitan gastronomic tradition
In Valle Maira, ancient Occitan traditions meet Piedmontese traditions. Even in the kitchen. The result of this union is something to taste and discover! Each dish reflects the people’s connection with nature and the mountains: the flavors are simple and genuine, strongly linked to what the land produces season after season.
The trade of anchovies, whose origins are still unknown, has enriched and influenced the local cuisine. There’s Bagna Cauda, which accompanies seasonal vegetables, but there are also numerous other recipes that make this fish an important protagonist, celebrated during the feast of San Marcelin and the Anchovy Fair in Macra and Dronero. Another absolute star of the mountain cuisine of Valle Maira is the potato. It is used, for example, to prepare ravioles, dumplings made of potatoes, flour, and eggs, seasoned with butter and cream, or the rich one-pot dish called Mato. Another typical Occitan recipe no traveler should miss is gnocchi al Castelmagno.
Among the local produce, we also mention honey, cheeses, and the particular gogiu pear.
A holiday in Valle Maira
Valle Maira captivates us right from the start with its flavors, but not only that. It is a perfect destination for those who want to experience the mountain in an authentic way and for all nature and outdoor activities enthusiasts. Located among the Cozie Alps, the valley offers breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails, and a variety of sports activities for all levels.
Valle Maira offers hikers an extensive network of trails that wind through forests, alpine meadows, and small mountain villages. You can choose from hikes of varying difficulty, from a tranquil walk along flat trails to the more challenging ascent of alpine peaks. Cycling enthusiasts will find numerous routes in Valle Maira suitable for both mountain biking and road cycling. There are also climbing walls, opportunities for water sports, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing itineraries.
Where to stay sustainably and green in the villages of Valle Maira
Valle Maira consists of 13 municipalities and numerous small villages where life flows slowly and in harmony with the surrounding environment. To fully experience this atmosphere and the mountain way of life, there is no better place than Borgata Sagna Rotonda.
It is a small mountain village restored to its ancient splendor by Giovanni and Teresina, who renovated what remained while considering the historical value of the buildings and using modern construction and plant techniques, as well as alternative and environmentally friendly energy sources. Now Sagna Rotonda offers 10 cozy and comfortable housing units, perfect for a zero-impact stay in Valle Maira.
Inside an old stone-vaulted stable, a small wellness area has been created, exclusively reserved for an hour for those who make a reservation. After a day exploring the flavors and landscapes of this lesser-known corner of Piedmont, you can enjoy the warmth of a Finnish sauna experience, interspersed with immersion in a tub filled with mountain spring water.
To continue exploring the unique flavors of Valle Maira, in Sagna Rotonda you will also find a small shop selling the best local products: honey, jams, flours, biscuits, as well as excellent wines, liqueurs, and craft beers. In the organic garden of Sagna Rotonda, you can freely pick seasonal vegetables, and in a nearby farm you can buy excellent cheeses, yogurt, and fresh milk, enjoying genuine products and at the same time supporting the local economy.
Are you ready to experience a holiday among the unique flavors and landscapes of the Maira Valley?