Wild vegetables and herbs


The potato symbol of the upper Valle Camonica, with a compact and tasty texture.
Wild vegetables and herbs


The potato symbol of the upper Valle Camonica, with a compact and tasty texture.

Monno, a small town at 1,066 metres above sea level in the upper Valle Camonica, is known for its small but peculiar production of potatoes.
The inclination of the land, which allows water to flow and not stagnate, and the position, which is protected from the air currents coming from the Tonale Pass, make the Monno potatoes different from those produced in other towns in the Valley.
Curiously, people from Monno call these potatoes "patape", in their local dialect.

With over 200 years of history, Monno potatoes are one of the typical products of the upper Valle Camonica.
In 1816 priests put pressure on the Austrian government in order to spread potatoes, which were useful to face the severe famine that was raging.
Once the starvation was over, however, people from Monno saw a good opportunity, having verified the good yield of their cultivation (the potatoes grown in the mountains are less prone to diseases). Therefore, they asked for the collaboration of the Brescia Agricultural Inspectorate to improve the quality of the cultivation of seed potatoes that would later be sent to the plains. This is how the farmers of Monno specialised in the processing and preservation of potatoes.

The first Monno potatoes, coming from Tyrol and Valtellina, had red skin and a floury flesh. Later, potatoes with light skin and white pulp were introduced into the village.
Thanks to their compact and tasty dough, Monno potatoes have acquired a reputation for their use in cooking, becoming the basic ingredient of many recipes and traditional dishes of the Monno area, such as piöde (gnocchi made with a mixture of raw potatoes and wheat flour) and fladarde (small and sweet focaccia).

Traditionally, potatoes are planted between 25th April and 1st May, and harvested at the end of October.

Traditionally, the cultivation of potatoes is strongly linked to the lunar cycles.
A Monno proverb says: “Squarciasò quan che cala. Tirafò quanc che la crès” (potatoes are buried when the moon goes down and harvested when it rises).
At one time, the tenth part of the potato harvest had to be delivered to special council officials and was then redistributed on the occasion of the most important village festivals. Traditionally, in October Monno hosts the "Potato Festival", where typical dishes are cooked with potatoes.

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Cuisine and territory have always been linked, not so much because of the belief that what is born behind the house is better than the rest, but simply because local products were immediately available to those who had to cook.
Traditional cuisine, which is seasonal, derives from what has happened over time in a place and from the products of that place.