There are so many ways to cook Polenta in Lombardia so it's important I showcase at least one of- what I think- is super unique. It totally looks like a chicken nugget, but you will never find that in the cuisine here unless you go to McDonald's (yes Italy has those too). The Fiapon Mantovano is a sweet polenta- sugar and lemon- that has been fried to be eaten at the end of the meal. It can take on any shape you mold it to. We also had grilled polenta topped with lard and diced polenta with a buttery sauce. The important realization about Polenta is that it's served firm in Lombardia and soft in other regions like Veneto. Four main grains are Bramata, Fiorette, Fumetto, and Integrale. I remember when I was younger (and it was probably the only time she did it) my mom purchased store bought polenta and I remember thinking of the cheap taste. I thought I would never like polenta until I had it hot and creamy. Polenta is the perfect accompaniment with a brassato (braise) like Osso Bucco or goat, and often served in place of bread.
So one of my absolute favorite pasta dishes come from this region. Pizzocheri is the name of the dish and the shape of the pasta. It looks like fettuccini that's been cut in half and doubled in thickness. Buckwheat is not for everyone's taste but with savoy cabbage, potato, and loads of bito cheese, grana padano, and browned butter with sage you won't be able to put your fork down. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Besides Extra Virgin Garda DOP olive oil, the region bathes in butter. Butter and sage coat polenta and pasta everywhere here!
Something I am having a hard time coming to terms with Salame d'Oca a sausage made with ground goose and wrapped in the skin on the goose too. It looks quite peculiar if you could imagine. It's similar to the concept of ground rabbit wrapped in pork trotter which I was able to taste in class today. Although it was so juicy and flavor-filled it had a slightly slimy texture due to the outer case. Some things are meant to be tried only once. I love this region though, and excited to live there at the end of my travels here.