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WEEKENDER


Saturday morning market in Bellinzona


ON THE MENU


Ticino is a slow food hub, from secret- recipe salami and artisan cheeses to nocino, a bittersweet liqueur made from green walnuts, and white Merlot.


A TASTE OF TICINO REGIONAL TREATS


TO MARKET Bellinzona’s must-visit Saturday morning market, which extends from Piazza Nosetto to the lanes of the Old Town, is an opportunity for small producers to showcase their wares. Look out for cheeses such as zincarlin (a curd cheese); soſt, creamy büsción; and formaggio d’alpe, made with milk from high- altitude cows. Other specialities include mortadella di fegato, or pork liver salami, plus pepper mixed with herbs from the Maggia Valley and chestnuts prepared in all manner of ways. And don’t miss out on torta di pane — a cake made with bread soaked in milk and eggs, pine nuts and dried fruit.


TICINESE GIN Four friends from the Muggio Valley created organic gin Bisbino, whose botanicals include seven herbs and a secret ingredient — all plucked from the distillery’s garden in the village of Sagno, on the slopes of the gin’s namesake


42 nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel


mountain. Dry and mellow with light citrusy notes, it’s perfect in a Ticinese G&T, made with locally made sparkling water. A tour of the gardens and distillery, including a tasting, costs from CHF25 (£20) per person. wp.bisbino.ch


ONE-OF-A-KIND CHEESE Surviving against the odds, age- old zincarlin cheese is only made by one person, Marialuce Valtulini in the Muggio Valley. Using a recipe handed down by her mother, almost every day for two months she kneads each cheese into its upside-down cup shape, bathing it in white wine to keep the rind soſt. Marialuce has also given this flavoursome cheese a modern twist, creating ‘gincarlin’ using Bisbino gin.


DOWN ON THE FARM Terreni alla Maggia, a farm founded 90 years ago in the fertile River Maggia delta near Ascona, is home to the country’s only rice


paddy, producing Riso Nostrano Ticinese, used in risotto and beer. It also produces award-winning wines, including Bondola, using a native red grape dating back to the 18th century, and La Lepre, a fruity white Merlot that’s perfectly paired with aperitivi. Shop for the region’s culinary specialities and enjoy a tour and wine tasting from CHF23 (£18) per person. terreniallamaggia.ch


FABULOUS FLOUR In the village of Vergeletto, tucked into the velvety green folds of the Onsernone Valley, Ilario Garbani has not only restored the ancient watermill but also revived farina bòna (corn flour). The former teacher researched the historic recipe before installing a coffee roaster, which he says is the secret to the flour’s distinctive flavour. It finds its way into everything from pasta and amaretti biscuits to craſt beer and ice cream. farinabona.ch


MORE INFO Grand Café Al Porto. grand-cafe-lugano.ch LAC. luganolac.ch Asconautica. asconautica.ch Grotto Baldoria. grottobaldoria.ch Monte Verità. monteverita.org/en Sea Lounge. seven.ch/en/ lounges-and-bars/ sea-lounge-ascona Hotel Eden Roc. edenroc.ch Terreni alla Maggia. terreniallamaggia.ch/en Mountaingliders. mountaingliders.com 007 Bungee Jump. trekking.ch Locarno Film Festival. locarnofestival.ch Lugano Estival Jazz. estivaljazz.ch ticino.ch/en myswitzerland.com


HOW TO DO IT British Airways, Swiss and EasyJet fly to Zurich Airport direct from the UK. From there, you can take a train to Bellinzona (1h50m) and Lugano (2h20m). Another option is to fly to Milan and get a direct train to Lugano (1h20m). ba.com. easyjet.com swiss.com Alternatively, the train from London to Lugano takes around 11 hours with a variety of routes and connections.


IMAGE: ALAMY


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