When autumn starts creeping in, Ascona-Locarno transforms into a rainbow of colours. It’s not only the trees that change colours, the autumn breeze also breathes life into local traditions and village festivals. Traditions are extremely important and are still celebrated and adhered to today. For foodies and nature lovers, autumn is much like what the Fasnacht carnival season is to party animals who love to dress up – the best time of year.
“Autumn is just an extension of the summer,” a fact of which German philosopher Manfred Hinrich was well aware. Autumn on Lake Maggiore is a fragrant time of year, brimming with sunshine and a feeling of all-encompassing warmness, pleasantly prolonging the summer. The lovely warm days provide the best conditions for exploring the region on foot or on two wheels and for enjoying clear panoramic views.
Alternatively, you can spend this time strolling through the local villages or along the shores of the lake before enjoying a delicious cappuccino on a sun terrace.
The influence of different of cultures means that the region plays host to a wide variety of traditions. There is, however, one thing that most of these traditions have in common – they focus primarily on food and drink, such as wine. In autumn, the grapes are ripe and the sweet berries are picked, with both being used to make sophisticated wine. The chestnuts are also ripe enough to eat in autumn and are used in delicious dishes in restaurants.
Goats were and still are an important part of Ticinese traditions. The Capra Nera di Verzasca (black goat from Verzasca) is not just a symbol of the Valle Verzasca, but is also an important source of nutrition. For this reason, the gastronomic goat meat festival takes place every year.
The countryside is a huge garden in which all of the ingredients needed to create a delicious dish can be found and picked. During the Autunno Gastronomico, the “Grotti” (caves inside mountain and valley walls) conjure up the ingredients used to create hearty specialities from local products, such as mushrooms, game, chestnut gnocchi and polenta. And these are, of course, served with a healthy drop of Merlot wine.
Something that you should definitely try in autumn is Cicitt – a genuine traditional product that is only produced in Vallemaggia and Valle Verzasca. This is a long, fatty goat sausage that is made for roasting.
Farina Bóna from the Valle Onsernone can be used to make a number of fantastic dishes. The high-quality flour is made from corn, adds a sophisticated touch to dishes and provides notes of autumn.
Hot sweet chestnuts! Who doesn’t love the hot balls in their fire-blackened shells? There’s more than enough to go round at the autumn and chestnut festival!
Come visit the Ascona-Locarno region in autumn and share your best autumn photos with the hashtag #myasconalocarno – whether its photos of panoramic views from the tops of valleys or shots of delicious dishes, we look forward to seeing your photos . Buon appetito!