In addition to the Fontina DOP, produced throughout the territory of Aosta Valley, you can also taste other cheeses made from cow’s and goat’s milk as well as other milk derivatives, such as locally produced butter and yogurt.
As for the cuisine, among the typical dishes of Cogne that must absolutely be tried is the mécoulin, a sort of typical local “panettone” sweetened with raisins and flavored with lemon rind and rum, the Cogne cream, a delicious dessert based on cream, sugar, dark chocolate and a drop of rum, and the tasty seupetta of Cogne, a soup made with rice and Fontina DOP.
The “seupetta” of Cogne is a dish of ancient tradition, one of the many commonplace dishes of high mountain gastronomy, prepared with the few ingredients usually available to peasant families. The presence of rice stands out, which is not a typical production of Cogne but which was one of the goods traded for products of the mountain pastures, as it is a long-life food and therefore particularly suitable for building up food reserves for the long and isolated winter at the foot of the Gran Paradiso mountain.
Typical of the Aymavilles area, located at the entrance to Cogne valley, is Favò, a delicious traditional dish based on broad beans, Fontina DOP cheese, black bread toasted in butter, sausages, bacon and pasta, which goes well with a fragrant red wine like the Torrette DOC.
In summer, the Favò festival takes place in the rural village of Ozein, in the municipality of Aymavilles, set on a panoramic natural terrace from which you can enjoy an enchanting view. Still on the subject of traditional events, linked to the flavors of the territory and rural life, the “Veillà” is an absolute must-do, a re-enactment of ancient crafts, during which it is possible to taste some traditional local dishes, and it takes place in summer in the hamlets of Cogne.
Always in Cogne, at the end of September, the return of the herds from the summer pastures is celebrated with a spectacular parade of animals and with a market of traditional and handcrafted products, and on the occasion of the “Devétéya” various restaurants in Cogne offer themed menus.
The unique climatic conditions of Valle d’Aosta, together with the characteristics of the soils and their inclination have certainly not made life easy for winemakers; however here, the “heroic wine-growing” gives rise to a wide and qualified range of prestigious mountain-grown wines, united under a single “Valle d’Aosta – Vallée d’Aoste” Controlled Designation of Origin mark, listed in 7 area sub-designations and as many as 31 referring to specific vines and types of winemaking.
Coming from Piemonte, as soon as you cross into Valle d’Aosta, your attention is immediately captured by the vineyards that seem to climb up the mountainsides. The characteristic variety of vine in the area is the Picotendro, a local variety of Nebbiolo grown together with other varieties authorized for Donnas wine such as Freisa, Neyret and Fumin, while Pinot Gris and Erbaluce are used for the production of white wines.
Picotendro is also the basis for the production of Arnad-Montjovet, an area where Pinot Noir is also found, which is sometimes combined with Nebbiolo and other native vines such as Vien de Nus, Ner d’Ala and Roussin.
The cultivation of Muscat is what makes the Chambave area famous, while in the Nus area we find the Pinot gris, locally called Malvoisie. Various native vines are added to these (Petit rouge, Vien de Nus, Cornalin and Fumin) and numerous international vines common throughout the central valley (Syrah, Pinot noir, Gamay, Petite Arvine, Müller Thurgau).
Muscat di Chambave is dry and still, unlike Piedmont muscats. The sweetness of the wines obtained by the slow drying of Muscat and Malvoisie grapes is also impressive.
The “Torrette” zone extends over a vast area around the city of Aosta and includes eleven municipalities and is characterized by the Petit rouge vine, which is well suited to the territory thanks to its remarkable tolerance to cold and drought. The Torrette red wine takes its name from the promontory of the same name between the municipalities of Sarre and Saint-Pierre which, due to its southern exposure, constitutes an ideal habitat for wine-growing.
Along the stage:
Fort Bard – Once an impregnable nineteenth-century barrage fortress, today it is a cultural center that houses various museums, including the Museum of the Alps and interesting internationally-renowned exhibitions.
Issogne Castle – An expression of the metamorphosis of the Gothic into the Renaissance, Issogne castle contains surprising art treasures, such as the pomegranate fountain and a portico with frescoed lunettes that reproduce scenes from fifteenth-century life.
Verrès Castle – Elements of great elegance, such as the staircase with flying buttresses and the mullioned windows made of carved stone, are combined with the essential defense system.
Fènis Castle – Towers and crenellated walls, which evoke an adventurous and fairytale dimension, make Fénis castle one of the most famous castles in the Valle d’Aosta region.
Sarre Castle- Savoy hunting and holiday residence, tells of the presence of the royal family in Valle d’Aosta. The rooms with the trophies of hunting parties decorated with hundreds of horns of chamois and ibex are of particular interest.
Sarriod de La Tour Castle – Located in a flat area overhanging Dora Baltea, in the municipality of Saint-Pierre, it is famous for its “room of the heads” which takes its name from the decoration of the wooden ceiling with odd-looking characters.
Aymavilles Castle – After a long period of restoration, which helped to bring out the double medieval and baroque soul of the castle, today it also reveals its nature as a nineteenth-century residence attributed to it by the last owner. The collection of the Accademia di S.Anselmo is part of the museum itinerary, which since 1855 has collected the most interesting items that tell the history of Aosta Valley.
Roman acqueduct-bridge of Pont d’Ael – The daring single-arch aqueduct-bridge of Pondel, 52 meters high, crosses the Grand-Eyvia stream in the Cogne valley.
Gran Paradiso National Park – In 2022 the protected area celebrates its 100th anniversary. The “TutelAttiva Laboratorio Parco” center welcomes visitors with multimedia systems, interactive games and an original “sensory space” as well as two thematic set-ups dedicated to the wolf and the ibex. In order to become familiar with the variety of alpine flora, there is the Paradisia Alpine Botanical Garden in Valnontey, a hamlet of the municipality of Cogne in the heart of the Park.
Lillaz waterfalls – They are made up of some rocky drops through which the abundant water of the Urtier stream flows, and it has dug deep ravines between the sheer cliffs. The first waterfall is within everyone’s reach, while the circular route to see them all is an excursion of less than 2 km, with 100 meters of uphill altitude difference, which offers unforgettable views.
The magnetite mines of Cogne, inside the original galleries, and the museum of the Regional Mining Park in the ancient miners’ village.
The Maison Gérard-Dayné ethnographic museum, an example of traditional Aosta Valley architecture.
The permanent exhibition of bobbin-lace, the traditional lace of Cogne.