Superb cheese-making has long been a tradition here, and every valley in the area still produces its own variety. The most prized are Toma and Tomette, while the most original local cheese is Sbirro, made with beer since 1846.
Other typical products are delicious salamis and a wide range of honeys and chutney, which can be paired with cheeses.
For what regards culinary tradition, Biella offers such sublime desserts and pastries as paste di meliga, torcetti, and canestrej.
Single course – Polenta concia (pulenta cunscia): a soft and creamy maize flour corn mush cooked in a special copper pot called a “paiolo”, with the addition of a large quantity of local cheese, which is melted and mixed with tasty dairy butter.
First course – Riso in cagnone/cagnone rice (ris an cagnùn): a dish of boiled rice such as Arborio mixed with Toma or Fontina cheese, lightly fried butter, half a glass of Erbaluce white wine, sage, and pepper.
Main course – Capunét: a meat roulade wrapped in beet or cabbage leaves.
Dessert – Bunét: a soft, rich spoon dessert made with Amaretti cookies and chocolate.
WINES, BEERS, LIQUEURS & WATER
Wine – Wine production is a very important part of the local economy; the area is renowned for such DOC varieties as Erbaluce di Caluso, Bramaterra, Lessona, Canavese, and Coste del Sesia. Both the wine and cheese industries depend on a third economic resource: the wonderful local mineral water.
Beer – One of the most typical beverages of the Biellese area is beer.
Menabrea brewery was founded in 1846 and produces three different kinds of beer.
Its Lager Beer is produced by bottom fermentation and is brewed with water, malt, maize, and hops.
Its Amber Beer is a speciality of Maerzen style and its ingredients are malt, maize, hops, and water. Menabrea Strong Beer with its intense and pleasing aromas is also produced by bottom fermentation.
Liqueur – Ratafià di Andorno is one of the oldest Piedmontese liqueurs, which has been produced since the 1600s.
Ratafià can be prepared with different ingredients. The most famous Ratafià is made with black cherries, sugar, and spices, and is appreciated for its pleasing taste.
A special kind of Ratafià, which distinguishes itself for its aromatic flavor, is Juniper. During its preparation, selected juniper berries are infused in alcohol with spices.
Walnut Ratafià is prepared with a walnut husk infusion in alcohol.
The Apricot and Lemon liqueurs are made respectively with the juice of apricots and lemons.
Water – Produced in a pollution-free environment with a special microclimate, Biella’s mineral water has the lowest sodium content in all of Europe.
Lauretana is certainly one of the most well-known spring water producers since 1965. The water is directly bottled at the source in order to maintain all its organoleptic qualities.
Also Alpe Guizza spring water is bottled in the province of Biella, proving once again the high quality of the mineral springs in the territory.