Valle Maira cuisine reflects the close relationship with nature and mountain tradition. The flavours are simple and linked to what the land produces; only occasionally are they contaminated by the Occitan flavours, brought back by the women who migrated seasonally to harvest olives, collect mimosa or work as nannies in the nearby France.
The anchovy trade started the tradition of Bagna Cauda, the typical Piedmontese sauce with added garlic or sometimes milk or cream; a strong flavour that enriched the simple seasonal cooked or raw vegetables. Anchovies and salted fish are still celebrated today in Macra and Dronero in the San Marcelin festival and the Anchovy Fair.
The potato has always been the mainstay of mountain food, which accompanied chestnuts to nourish the farmers. Today the smaller and tastier Prazzo potato is very popular and is used to prepare the Raviolos of the Occitan cuisine. A typical recipe of the Occitan cuisine is gnocchi with Castelmagno cheese.
Economic and simple soups are not to be forgotten, the most common being: Comaut, a type of cream of pumpkin, carrot and onion, blended with the flavour of milk, butter and sage; the "ancient soup", made with chestnuts, nettles, mushrooms, garlic and barley and the Putìos with broth and barley, rye and buckwheat flour or with broth and stale bread. All recipes that seem to be the result of current nutritional studies.
Legumes were also important and the first rainy days of autumn were dedicated to pounding lentils, which folk wisdom has handed down as "meat for girls".
Bread was made annually, by drawing lots from November to Christmas. One of the typical dishes of the Valley was Mata, a savoury pie that was cooked on terracotta trays, taking advantage of the residual heat by measuring potatoes, leeks, pumpkin and sometimes rice, toma cheese or sausage out carefully.
Locally produced butter, ricotta and fresh tomini are very important and are the perfect match for local honey.
Despite the mountain having few sweet flavours, limiting creativity to Binhos and apple Panet, Subric, Stuffed Peaches and cream, the "Torta dei Tetti" must be remembered and the fine pastries of Dronero, middle class town and the birthplace of Giolitti.