Friday, September 25, 2009

Valle d'Aosta and the cow

The cow is almost a symbol of the mountain region Valle d'Aosta. Over there, in fact, cow breeding is a good business, and bovine products are particularily valuable. Cow milk, cheeses, bovine meat are very good.
In that region we tasted for the first time a particular product obtained by bovine udder: the "Teteun" [pronounced teh-TEHN, where the 'eh' sounds like the vowels in the english word "bird" or the french "beuf" or the german "Köln"].
During the past August holidays we attended a festival of that product in the little town of Gignod, "la Fëta di Teteun" and we ate it in three different recipes: plain boiled, stewed with tomato sauce and sliced thin as a cooked ham. I expected to taste something tough. Instead the meat is very tender, a little spongey, very similar to cooked ham. As it often happens with Italian traditional cooking, this kind of food was originated by the need not to waste any edible part of the animal.

Bataille des Reines
Speaking of cows, we also attended to another traditional event. The "Batailles de Reines" [the battles of the queens]. As the host of our bed and breakfast explained to us, the cows of a herd, lacking a dominant bull, naturally fight each other to establish a hierarchy, at the top of which there is the Queen. Those fight usually are symbolic and don't involve any blood. They terminate when one of the two contenders submits to the other, escaping from the push of her head.
The "Batailles de Reines" event is the fights between queens of different herds and they are organized like a knockout competition. We went to one of the preliminary where about 100 cows of different producers were divided in pairs. Three fights taking place contemporarily in a big rounded space. A lot of spectators were intensely involved. The strange thing was the language spoken by the speaker: the local dialect, which sounds like a mixture of italian and french. Obviously the show is played for the locals.
Unfortunately we couldn't attend to the final match that was going to be fought October 11th in Aosta. We were told that this annual appointment is usually a big event that is faithfully attended to by Aosta citizens.

More informations about these events on Rubbah Slippahs in Italy, here and here.


Peter @ italyMONDO! said...

"we ate it in three different recipes: plain boiled, stewed with tomato sauce and sliced thin as a cooked ham."

...which one was your favorite?

dario said...

The boiled one was served with salsa verde, and the taste of the sauce was covering the meat. The stewed one was good but still it tasted just like an any kind of meat.

The sliced one was my favorite, because it was particular and the different taste could really be appreciated like something never tasted before. I can imagine it in a sandwitch with some lattuce and tomato.