Among the many apples produced in Italy, the ones of Valtellina outstand for their flavour and scent. Valtellina is an Alpine land in Northern Lombardy, on the border with Switzerland. The peculiar climate of this valley allows the production of apples characterized by a particularly intense aroma and incredible juiciness. Their compactness is so pronounced that they are among the apples characterized by longer preservability. These apples show the Protected Geographical Indication (IGP) Mela di Valtellina and are identified by a stamp with the brand ‘Melavì’ applied on each fruit. There are three types: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Gala.
A distinctive feature: their colour
Red Delicious is the most cultivated apple in the world, but the one of Valtellina outstands for its crispness, low acidity, strong and persistent scent, and intense red colour. Valtellina Golden Delicious apples have a big shape and their skin is characterized by intense yellow colour, with small shades of red. Their flesh is crisp, fresh, and very rich in sugars and aromatic substances. On the other hand, the small Gala is appreciated all over the world for its balanced flavour. It is characterized by bright red streaks, long and narrow shape, and pale, thin, and juicy flesh. This apple, sweet and slightly aromatic, is more and more appreciated.
A common characteristic of all the apples of Valtellina is their intense and bright colour, brought about by the especially favourable geographical exposure of Valtellina. Just thanks to climate, sloping cultivated soil, a land well exposed to the sun, and culture method by means of integrated, low environmental impact production, the Valtellina apples are so good, nutritious, and healthy.
A tasty earthly paradise
The apples of Valtellina are produced in the area between Ardenno and Grosio only, in the province of Sondrio. These hills, ranging from 200 to 770 meters above sea level, look north towards the mountains of Bernina. This is a natural theatre characterized by a moving beauty, which is enriched with apple orchards, making it a popular destination for people fond of naturalistic photography. The countries of this region have a centuries-old agricultural tradition, which is perfectly linked to the tourist one thanks to its proximity to Switzerland, too, which is connected to it by means of the famous Bernina Express panoramic train. The same farms which produce apples are often visited for rural tourism, too.
This land, which from one side to the other one does not exceed 50 km, produces almost 30 million kg of apples. The volumes of sales realized by Melavi during the last three years range between 20 and 23 million euros. In addition to the 3 IGP varieties, 3 more million kg of such other much appreciated varieties as Renetta, Pinova, and Modi are produced. All of them have the same characteristics: a lot of colour, smell, and taste. Three large cooperatives, which gather more than 1.000 producers, came together creating a unique Consortium which markets apples of Valtellina with the brand ‘Melavi’.
Apples can be tasted for breakfast, as a snack, or at the end of a meal, but they may also be used for preparing a dessert which is well known all over the world, the strudel. Golden Delicious apples of Valtellina are considered among the best ones for this recipe, because they are very sugary and prevent overcooking, maintaining at the same time their softness thanks to the high content in pectin which characterizes them. Raisins, apples, sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, pine-seeds, and a yolk, allow preparing a dough that will be rolled into a thin pastry.