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polenta with cheese and butter

Typical of the Bellagio area of Lake Como, toc is a rich polenta dish served on special occasions, mixed with plenty of butter and cheese (200gr of each per person). The polenta is cooked in a big cauldron in the centre of the ceremony, presided over by an expert chef who must keep the heat at just the right temperature to prevent the mush from sticking to the pot; the butter and cheese are cut into small bits and slowly blended.

After the toc is finished, it's time to pour ragell (spiced red wine) into the unwashed cauldron, so that along with cinnamon and lemon zest etc, the wine is also flavoured with bits of polenta, cheese and butter. Heated on the flames and set alight, the ragell is then poured steaming hot into a wooden bowl and shared among all the guests.

Toc'in braide served as an antipasto in Friuli is similar, made with polenta, milk, butter and mountain cheeses.

Toc de purcit (or Toc’ de purcit or tocj de purcit), also from Friuli, is another dish altogether, made of pieces of pork and pork liver, fried with pancetta with white wine, cinnamon, and cloves.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia


Rice, Polenta & Grains

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by gustoblog