Soon the Sacro Monte could have his vineyards back, as at the time of the Cardinal Alfonso Litta, in year ‘600. At that time the vineyards were going up till the seventh Chapel, they were almost following the devotional path. A project to try to get back the wine production on the mountain and in the surrounding villages as Casbeno, Avigno, Casciago, Biumo and Bobbiate.
Today, the slopes of the Sacro Monte are covered in woods. A deep logging is needed to go forward with this project.
In 2006, the province of Varese was about to get the IGT mark for its wine, with the consequential possibility to start new vineyards, even on the slope of the Sacro Monte.
Carlo Bottinelli, wine producer and seller, and was really interested in the project.
The company already produces the Principato Santa Maria del Monte red, 11,5°, a cuvèe obtained from grapes Barbera d’Asti and Barbera dell’ Oltrepò Pavese. The white version in obtained from Chardonnay grapes with a small portion of Pinot from Veneto.
Both of the bottles are decorated with a sticker illustrated with a old black and white print of the Chapels of the Sacro Monte. Santa Maria del Monte offers other specialities. The Emporio sells spirits and rosolio. At the Colonne hotel in via Fincarà 37 and at the Borducan Hotel you can buy the Elixir of the Borducan, the orange flavoured liqueur, invented two centuries ago by Davide Bregonzio. The liqueur contains orange skin essential oil.
On the way down to Varese, you can stop at bakeries to try the Dolce Varese. The recipe is based on a particular mix of grinded almonds, yellow flour and caster sugar. Created by Zamberletti, it has been interpreted from other bakers creating a variety of them.
Other traditional treats are the dead’s bread, the bone to bite and the “pan de mel”, millet bread. The polenta cake is a corn and grain flour mixed short crust pastry. In the kiosk near the Mosè statue you can buy consortim branded honey products. Other specialities are the Giromette, the classic souvenir of the Sacro Monte, made out of flour, water and a coloured chicken feather, the mustazzit, prepared in origin from the nouns of the Sacro Monte of Varese. The chef Bartolomeo Scappi, in 1570, used to call them morselletti (small bites). The final product was obtained by white flour, honey, water, spices to taste,anise seeds, cinnamon, clove, coriander seeds and nutmeg.
In the village, you can find the restoration of buildings, art and furniture of Fabio Nicora.
It is important to remember that other specialities of Varese are sold at the Sacro Monte. The brutti e buoni, a sort of meringue mixed with almonds, the canned peaches of Monate, the gorgonzola Dop of the Prealpina milk, the products of the brand Campo dei Fiori of Daverio, the cheese of the Valcuvia, the asparagus of Cantello can all be found at the Emporio in Via Moriggi 22.