Wheat bread was present only in wealthy family houses. Rye was the most cultivated cereal due to its short crop cycle. Rye flour was used to bake dark breads which were stored all over the winter. Today, a small rye production still exists. Some bakers offer rye black bread and some brewers in the National Park of the Maritime Alps produce a homemade rye beer. Worthy of remark is also the “polenta”, the typical dish of Alps: maize flour cooked in salted water accompanying various food and dressing. In particular, in the Occitan valleys you find the local maize “pignoletto” a vitreous maize variety with small grains.
In the Occitan valleys it is possible to find a wide range of mountain pasture cheeses (cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s): the “raschera” in Tanaro Valley and Monregalesi Valleys, the “castelmagno” in Grana Valley, “tomino of Melle” in Varaita Valley, “seirass” in Pellice Valley. Some of these dairy products are certified by the European Union as DOP (Denomination of Protected Origin), the mark guarantees the authenticity and genuine characteristics of certain food and agricultural products. High quality standard are recognized also for beef from some Piedmontese variety cattle and for the Sambucana sheep, in Stura Valley.
Although the valleys are located in an alpine environment, they boast a production of high quality wines in Susa Valley, thanks to the microclimate of its sunny slopes. Old autochthonous vines, i.e. Avanà, have been preserved and they are cultivated in terrace vineyard in one of the highest grape-growing position in Europe. Worth of mention is the Ice-wine obtained from Avanà bunches of frozen grapes.
The Waldensian Valleys have a long standing tradition in fruit production, with the merit of having preserved old Piedmontese fruit varieties in an afford to protect local food biodiversity.