After a long, winding drive up into the Valle Onsernone, we took a hike through the rough terrain as we made our way to meet Ilario Garbani. Though temporarily working out of the basement of a shop across the street, Ilario has restored an old mill where he produces Farina Bona, a finely ground toasted corn flour.
Once part of the everyday diet in the Valle Onsernone, Farina Bona fell out of favor following World War II. After the last millers died in the sixties, production ceased entirely.
Farina Bona, meaning “good flour”, only survived thanks to a few family recipes that had been passed down. Efforts to revive Farina Bona began in the 1990s and it was mentioned in the Ark of Taste of Slow Food in 2001, gradually expanding its appeal beyond Ticino and the Swiss borders.
So what is Farina Bona used in today? We sampled soup, cookies, ice cream and a delicious, creamy Nutella-like spread called Bonella, just a few of items Ilario produces.
If you can't make it into the valleys of Ticino, you'll likely find Farina Bona in COOP supermarkets across Switzerland.