Aosta Valley (known as Valle d'Aosta or Val d'Aosta in Italian) is the smallest of Italy's 20 regions and one of the five semi-autonomous regions. It is also the only region that is not divided into provinces.
The Aosta Valley is only a bit larger than Luxembourg. With a population of only 130,000 and 39 inhabitants per km², it is the least populous and least densely populated region of Italy.
Most of the local population are native Italian speakers, but 70% of them can also speak French. There is a Walser German speaking minority in the Lys Valley, and a more widely distributed minority speaking Valdôtain, a form of Franco-Provençal (Arpitan).
Aostan cuisine is robust and simple, based essentially on potatoes, polenta, rye bread, and local cheeses, such as Fontina and Tomme de Gressoney.
Typical dishes include carbonade (beef stew marinated for 12 days with garlic and bacon, then seasoned with white wine, cinnamon, clover, nutmeg, etc.), fricandeau (veal cooked with onions, rosemary and white wine), crêpes à la valdôtaine (crêpes with ham and Fontina cheese), and seupetta à la valpelleunèntse (black bread with green cabbage and Fontina cheese). Savoyard dishes like tartiflette are also common.
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