The Como White potato is a semi-early potato which is characterised by its rather large size. This potato has a spherical-ovoid shape, that is slightly flattened, and it has clear and deep eyes (buds). The skin is yellow-clear and smooth while the flesh is a white-straw yellow colour. Harvest takes place between the late summer and early September.
This potato is suitable for all gastronomic uses: gnocchi, mashed, boiled, fried and so on. In Esino Lario it is used as an ingredient in the traditional patole (or ravioli di Sant’Antonio): ravioli stuffed with sausage, amaretto and aniseed leaves.
It is believed that the Como White potato was introduced thanks to the initiative of a noblewoman, Teresa Ciceri Castiglioni of Como, who in 1777 decided to introduce a new food to the Como peasant farmers by importing the first potato plants from France. Later on, the Società Patriotica di Milano, which had the objective of spreading the new crops, took on the job of promoting this new potato among the Brianza moors in Valsassina. Furthermore, this potato was a considerable commercial success, so much so that in the 1930s it was introduced in other Italian locations.
With the introduction of new foreign cultivars (especially German, Dutch and English) around the end of the second world war, the cultivation of the Como White potato began to decline. In recent years, thanks also to the creation of a consortium, projects have been launched aimed at recovering this product that some small farmers grow in Val d’Esino, in Vimercate and in Mariano Comense.
This potato variety has been the subject of research projects that have been completed by some professors and researchers from the University of Pavia, who have also collected a lot of information on a large number of local Lombard varieties in a publication ("Traditional Lombard agronomic varieties at risk of extinction or genetic erosion Vegetables and cereals: an overview ", G. Rossi, F. Guzzon, M. Canella, ER Tazzari, P. Cauzzi, S. Bodino, NMG Ardenghi, Pavia University Press, 2019).
The research activities necessary for the reporting of this product in the Ark of Taste online catalogue were financed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, the General Directorate of the Tertiary Sector and Corporate Social Responsibility – notice n° 1/2018 “Slow Food in action: communities protagonists of change”, pursuant to Article 72 of the Tertiary Sector Code, referred to in Legislative Decree No. 117/2017.