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Recipe: the Toc polenta and the Ragell of the village of Bellagio

Friday 16 march 2018

The Toc is a typical dish of the Bellagina tradition from which it is then produced the Ragel, the traditional Vin Brulè of Bellagio

Recipe: the Toc polenta and the Ragell of the village of Bellagio

The Toc polenta (also called simply Toc) is a dish made with few ingredients but needs a lot of skill. In the past it was served mainly during weddings or baptisms, as the Toc should be enjoyed in company, almost to accompany the ritual of the event during which the convivial gather around the table to share an unforgettable experience.
The Toc is a cream of polenta obtained by cooking the typical Lombard polenta and adding butter and cheese in good quantity during cooking. Cooking is the most difficult process because it is difficult to get the right consistency. The polenta must remain creamy and homogeneous, quite 'solid' to be eaten with the hands but at the same time uniform, so as not to release the melted butter, which would ruin the dish.
The name of this dish refers to the way to consume it, with your hands. In fact, when the Toc was consumed, the cauldron was placed in the center of the room and the guests, to eat it, had to 'touch' it with the hands.
Because of the difficulty of the preparation, even in the same Bellagio it is rare to find restaurants that serve this delicacy and in case you find one, know that the Toc will be prepared only on request and for groups by a true master "tocchista".
When the Toc is finished and the pot is practically empty, the Ragell is prepared, a particular mulled wine which, using the same cauldron (without washing it!) Is enriched by the leftovers of the polenta cream. The Toc can also be eaten in accompaniment to cold boiled hen, stuffed meatballs or missoltino, the typical Agone of dried lario. Although the preparation of this typical dish can be difficult (and in a phase of its process also dangerous) we report the recipe for those who want to try their hand at cooking it. Nothing insurmountable anyway: just use the due caution and the right amount of attention.


For 6 persons

For the Toc

  • 600g of yellow flour
  • 1.2kg of mountain cheese
  • 800g of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • Salt to taste
For the Ragell
  • Red wine
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • nutmeg
  • sugar
  • orange zest and grated
  • lemon
  • an apple cut into pieces


The Toc

We start by preparing a polenta in a cauldron, preferably copper, combining the salted water in boiling with the yellow flour and the oil, mixing with a wooden spoon until cooked, being careful not to form lumps. At the end of cooking (about 40/45 minutes) we incorporate a little cheese cut into pieces, continuing to mix, alternating with the butter, also cut into pieces. Once perfectly blended, our Toc is ready to be served.

The secret of a good Toc lies in measuring well the temperature of the fire, so that it does not stick to the pot and that it does not release the melted butter, which would make the dish inedible.

The Ragell

Once the Toc is consumed, when the pot is practically empty, we can start preparing the Ragell. Pour into the pot the red wine adding cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, sugar, orange peel, grated lemon and finally an apple cut into pieces. In order for Ragell to take its characteristic flavor, it is recommended not to clean or wash the cauldron from the leftovers of Toc. We put the cauldron back on the fire and wait for the fumes of the wine alcohol to catch fire. It is here that we need to be careful and use the necessary precautions, as it will produce a flame, which is good to prevent to be invested. Beyond this more than due warning, the effect will certainly be very spectacular. We continue to cook the Ragell until the alcohol vapors and the flame are exhausted. At this point we will be able to serve the hot Ragell to our guests as a digestive.

Remember, the Toc and Ragell must be enjoyed in company, so call friends and relatives and pay attention to all the steps!

...good appetite!

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