Mantua, along with Parma and Ferrara, is part of a sort of golden triangle of gastronomy on the Po Valley Plain. Mantuan cuisine encompasses the characteristic qualities of court cooking, as well as that of traditional rural settings, feast days and the no less inviting or appetizing fare of convent tables. The typical dishes of the Mantua region have always found the right combination of great peasant genuineness and elaborate aristocratic creativity, the same unique mix which has made the city of Mantua famous throughout the world. Among the great first course dishes of Mantuan gastronomy is Risotto alla Pilota, a pillar of local cuisine named after the “pilatura”, or husking, of rice in large mortar pots. In the traditional recipe, the rice is prepared with typical Mantuan salamelle, fresh sausages sprinkled into a pan of rice on a medium heat after being shredded with a fork or pieced by a wooden spoon. Furthermore, it is impossible to speak of the Mantuan gastronomic tradition without mentioning its famous tortelli di zucca, or pumpkin tortelli, prepared with oven-baked pumpkin enriched with mustard and amaretti crumbs. An mention of honour also must go to agnolini mantovani, served as an appetizer in a small bowl of broth and distinguished from Bolognese tortellini for the precise way they are served and tasted. A discourse apart has to be reserved for desserts, topped by sbrisolona, an almond cake rustic specialty that has long since crossed local borders and is exported as the most typical dessert of Mantua. There are also fine pastry specialties such as Millefoglie and Torta Elvezia, with possible Austro-Hungarian influences.