Bread, a food which holds a different sacredness in every diet, takes on a special significance among the population of the Val d'Aosta. It is made precious by the geographic reality of the land.
And we are referring to the round, flat bread, dried by the passing of time, that can still be found in the Alpine huts as a decorative object more than a food product. It is tied to the times when refrigerators and freezers had not even been imagined and this, the true bread of the Val d'Aosta, was prepared three times a year and jealously preserved through drying.
A simple, poor man's bread, made with wheat and rye, only slightly leavened, it is appropriate for the diet of the families who, for many months of the year, lived in winter isolation due to the cold, ice and snow.
A bread which, in order to be sliced, requires a special instrument, something like a guillotine, called a "copapan" (bread killer) and which is still in use today.
In order to be eaten, it had to be softened in broth or warm milk or to be immersed in the juices obtained when meat is cooked for a long time.
A food appropriate for long conservation, made, as many foods in Val d'Aosta, to last over time. This was necessary because the inhabitants of this land lived deeply rooted in their territorial reality for many centuries, without any means of communication not only with other bordering regions but even with the other valleys of the same region. The inhabitants of Val d'Aosta had to be satisfied with the little offered by the farmland available to them in the small spaces at the foot of the mountains. They therefore elaborated a food culture based on the ancient ingredients of milk and cheese, a few types meat, wild herbs and spontaneous foods like mushrooms and honey. Bread (before polenta) was the food which accompanied these products and which could be made only three times a year.