There are many varieties of chestnut trees growing in the woods in the valley. Dried chestnuts and their flour used to play an important role in the local diet. Bagneri village keeps this tradition going and sells dried chestnuts (www.bagneri.it).
Strangely rice is part of the local tradition. Dried chestnuts were bartered for it and girls worked seasonally in the rice fields south of Biella. Their pay was rice. Riso in cagnone is perhaps the most characteristic rice dish; cheese and nut-brown butter are added to a simple risotto.
The Trappist monks brought potatoes to Sordevolo. The Trappa organisation produces and sells organic potatoes. About 30 varieties of wild herbs are foraged for salads, soups, fritters and frittatas. There are many types of wild mushrooms in the valley, perhaps porcini are the most famous.
The clear waters of the Elvo are well stocked with trout. Traditionally they are cooked in butter and wild thyme. Local game is cooked in winter dishes, usually served with polenta.
The woodland and pastures offer many flowers which attract bees. Many varieties of honey are said to have medicinal properties. Local honey can be bought in the village or in Biella at Bottega di Sordevolo (www.labottegadisordevolo.it). The ancient, fermented honey drink, mead, is still enjoyed locally (www.idromelebiellese.it).
The local water, scarce in minerals, and distributed all around the world by Lauretana, is ideal for brewing beer. As well as Menabrea, the most famous, which also has a beer museum, there are several brewers of various types of craft beers, Microbirrificio Birra Elvo, JEB, Un Terzo, Beer In.