A few years ago I spent a few days in Milan with my friend Teresa. We had a great time and were lucky enough to stay at a hotel where the owner was very helpful. He obviously had an arrangement with some of the nearby restaurants and sent us off to try them. Milan has a reputation for being expensive but the restaurants we tried were ones that the locals used and were very good value and served lovely regional specialities. My favourite was Risotto con la Zucca – pumpkin Risotto, served with crumbled amaretti biscuit. It was so good and the flavours complemented each other perfectly. Risotto is a popular dish of this region and one of my press trips I travelled through the rice fields by train on my way to Lake Orta.