I watch Jean, a longstanding Valdostana, multi-ethnic and semi-artiste cook, as he declaims the paradigms of some Valdostana recipes in favour of our pages. He chose them in the hope of passing on the experience of flavours from this land and its traditions, to those wishing to reproduce them wherever they may be. At a glance, he seems to focus on far off horizons, as he incessantly stirs eggs...I try to distract him slightly: "What have you chosen for the first courses, Jean?" "Two soups and polenta concia (polenta with butter and fontina)" - his stare is combative, ready to defend his options. "Go on" - I say, taking my note book and pen in hand. "Mmh, yes... let's start with the soups..."