Here is our guide for an eno-gastronomic tour of South Tyrolean excellence to discover great and young chefs, autochthonous wines and gourmet pizzas. All in the fresh air, in the Dolomites light
Stories of cooks
For those coming from northern Europe, it is the gateway to Italy. Just look at the ancient fortresses of lookout or the breathtaking castles that dominate the highlands, to remember its strategic importance. But South Tyrol is also the ideal place for a summer getaway from the hottest and busiest places, to breathe that fresh mountain air and to fully enjoy all the immense food and wine heritage that this region offers. The chefs are thus entrusted with the great task of transforming and enhancing local raw materials (and not only) by becoming the mouthpiece of a territory that is all to be discovered, tasted and "breathed". And they do it starting in the morning, with dream brunches; until lunchtime with snacks for mountaineers; and to dinners, in the light of the Dolomites.
The early bird catches the worm
That breakfast is the most important meal of the day in South Tyrol knows this well, also because it is often a destination for hikers and big walkers. Certainly the gourmets will appreciate the energetic international breakfasts both sweet and savory in places like Gius La Nonnaglück in the central square of Caldaro, where Gerda Gius prepares with a special care appetizing and tantalizing trays of humus and caramelized figs, feta salads, eggs, cured meats, yoghurts and much more of which we leave you the taste of surprise. Not to be missed is the Mein Beck di Lana café-bakery with torteria, where the varieties of local breads are a must (in addition to the Merano Merlot with carrots and chocolate): from Vitel with spelled sprouts, to the Schüttelbrot or schiacciatina of rye flour, up to the delicious Vinschger loaves flavored with cumin and fennel. But be careful: don't underestimate the ice cream.
The Mediterranean in the mountains
The Kofler brothers' dinner at the Farmerkreuz in Tyrol is also worth the trip. Manfred in the kitchen, Stefan in the dining room, a Michelin star and a great passion for cooking, which led them to transform the historic family business into a prestigious gourmet restaurant. Not only territory, but also sea, Mediterranean, to try in the tasting menu Alps to sea, that is from the Alps to the sea, which best of all tells the philosophy of this place; you will be positively impressed by the originality and the perfect success of dishes such as "Foie gras, Golden Delicious apple and Bronte pistachio", or from "The restricted broth of porcini with fagottino di patate and Sicilian red prawns", an evergreen ever present in paper. Because for them more than the kilometer zero counts the good kilometer, that is the quality product, even in the cellar, where we find both local and, for example, Croatian labels. But in reality we have not yet revealed yet another strong point: an unforgettable view of Merano from the top, with the Val Venosta on the right the Adige Valley in front.
From wood to 1200 meters in 1908
A carpenter's past, a present as a great chef and an even more promising future; and to think that the young Stephan Zippl has still not exceeded thirty years. After a period with his hands in the wood, he decided to paste them following the footsteps of a cook and winemaker father, with noteworthy experiences, including a period under the three stars of Norbert Niederkofler. From him he learns above all the respect for local products, as can be seen in his creation “Il bosco nel piatto”, a carpaccio of kohlrabi with pear cheese curd, roasted chanterelles, blueberries and hot speck froth with cheese from pera, which "best represents our Renon plateau," says Stephan. We also find the same principle in the beverage, with an interesting selection of apple juices, the undisputed queen of local production (he also produces fruit); and with a sophisticated wine cellar of Alto Adige wines, which, obviously, given the origins, could not miss. But to get to know and better understand his creativity, treat yourself to one Gourmet Week, or a thematic offer to discover local products, or even a Midweek Short Gourmet, with four nights and various tastings.
Steaks in carbonated water
Have you ever tried matured meat in carbonated water? This is the revolution undertaken by Thomas Mair at the Meatery, in Val Pusteria, today registered with the brand Aged Beef water. Thomas was looking for new techniques for the classic maturation and found them by resting the beef cuts for four weeks in sparkling mineral water; but beware, not just any water, but a choice with care and with the right concentration of carbonic acid. The result? A unique, tasty and very juicy meat, with a slightly mineral flavor and an incredibly tender consistency, like a fillet. You can buy it at the counter, or taste (by appointment only) sitting at the convivial table of the Meatingpoint; as an alternative there is also the proposal of the mountaineer's snack, that is a gourmet version of the packed lunch inside an excursion backpack.
Eating in a labyrinth, between historic vineyards and esoteric gardens
On the South Tyrolean Wine Route, one of the oldest there is, there is also Count Franz Graf von Pfeil. Owner of the Kränzelhof Estate, complete with a wine cellar, 5 hectares of orchards and vineyards, castle and restaurant, offers a tasting of its wines paired with traditional Italian dishes, always prepared starting from organic raw materials and sometimes served on the table by the chefs themselves, like the farfalle with robiola with herbs and chanterelles. To try is Farnatzer, which ennobles an underrated wine like Schiava in an excellent way, giving one of the best interpretations. But not only: after a satisfying taste, it will be time to let yourself be enchanted by its labyrinth garden, a truly enchanting place, inspired by astral symbolism.
At Tenuta J. Hofstätter not only wine, but also pizza, thanks to the precious cook and sommelier Marzia Buzzanca. It was she, in fact, who valued the second pizza using the techniques of haute cuisine: a careful selection of organic flours and long leavening dough, to then unhinge the classic combination with beer and surprise us with a perfect accompaniment to the wines of the cellar. But it does not end here: the estate also has another restaurant, the Alte Post, where chef Arno Baldo will amaze you with innovative dishes, often with ingredients grown by him in the adjacent vegetable garden, such as the vegetable julienne and the turnip in the stuffed veal tip with lentil vinaigrette. Well done!