If you are a fan of dumplings yes you know, theSouth Tyrol it can be your Paradise. Here every farm, the ancient medieval farms now converted into hotels or private residences or stables, keeps its personal secret to prepare them in an excellent way.
An ancient dish
These large stale bread dumplings in fact, also known by the name of Knödel, Klöße (from the German "knot", or "knot" or "lump") are in fact a delicious first course or dish prepared in many variants both savory (the most common, prepared with spinach, wild herbs and mushrooms), both sweet (like i Marillenknödel, the apricot dumplings or the Zwetschgenknödel, plum dumplings). But the most classic are the Speckknödel, served strictly in broth or with melted butter. Here are a couple of addresses where you can taste them and learn how to prepare them really well.
The gourmet farms, where to enjoy them
One of the best stops to taste the local cuisine is certainly theHotel Kematen, converted from an ancient noble complex, complete with a small church, barn and natural swimming pool obtained from a small pond dotted with water lilies. You meet him on a sunny hill above Collalbo on the plateau of Renon at 1322 meters. The rooms and the restaurant are housed in an ancient noble house of 750 years, protected to the north by a forest, with spectacular views of the western Dolomites. In the kitchen there is Mrs. Elizabeth, who now runs the hotel with her husband and daughter. Think of the dishes to be served in the cozy and rustic restaurant on the ground floor of the ancient barn. The ingredients are zero km and, in addition to the dumplings in all their variations, the homemade desserts (including a superb wild berry tiramisu) and a selection of Speck Alto Adige Igp, from the fresher to the more seasoned, including the biological version. The ideal is to combine them with one of the 200 local labels. Even the breakfast, served in the ancient gothic stube deserves (where brunch is also served on request) and, for the most romantic, there is also a dinner for two under an ancient centuries-old ash tree.
Henrich's recipe and secrets
For a real tutorial on dumplings, the ideal is another historic farm: the'Hotel Naturidylle Geyrerhof, which you can find about 1 km from the center of the village of Soprabolzano, a pleasant town connected to Bolzano in 15 minutes by the now famous cable car. We are in a 17th century farm, transformed in 1974 into a hotel with a spa and a very welcoming outdoor pool. Surrounded by meadows, the place has also annexed a wild breeding of Hungarian pigs and deer from which excellent cold cuts and homemade Speck with a particular mixture of herbs, a family secret, are made. The farm, once belonging to the Habsburgs, extended over 10 thousand square meters.
To do the honors, in typical Tyrolean costume is Kurt, who runs the family business with his father Henrich. The latter also holds cooking classes and reveals the secrets of his famous dumplings. "The genuine ingredients are the base," he says, who is also famous for his homemade bread, seasoned with walnuts and figs or hazelnuts. Even the eggs used (and served for breakfast in various recipes), are another gem to take into account: strictly organic, they are provided by small local farms. Chives is stewed onion complete the picture. What remains to be seen live is the skill with which the cook and landlord handles the balls of seasoned bread, born as a recovery recipe about a thousand years ago. The same skill with which the South Tyrolean chef also prepares his Strudel (apple, pear, apricot) or waters flavored with currants or raspberries picked on their property, also offered in the famous rolls of sponge cake and in home made jams.
Are you curious to try? Here is the recipe.
Canederli with Speck Alto Adige PGI
Ingredients for 4 people
250 g of stale bread
40 g of butter
40 grams of speck cut into a banner
1 glass of whole milk
Cut the bread into cubes and toast it in the oven at 150 g for 15 minutes. Let it cool and, in the meantime, brown the onion, finely chopped, in the butter until it is well braised. Mix the eggs with the milk and pour them on the bread; add the parsley and chives (about 2 tablespoons of each), stir and let the dough rest for an hour. The trick? "Mix the bread from time to time so that the dough absorbs the liquid evenly: in fact, the bread must become moist and soft but without crushing". Then add 50 g of flour and mix without crushing the dough. Wet your hands in warm water then form dumplings with a diameter of about 4-6 cm, gently rolling the dough on your palms. Boil the dumplings in the broth or water for 15 minutes. In the second case, drain and serve with melted butter and sage.
Ever massaged Speck's "mustache"?
Browse the gallery
The itinerary to discover the «perfect dumplingCould not exempt from a visit to one of the establishments of the Speck Alto Adige PGI, one of the 29 members of the Consortium for the Protection of this salami. The choice falls on that of Citterio, historic Milanese brand that produces various types here, also in the organic version.
"At the base of a good product there are firm pork thighs coming from recognized and controlled farms," he explains Massimiliano Seno, Plant manager, while he shows me the spice mix with which the Baffa, or the typical cut of meat with which the Speck is prepared.
To better understand, I try directly in the preparation of the salami, massaging the Baffa homogeneously with one of the workers, Salvatore. «Each producer has his own personal recipe secretly kept for the exact mixing of salt, pepper, bay leaf, juniper and rosemary. One thing is certain: the final salt must not exceed 5% ".
Applied a special plate with name, number and code of the mustache, it is dry-cured for three weeks in a cool environment.
Afterwards the bees are subjected to alight filling dry for 5 days: the use of little resinous wood is fundamental and the smoke temperature never exceeds 20 ° C.
Here we are: hours le baffe now they can season for 22 weeks (at least). They will lose a third of their weight to become the symphony of flavors and aromas that we all know. A special mold will form on the meat that will give the typical Speck aroma and will be removed at the end of seasoning.
Finally, each piece will be branded with the seal, effectively becoming a product IGP.
At this point the circle and the caneder close in a perfect shape.