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South Tyrolean specialties

 
Eureka Experience: Graukäse Cheese

Graukäse (lit: grey cheese) is particularly rich in protein, and almost completely fat-free. The farmers of old had to use everything that the farm yielded forth – including whey, a by-product of churning butter. After the addition of lactic acid bacteria, but no rennet, the mixture was hand-shaped into “grey cheese,” which quickly matured into a delicacy atop the wood stove. This headstrong Tyrolean native is an uncompromising loner. It tolerates no competition from other flavors. Only the onion can stand up to its sharp taste: served in this way, with pepper, oil and vinegar, the palate is in for a real surprise. Passionate kissing, however, is not recommended after eating Graukäse.
 
Gröstl: For Farmers or Lords?

Turning necessity into a virtue: many a South Tyrolean mountain farmer was a champion of this and developed inventive recipes for leftovers. Potatoes and onions were almost always available on a farm. When cooked meat was left over from Sunday’s soup, the strips of meat were delicious sautéed in butter with rings of onions and potatoes, and heavily seasoned with laurel, marjoram and parsley: Bauerngröstl (Bauern = “farmer”). On more festive occasions or for a special visit, a more refined variation of the dish, with strips of veal, could be whipped up: Herrngröstl (Herr = “lord”). These two dishes, both of which are made in a pan, are popular once again today.
 
Smoked Delicacy: Speck Ham

Speck is the international ambassador among South Tyrol’s high-quality products. Speck was documented in the trade registers as early as 1200, and its preparation was regulated in the Metzger-Ordnungen, a set of rules for butchers. This quintessentially Tyrolean specialty was produced in order to preserve meat for a year. A good source of fat, Speck was one of the most important energy sources in the peasant diet. Every farmer jealously guards his recipe, even today, because the herbal mixture is everything – together with undisturbed maturation. The traditional, time-honored dictum still holds true today: “Little salt, little smoke, a lot of air and time.” Actually, it sounds like a maxim for a healthy lifestyle...
 
Round and Healthy: Knödel Dumplings

Knödel are emblematic of the South Tyrolean culinary tradition at its very best. The most traditional type of dumpling, Speckknödel, was first depicted figuratively in 1180 on a fresco in Hocheppan Castle. According to legend, the dish came into being when hungry lansquenets threatened a hostess. In the face of this emergency, she formed round balls of dough out of the ingredients she had on hand, such as Speck ham, milk, bread and eggs, and cooked them in salted water: lo and behold, an improvised meal was ready.
Preparation of Knödel has since risen to an art form, with many little culinary secrets behind it. According to recent studies, the favorite dish of the South Tyrolean is not only a tasty treat, but also offers a perfect ratio of nutrients; Knödel are low in calories and healthy to boot.
 
Pocket with an Inner Life: Schlutzer

Schlutzkrapfen, also known as Schlutzer in the South Tyrolean dialect, originated in the Pustertal Valley. In olden times, farmers served the best food on Saturday nights as a reward for the hard workweek. So it was that dumplings made from rye and barley meal were very often served, together with plenty of melted butter, which allowed each bite to “slip and slide” (in dialect: schlutzen) lusciously down the throat. The traditional filling, spinach and Quark (curd cheese), also offered poor people a highly nutritious meal that supplied the body with everything it needed: vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and minerals.
 
 
 
 
 
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