I simply adore Italian food! Pastas, pizzas, Italian cold cuts, cheeses… I could have a starter, or a desert always and anytime… I’ve never been bored with the local dishes during any of my trips to Italy, although, on the other hand, my longest visit lasted for mere 3 weeks. I’d love to go for 3 months and find out if it’s still my favourite cuisine in the world, and also if it’s the one I’d go with if I had to choose only one. Forgive me pork chops (schabowy), forgive me pierogi (Polish dumplings)! 🙂 Forgive me Spanish tapas! Also Łukasz and of course Maks love Italian cuisine – well, do you know a child who doesn’t like noodles and pizza? 🙂
This time we had an opportunity to try a different variant of Italian cuisine. South Tyrol, as I’ve already said, is a quite specific area where a combination of Italian and Alpine influences is visible also in the cuisine. There are pastas, there’s pizza, but there’s also i.e. canederli, or round dumplings (knedle)! I must admit – it took us by surprise!
Here’s a short culinary guide to South Tyrol! Enjoy! 🙂
You absolutely have to try the South Tyrolean speck, not only because it has been awarded with the EU approved quality mark, but also because it perfectly reflects the character of the region – it combines the Alpine and Italian influences in the stage of production: it is smoked and subsequently aged in the open air. The first speck was consummated in South Tyrol in the 17th century!
Nowadays, it serves as a tasty starter, perfect with gherkins and crispy bread, and it is great with pastas, or potato dumplings.
You could say that our visit to South Tyrol started in the lovely San Candido/Innichen, in our hotel, with schlutzkrapfen. Schlutzkrapfen is a type of ravioli, stuffed with ricotta and spinach, and covered with a great amount of local strong cheese. It’s typical for the Alta Pustería valley, where San Candido is located. As mentioned in the Wikipedia, they’re very similar to our Polish pierogis! 🙂 Maybe from the outside they are, but their intense cheese flavour is very original! They’re delicious!
3) TRI DI CANEDERLI
The round dumplings (knedle) must have been adopted by South Tyrol from the alpine cuisine, as you won’t get them in other parts of Italy… I associate knedle with the Czech republic and knödel with goulash (I adore it!), or with Austria and its absolutely delicious huge germknödel filled with plum jam, and covered with vanilla sauce, poppy seed and cinnamon, served in mountain restaurants. I still miss it and it’s been 5 years since I’ve last had it! I hope to catch up someday! 🙂
How are knedle in Alta Pustería? The most popular is the so-called holly trinity – tri di canederli, or round dumplings with speck (obviously!), spinach and cheese. Knedle are a rather economical dish, as they’re made of crumbled dated white bread mixed with other ingredients, spices, eggs and breadcrumbs. These little balls are later cooked and served in a variety of ways – similarly to the Polish pierogis. They’re usually available in a chicken soup, or butter-fried and heavily sprinkled with parmesan! We definitely prefer the second option… Actually, we love it so much, we didn’t even manage to take a picture 😉
4) GNIOCCHI, TAGLIATELLE…
You can’t visit Italy and not have gnocchi, spaghetti, penne and tagliatelle. Numerous cabins located on the mountain slopes usually offer a wide range of options – starting from the most typical ragú (in Poland usually dubbed “bolognese”), or aglio olio, up to some very interesting compositions, such as cheese and pepper ravioli served on duck carpaccio. Portions are immense and dishes – especially those with meat and mushrooms – are very filling. They’re perfect for the exhausted skiers who haven’t had a meal since 7:30 until 12:30! Such a dinner restores strengths and energy to keep on going!
I was most delighted by gnocchi with butter and smoked ricotta – sounds simple but tastes deliciously! I also loved the tagliatelle with speck and goat cheese. Perfection!
A good meal needs a drink. You should definitely try some local wines, but when you’re taking a break from skiing under the sun, you should have Veneziano, also known as Aperol Spritz. It’s a light, refreshing aperitif, made of prosecco, soda water and orange liqueur Aperol.
What else should you have in South Tyrol?
– you should try ALPE PRAGAS jams.
You might say that a jam is nothing more but a jam, but a visit to the Alpe Pragas factory and their shop turned out to be much more interesting than one could expect. The stylish manufactory is located in the mountains, and it has a shop that offers traditional flavours, such as raspberry, blueberry and redcurrant, as well as peach and lemongrass (delicious!), apricot, ginger and peppermint (Łukasz’s favourite), or apfelstrudel jam (in a word: local apple-pie). There’re not only jams, but also savoury chutneys, i.e. apple and onion chutney, so there’s something for everyone. However, despite all these options, I fell in love with the raspberry jam – it tastes almost like a fresh raspberry mousse, not like a jam locked in a jar.
– have a delicious homemade bread to start, although be careful if you don’t like cumin – it’s often added to the bread! I preferred crispy small buns with black olives, tomatoes or spinach.
– visit the Tilia restaurant and go with the dishes recommended by the chef, Chris Oberhammer
Tilia is exceptional. This intimate, cosy restaurant located in a little glass building, in the small town of Dobbiaco is worth visiting if you’re looking for high class culinary experiences. Tilia is a proud Michelin starred restaurant with interesting positions on the menu, such as a crème beetroot soup with shrimps (delicious!), or an exquisite, mouth-watering ox steak with potato gratin.
What should you have for desert when visiting South Tyrol?
Here’s also a full mix, as you can have tiramisu, as well as apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce. There’s a little something for everyone…
Let’s put a sweet accent at the end of this post. Have a delicious day! 🙂