Baite!

Even if the winter season is at its end, snow came pretty late in Italy this year so we still have plenty of time to spend some weekends on the slopes skying, snowboarding or sledding. We still get time to walk in the lovely main streets of mountain’s towns looking at shops and chatting around. Obviously we have plenty of time to eat good food in our beautiful alps. This article is entirely dedicated to the Italian cabin restaurants, or baite, or chalet, or Hutte, depending where we find ourselves.

baita-2Every region of the alps as well as having different languages it also has different food cultures and habits. I would like to begin our trip from Piedmont to end up in Veneto so to cross all the alps describing different foods that all skiers would appreciate. In Piedmont is easy to find polenta always matched with some meat, usually roedeer or lamb. Also, many goats are to be found here in summer. In mountain locations as Sestrière, Limone, Alagna, Argentera is common to find as appetizer regional hams and cheeses; most of them are with goat milk: thanks to the french influence, piedmontees are very able to use acid coagulation. The most common are the Toma piemontese, the Castelmagno as well as Raschera and Murazzano. So don’t get there without trying at least one of them.

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On top of Piedmont there is Val D’Aosta, the semi-autonomous region that can proudly say to have beautiful slopes and panoramas in a small piece of land. Val d’Aosta is a bilingual region and so many of its dishes are named in French as the Fondue with the typical Fontina cheese and Carbonade with cows meat pieces fried in butter and red wine. Other typical recipe is the Cotoletta alla valdostana, a way tastier Cordonbleau.

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Polenta is a must on the slopes here too, in the lunch break you can have it with some fontina melted on top or with meat. Whether you are in Champoluc, Gressoney, Courmayeur (Cuuurma as milanese people call it) or Cervinia, stop by a chalet and don’t bring on the slopes those sad panini. In Lombardia, our study or native land, we can find great slopes as well in towns like Bormio, Ponte di Legno and Livigno. Get a taste here of Pizzoccheri and Polenta Taragna but don’t miss some good gorgonzola to begin with.

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Let’s have a look the other side of the Alps, with the beautiful Dolomites. Here we have the largest ski resort in the world as well as the best slopes for every kind of skier: beginner or expert. Dolomiti are shared by three regions: Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli. The first one is often considered as two different regions, where different languages are spoken. Food is pretty similar though and whether you are in Corvara and Seiser Alm in Alto Adige or Canazei and Obereggen in Trentino you can enjoy good Canederli (or knodel in German), as well as Spetzle for entrèe then speck, eggs and potatoes or Gulash as the main course. Canederli are maybe the most famous dish in Sudtirol because of their easy ingredients and different typologies such as speck, cheese, spinach or even mushrooms. To end up a good lunch or dinner a must here is the Kaiserschmarren, typical scrumbled eggs with apple or berries jams; Strudel or Sachertorte.

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Veneto is the other main holder of this beautiful patrimony given by the Dolomites. Here the most famous slopes are in Arabba and Cortina. While Arabba shares many common features with Sudtirol, Cortina is different in many ways: first of all german is not spoken at all, while the Bellunese dialect is more common. Being such a big attraction for people from all over the world sadly many chalets offer the typical pasta al ragù or pizza but if you look more carefully for the typical food, you will find great dishes as Patate all’ampezzana, and Polenta concia and many others that characterize the culinary traditions of this trendy location. Very good here are also cheeses such as Montasio and Malga, all characterized by a very strong flavour.

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Whether you are a skier or simply a walker, have a trip to our beautiful Italian alps and taste flavours that you will never forget!

Brando Gandolfi

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