My best ever start to a ski season

13th December 2015, by Dave Watts

Chefs at work in the San Cassiano restaurant with 2-Michelin stars where Editor Watts had canapés

Chefs at work in the San Cassiano restaurant with 2-Michelin stars where Editor Watts had canapés

A couple of months back the lovely Marion Telsnig of Crystal Ski invited me out to the Dolomites for my first ski of the season last weekend. In getting on for 40 years of skiing I can’t recall a better first 24 hours.

Though the Dolomites has seen no fresh snow this season, its amazing snowmaking system meant that there were plenty of excellent pistes to enjoy. More on that in a blog in a couple of days’ time.

What made my first day special was the mixture of the skiing, glorious sunny weather, stunning scenery and simply delicious food.

I arrived in Corvara in the Alta Badia sector of the Sella Ronda area of Italy’s Sud Tirol region on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday evening I was treated to a ‘table hopping’ tour of three Michelin-starred restaurants in small resort villages only 15 minutes apart. We had amuse bouche (including a delicious canapé of tuna and rabbit) in the kitchen of the 2-star St Hubertus restaurant in the Rosa Alpina hotel in San Cassiano. Then we moved on to La Sirolia restaurant at the Ciasa Salares hotel in Armentarola and enjoyed fabulous risotto with wasabi and smoked eel followed by succulent venison with celeriac and radiccio – all prepared by Europe’s youngest Michelin-starred chef Matteo Metullio, now 26 but only 24 when his cooking was awarded a star. Deserts were in the Stüa de Michel in the La Perla hotel in Corvara, just a stone’s throw from my bed for the night at the Sporthotel Panorama. What an evening!

Sunday saw us on the 9am chairlift for two hours of fabulous skiing on excellent man-made snow before stopping for a well earned rest and our first dish of the day on the Gourmet Ski Safari (see the news item on this). In all during the day we sampled six of the dishes and wines on offer, skiing from hut to hut to work off the calories. These included: tortelli stuffed with goat’s cheese served with beetroot puree, peanuts and suckling pig ragout; spaghetti with garlic, chilli, scallops and wild turnip sauce; wine soup with herb croutons and marinated char. Not your average mountain food, very reasonably priced and available all season. My favourite was a hearty helping of linguini with mussels, cod roe and crunchy bread created by a chef from Positano and accompanied by a local Sud Tirol white wine – yours for only €11 every lunchtime this season at the Bioch hut. French and Swiss resorts please take note.

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