Gourmet skiing

5th December 2011, by Chris Gill



Extract from Where to Ski and Snowboard 2012, where our editors Chris Gill and Dave Watts sum-up the delights of eating well while skiing the Sella Ronda region. In a special collaboration with mountain restaurants in the region, the Alta Badia tourist board has put together ‘A Taste for Skiing’, where visitors can sample local produce turned into splendid meals by top European chefs. See our News item too.

The Alta Badia – the area around La Villa, including Badia, San Cassiano, Corvara and Colfosco – has gradually built up a culture of top-flight cooking, and is now starting to capitalise on its success in doing so.

For many years, its top hotels have run excellent gourmet restaurants, but now the tourist office has developed an excellent scheme to encourage serious cooking in mountain restaurants, too. This involves pairing up mountain restaurant chefs with ‘starred’ chefs from resort restaurants in the area, plus their chums from around Europe.

There are three local ‘starred’ restaurants. The chef from the Rosa Alpina hotel in San Cassiano is teamed up with Ütia Bioch up at 2080m. The chef from the Ciasa Salares hotel partners Ütia Col Alt. The guy from the restaurant at La Perla in Corvara works with Ütia I Tabla.

Then chefs from Milan, Slovenia, Lugano, St Moritz, Munich etc are paired with eight other mountain restaurants.

The deal is that each restaurant offers a single dish created by its partner chef, costing little or nothing more than other dishes on the menu but offering something special – certainly something you wouldn’t expect to find in a rustic mountain restaurant. When we visited in 2011, we ate at I Tabla, where we had superb knuckle of pork in honey with thyme-scented polenta and chanterelles.

A wine from Südtirol is suggested for each dish. The tourist office produces a handsome pocket-sized brochure listing the restaurants and the special dishes. It sponsors other foodie schemes too – for example, a series of mountain restaurants between La Villa and Santa Croce, above Badia, form a ‘gourmet skitour’, detailed in another little brochure.

These schemes encourage variety and quality in mountain nosh; we approve.

Food fun in the snow. [TO Alta Badia]

Where to eat – the huts taking part in Alta Badia

Ütia Lèe is near the S.Corce quad. Germany’s Martin Fauster has created braised pig’s cheek on a bed of black pudding and pearl barley with apple.

Ütia I Tablà is a lovely traditional hut, where you can tuck into pig’s cheek marinated in beer, honey and fennel with potatoes, onion and caraway seeds.

Ütia Bioch’s creation comes from the chef at the Hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano. Crispy pig’s head with beetroot salad and pumpkin seed dressing.

Ütia Las Vegas has designer rooms and a traditional exterior. Served there will be glazed knuckle of pork with radicchio and walnuts.

Ütia Pralongià is between Corvara and San Cassiano. Austrian chef Bobby Bräuer’s offering is braised belly of pork on pan-fried white cabbage, with dried fruit and panch pharon”.

Ütia Col Alt is an old mountain refuge with a lot of history. Sit down to sucking piglet with herbs, speck Alto Adige PGI, with loin of venison, Pinot Nero sauce, savoy cabbage parcel, apple and chestnuts.

Ütia Mesoles can be reached by car as well as on skis. Try the pasta, pork, speck and courgettes.

Ütia Jimmy at Passo Gardena is serving up spare ribs roasted in beer, with potatoes, turnips and apple PGI.

Piz Arlara above Corvara has crispy sucking pig, with honey and glazed apple PGI, with fried potatoes and speck.

Ütia Bamby is recently refurbished and near the new chairlift. Leg of pork, potatoes from Val Pusteria, hazelnuts and beer sauce

Club Moritzino hut above La Villa where UK chef Hywel Jones teams up with the hut’s daily chef to deliver roast diver scallops with local speck (ham), cauliflower salad and an apple, honey and truffle vinaigrette.

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