Five Culinary Classics for Hungry Holidaymakers
The food of Tirol has been shaped by the mountains – a place where until just a few decades ago life was a hard and energy-intensive. Add to that the particular challenges of winter and you will soon see why dishes such as dumplings, hearty hotpots and thick soups have become a firm favourite with both locals and visitors alike.
This dish translates as ‘black root vegetables’ and sounds pretty unappetising, but with garlic, herb salt, pepper, olive oil and a bit of apple vinegar it is a quick, tasty and hearty meal which will give you plenty of energy for whatever you are doing next. The alternative name of the vegetable in question is a little more tempting: winter asparagus.
2. Osttiroler Blattlstock
No winter in East Tirol would be complete without Blattlstock. This sweet treat is made in layers using yeast-rich dough and poppyseeds. On top you will also find a layer of melted butter. The result is a super-rich, super-hearty dessert which is so filling that it can be eaten as a main course. Not exactly low in calories, but then again Christmas is not the time for a diet!
3. Lienzer Lebzelten
Lebzelten is another popular Christmas dish from East Tirol. It has been made and enjoyed in the region for hundreds of years and is a kind of gingerbread flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, aniseed and other seasonal ingredients. Lebzelten come in all shapes and sizes. A popular motif depicts the Three Wise Men giving praise to the Baby Jesus.
The Alpbachtal Valley is known for its strong, tangy mountain cheese – and in winter for its mountain-cheese soup. This soup is proof that sometimes the tastiest things are nice and simple. All you need is a little butter, cubes of dried bread, onions and beef broth. The cheese is then grated into the soup and seasoned with salt and pepper. It takes just 20 minutes to prepare and is the perfect way to warm up on a cold winter day.
Tirol’s annual carnival celebrations are known as Fasching or Fasnacht. As well as all manner of spectacular parades aimed at driving out winter and welcoming springtime it is known for its Faschingskrapfen. These are doughnuts traditionally filled with apricot jam but adapted by many local bakers to cater to all tastes – from tasty vanilla to frankly bizarre mustard. Some of the best can be found at the Konditorei Thaler in Reith im Alpbachtal – we recommend the traditional apricot version.