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A culinary journey through Europe’s mountain world

Hut landscape on the Dachstein High Altitude Circular Path

Put one foot in front of the other and take in the mountain air with every breath as you make your way along the dreamlike hiking routes in the mountain world of Europe. Time out hiking in the mountains has a special kind of magic. It’s no wonder that every year many hikers hungry for exercise are drawn to the mountains to find their own personal peace and recharge their batteries.

Hut landscape on the Dachstein High Altitude Circular Path

Aside from hiking, the nature and the fresh air, there’s another important factor that makes this time-out so special: the unique cuisine of the country and specialities of the region. Find out more on our HikingBlog about the delights of Europe's mountain worlds, what makes them so special and what culinary specialities you can look forward to on your next hiking holiday.

Local cuisine with tradition

Simple, natural, regional and high-quality – these are the ingredients for the cuisine of Europe’s mountain worlds. Here, in amongst the impressive natural landscapes, time moves slower. And that’s a good thing. You find yourself a world away from the fast-food chains, convenience products and restaurants with food from all over the world, here you can still find exactly what the innkeepers in these regions believe in – a cuisine with traditional, down-to-earth dishes and particularly high-quality ingredients directly from the local area. The focus lies on using local products and, where possible, home-grown ingredients that are in season. If it’s not available, it won’t be on the plate. And you can taste this. The use of regional ingredients has also become more important again in many households, and in addition to organic products, people are trying to get food directly from the producer or farmer next door. This is not only particularly sustainable, but also a great benefit for our health and regional added value.

Cheese snack while hiking in the mountains

The culinary heritage of the mountain region

The simplicity of many dishes can be traced back in history. The focus in the Alpine regions has always been on natural and authentic use of products. In former times, the secluded life in the mountain villages or on the alpine pastures taught people to make do with what was available. The choice of food or the possibilities to grow something themselves were limited. In addition, the work in the mountains was particularly strenuous and, especially in winter, people had to eat food that gave them strength and warmed them from the inside.

This gave rise to many ideas for preserving food, such as drying, fermenting, curing, pickling various foods, and even smoking. All this is still familiar to us today. Meat or fish was not always available and so mainly vegetarian dishes were cooked with milk and cereals as the two most important cornerstones. Did you know that there are about 2,400 edible wild plants in our Alpine regions? These not only have a wonderful taste, but some of them also have a healing effect on our body. Verbena, for example, with its lemony aroma, is suitable for many dishes and as a tea is effective against fatigue.

 

Regional delights in Europe’s mountain world

The vegetarian specialties are based on simple recipes with few ingredients, and the wonderful taste has not changed since times gone by. Many of these recipes you will find today as absolute favourites on the menus of the mountains. So in Austria you can enjoy an impressive Kaspressknödel or Gröstl – with or without meat. Whatever is available goes into the pan. Let's take a look at Italy, especially South Tyrol. Here, wonderful dumpling dishes, soups and dried and smoked meat await you. In Switzerland, on the other hand, the history of the numerous types of cheese in particular goes back to times gone by. Bündnerfleisch, an air-dried meat produced in the canton of Graubünden, or Basler Mehlsuppe, a soup made with just a few ingredients, shows off the simple culinary tradition of the Swiss mountain world.

Many traditional dishes and their producers are still today the culinary ambassadors of the food history of the Alpine region. The list of traditional dishes of the mountain worlds of Europe is long and the history is special. The best way to experience this distinctive cuisine, as well as the long culinary heritage, is to try it for yourself with the various exciting ingredients. On our individual hiking tours you will find numerous recommendations for inns or restaurants along your walking route in your detailed travel documents. Our support teams on-site also have plenty of tips and ideas for culinary delights at the ready for you. Hiking and enjoyment – experience your personal culinary hike in the mountains of Europe.

 

Our Recipe tip

Traditional Austrian Kaspressknödel

Even before you head off on your next hiking tour, you can experience the taste of Austria easily at home. A particularly well-loved meal is the typical Kaspressknödel. Try it for yourself – with our easy recipe this traditional dish is guaranteed to be a success!

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 250g day-old bread
  • 250ml lukewarm milk
  • 180g Austrian mountain cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 onion
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • ½ bunch of fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • A pinch of nutmeg

Method:

Cut the cheese and bread into small cubes. Mix the bread cubes with the lukewarm milk and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Was the parsley, shake dry and chop finely. Mix the dumpling mixture with the cheese, eggs, salt pepper, parsley and nutmeg well and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Then kneed well with wet hands and form around 10 dumplings. Press the dumplings flat and heat in a pan with butter for approximately 3 minutes on both sides until they are golden brown. Set them on a paper towel. Traditional Kaspressknödel from Austria taste good with a fresh salat, sauerkraut or in a clear soup. As the Austrian’s say – Mahlzeit!

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