To say that a trip to the Alta Badia region of Italy was one of the culinary highlights of my life would be an understatement. Michelin starred restaurants are so numerous that you could probably take a holiday to simply eat as many stars as your stomach can hold. (I have read that the Dolomites claim the highest density of Michelin starred restaurants in Italy.) Just as enjoyable, I loved finding the little mountain huts (ütia) with the self-taught chef whose food is out of this world, like Alma at the Vinoteca highlighted in my Sella Ronda post. Hubby and I are mapping out a return trip where we hike from ütia to ütia savoring every last bite of knödel and Nebraska steak. This post is an homage to some of my favorite dishes and experiences.
Located at the base of a ski run a short bus ride from San Cassiano, the Rifugio Scotoni is a meat-lovers paradise that comes highly recommended from local guides and concierges. You have to work a little to get there, but the payoff is worth your while.
|Set in a stunning valley, Rifugio Scotoni is at the bottom left|
|Waiting for a table can take a while, so grab an apéritif at Scotoncino|
|The platter of grilled meats is great to order for the table|
|Digestifs with a flag representing each customer’s nationality|
|Soaking in the sun is a national pastime|
|We missed the last ski lift and had to take a horse taxi home…for reals|
|Don’t drop your poles…it’s a long walk home!|
We managed to eat three Michelin stars during our stay, one at the Stüa de Michil at Hotel La Perla in Corvara, and two down the street from our hotel at the St. Hubertus in the Alpina Rosa. I loved the homey atmosphere of Stüa de Michil, where diners seated in one of the many dining nooks feel as if they were dining in a private mountain residence. Equally charming was the cheery dining room at St. Hubertus, named after the patron saint of hunters. Both restaurants were equally stunning in their own right and showcase the finest in Ladin cooking, highlighting locally sourced and grown ingredients. Plus, you gotta love the fact that sommelier at St. Hubertus doubled as our kids’ ski instructor by day…what a life!
|Our dining nook at La Stüa de Michil, where we were surrounded by bottles of Sassicaia|
|The owner’s private dining area|
|Each table had a different centerpiece|
|If Lladró porcelain is your thing, you would have loved this table setting|
|Delicate amuses bouches to make our mouths very happy indeed|
|Dining at St. Hubertus in the Alpina Rosa Hotel|
|Tulips and ranunculus create a soft color palette for these centerpieces|
|Beetroot gnocchi with beet “soil” and cream of daikon cress…just lovely|
|Sweet and sour ancient vegetables with cream of fermented milk – ok, so there must have been something lost in the translation here, as this does not sound appetizing, but was delish|
As if we hadn’t had enough meat, we heard that the Armentarola was THE place to go for Chateaubriand in an unparalleled outdoor patio setting. To get there, you can drive, take a taxi or ski. The day on which we planned this treat was, sadly, cloudy. Even though we were relegated to the indoor dining area, we experienced yet another fantastic meal. We set about ordering lunch with the help of a very knowledgeable waiter, who insisted we order the steak tartare as a STARTER to the Chateaubriand. I cannot tell you how glad I am that he was so insistent (pushy), as it was the best steak tartare I have ever had.
|Steak tartare with egg, garlic, onions, paprika, mustard, parsley, capers, olives|
|At the insistence (again) of our waiter, we enjoyed this red from the Alto Adige|
One particularly sunny day, we skiied over to Club Moritzino to check out their fresh squid ink pasta. Club Moritzino is a mountain restaurant open year-round, famous for the panoramic views, the fresh fish menu, wine bar and DJ parties that start at 2 pm and continue throughout the day.
|Club Moritzino on Piz La Ila Mountain|
|Les gens chic sont au Club Moritzino|
|Il tavolo (check out the view)|
|Bevande (again check out the view)|
|Selection of local seafood (we are on a mountain 2 hours from Venice…unreal!)|
|Housemade squid ink pasta atop scallop carpaccio|
Just in case you were wondering, if you have too much to drink, you can catch a ride back down on a snow cat. Love, love, love this place!!
|Still scratching my head over the exact meaning of this sign|
Avere un buon fine settimana.
All photos by Marci Symington for texaztaste.blogspot.com