Alpine winter cuisine Fermenting, preserving, pickling

Alpine cuisine has the real potential to work its way all the way forward to “front row center stage”. After all, due to the steady stylistic erosion of once-radical Scandinavian cuisine, the role of “trendsetter” has now been left vacant.

As the think tank of Austrian cuisine, Koch.Campus has long been occupied with issues affecting contemporary Alpine cuisine. Whether you liberally locate Alpine cuisine on the map between Monaco, Milan, Zurich, Munich and Vienna, or restrict yourself to the Inner Alpine regions, is ultimately a matter of the motives which spur you on to define Alpine cuisine in the first place.

The members of Koch.Campus and our colleagues from Switzerland, South Tyrol and Germany experimented with the typical products and culinary traditions of the Alpine region during the first half of 2017. The goal was always to formulate Alpine cuisine in terms of its creativity, and to develop new signature dishes to represent Alpine cuisine.

  • Die Teilnehmer am Koch.Campus Chef´s Table Alpine Winterküche

Part 1 / Alpine winter cuisine at the “Gannerhof”

It began with the event “Alpine winter cuisine” which took place on January 9 at the Restaurant Gannerhof, located in Innervillgraten, Eastern Tyrol. Here, Josef Mühlmann and some of the best chefs in Austria allowed themselves to be inspired by the foods which once used to feed the residents of Alpine valleys through the winter months, and by how their “survival strategies” – pickling, fermenting, preserving – might be given a contemporary interpretation.

Josef Mühlmann, Gannerhof, Innervillgraten & Chris Oberhammer, Tilia, Toblach (I)
A tartare of Pustertal Sprinzen beef, lukewarm sugar-beet-stuffed Schlutzer-style ravioli, air dried ham, pickled pine nuts.

Hannes Müller, Genießerhotel Die Forelle, Weissensee
Belly of Weissensee carp fried in pork lard
Ratachmuas, fermented black radish, stock of smoked meats, chives, Had`n (buckwheat)

Thomas Dorfer, Landhaus Bacher, Mautern an der Donau
Pickled head of pork and a smoked brain emulsion, yacón root, Waldviertel caraway milk

Hubert Wallner, See Restaurant Saag, Techelsdorf
Mölltal young bull – aged three months in beef suet with fermented pepper, fried raw, mashua (Mölltal), Carinthian citrus fruits (Faak am See)

Manuel Ressi, Bärenwirt, Hermagor
Gailtal pork ribs prepared sous vide, glazed in Gailtal honey,
fermented fennel, a Gailtal paprika-mushroom dip, tomatillo chutney

Josef Steffner, Mesnerhaus, Mauterndorf im Lungau
Fermented pine-tip honey, lichen – both candied and as a cream – potted Lungau lingonberries, lingonberries meringue, oil of balsam poplar cake, dried dandelion petals

Fermenting, preserving, pickling

Hubert Wallner of See Restaurant Saag dedicated himself to the theme of meat preserservation: For the event, he had taken the sirloin of Carinthian Blondvieh cattle immediately after slaughter in autumn, and allowed it to age unconventionally: The sirloin was immersed several times in lukewarm beef suet, essentially “sealing in” the meat, then allowed to hang for three months. “What makes this process so exciting is the fact that the lactic acid bacteria slowly break down the fibers and the fat, making the meat marvelously delicate. We deliberately leave the fat on the sirloin, meaning we also have fewer trimmings”, says Hubert Wallner explaining his concept. The meat, even though it was from a young bull, was wonderfully tender and captivated with its powerful meat flavor.

Thomas Dorfer began with a brawn of pork offal and head components, just as they used to be preserved for the winter after being slaughtered in autumn. Then, he shifted up a gear, whipping smoked pork brain with onions, capers and brown butter into a cream. A vinaigrette with red apple, onion and radish, fermented cucumbers and foamed caraway milk refined the brawn into a highly delicate affair. “Focusing on traditional dishes is a very important consideration when it comes to the culinary positioning of Austria and enlivening our restaurant menus”, states Thomas Dorfer, who loves nothing more than to draw upon Austria’s rich culinary heritage: “There is no better way to communicate what makes Austrian cuisine so special, than by bringing our local products and traditions to the plate.”

Learn more about the “Culinary Alpine Summit” with Andreas Caminada at Schloss Schauenstein!

Reaching for new heights! Aromas from the Alpine pastures, Koch.Campus Chef´s Table at the Siegerlandhütte in Ötztal, Tyrol.