WHAT IS ALPINE CUISINE ABOUT?
Klaus Buttenhauser, Founder of alpinekueche.com
The term “alpine cuisine” is rapidly evolving from an insider code to a widely used buzzword for contemporary creative cuisine based on products from the alpine region.
In any case, I understand a kitchen that goes beyond simple heartiness and grandmother’s traditional cooking. But this should not diminish the importance of the classics of alpine cuisine. All the delicious roasts, dumplings, Gröstl and Schmarrn are brilliant and need no reinterpretation.
The “new alpine cuisine” includes these traditions, but goes a few steps further. With the knowledge and techniques of modern cooking, it expands on the preparation of plants, mushrooms and animals, creating subtle taste experiences that exude a unique regional character. As far as the region of alpine cuisine is concerned, we do not see it as strictly as might the mountaineers. From a culinary point of view, both the inner-alpine region and the Alpine foothills, whose milder climate and topography make a distinctive contribution to product diversity, form part of a cross-border Greater Alpine Region of Central Europe.
The term should not only stand for special dishes. It also represents a system of cooperation between agricultural producers and small manufacturers as well as between chefs, restaurants and hotels. This partnership is complemented by a special tourism that understands culinary art as an equal part of cultural achievement and communicates this accordingly.
When all of the cogs are turning together, alpine cuisine stands for a system of sustainability in food production and the equally creative and careful utilisation of these foods. This underscores the concept of alpine cuisine as the antithesis of industrially managed monoculture. The goal, therefore, must be to preserve small-scale agriculture and to increase the diversity of species and varieties. With this concept, alpine cuisine also opens up a social perspective in terms of food production and rural development.