In the Alta Badia valley in the Dolomites, great skiing is combined with gourmet food for a unique ski safari.
South Tyrol, Italy’s northernmost province, is an area known for its apples, ham, wine, and an impressive 23 Michelin stars. Those 23 Michelin stars make it the most decorated province in all of Italy. This gourmet’s destination is also popular among skiers with the world’s largest ski circuit that encompasses over 745 miles of downhill runs, and all skiable with a single ski pass.
Among the mountains and valleys, there is a network of mountain huts that can provide basic accommodations and home-made meals to weary hikers, bikers, and skiers.
To really play to the region’s strengths, it seems the people of the Alta Badia valley have found the perfect balance to cater to both foodies and skiers with ‘A Taste for Skiing” – an initiative started about ten years ago. During the winter season, which runs from December to April, Alta Badia’s three Michelin-starred chefs and neighboring international gourmet chefs create dishes for 11 of the mountain ski huts in the valley. You can ski from hut to hut to sample the gourmet dishes on the slopes with a gastronomic ski safari. The ski safari also gives you the opportunity to meet the chefs behind the plate and listen to their stories behind the dish.
This “slope food” is offered throughout the winter season, with chefs taking their inspiration from their local areas and local, high-quality ingredients. The dishes are paired with wines from South Tyrol that have been carefully selected by an expert sommelier from the area. This year, the gourmet ski season will be centered around the traditional dishes these acclaimed chefs loved when they were children, with recipes based on dishes from their own families.
For those interested in tasting more of South Tyrol’s wines, in March there’s also a wine-tasting ski safari that gives you the opportunity to sample more of South Tyrol’s great wines including Masseto, Chateau Petrus, and Cheval Blanc in three of Alta Badia’s mountain huts.
Luxury Travel Consultant Tiffany DeSalvo suggests combining South Tyrol with other parts of Italy, Innsbruck, or Munich.
Most of the restaurant huts are open in the summer as well and are accessible by gondolas, hiking, or biking. With Venice, Verona, and Milan all within maximum three hours travel time, the region of South Tyrol can easily be combined as part of a an itinerary with a focus in Northern Italy or as a unique extension to a standard first time Italy visit that may just include the major cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice. It is an opportunity to experience Austrian, German, and Italian architecture, heritage, culture, and cuisine in one central location. South Tyrol not only combines well with other regions in Italy, but the lovely Austrian town of Innsbruck is only an hour and a half away by car. Should one visit in Autumn, my favorite season to be in Italy, dates can be aligned to coordinate with Oktoberfest festivities in Munich which is easily reachable by road in just over three hours.
Contact Tiffany to start planning a journey to South Tyrol.