Sep 07

Favorite Fall Dishes From the Alps

Fall Favorites: Food from the Alps

Autumn in the Alps offers a wonderful chance to highlight local traditions and savor the seasonal ingredients featured in Europe’s rich, hearty cuisines and craft beers. Whether sipping on a chestnut beer during lunch at a high alpine hut or enjoying a fondue by the fire after a long day on the trail, alpine cuisine in the fall is a warm and welcoming experience. Here are some of our favorite, traditional fall dishes and brews.

Fondue

While enjoyed year-round, fondue becomes an especially cozy dish in the fall when the pot simmers with a blend of Swiss cheeses like, Emmental and Gruyère, along with white wine, garlic and a touch of nutmeg. This delicious meal is served with bite-sized cubes from a rustic baguette or country-style loaf of bread. We recommend you pair this fondu with a crisp Lager such as a Helles or Pilsner or a sour beer like Berliner Weiss or a Gose to contrast and balance out the richness of the heavy cheese.

For a more hearty meal, add fondue bourguignonne to the menu. This delectable meal is made with bite-sized pieces of lean meat such as tenderloin or sirloin, pork, chicken and shrimp or scallops cooked in hot oil or broth accompanied by various dipping sauces such as garlic aioli, horseradish, béarnaise and flavored mayonnaises.

If you are looking to add excitement to your dessert options, try traditional dessert fondue’s made with high-quality Swiss chocolate – dark or semi-sweet, heavy cream and if you want flavorings, add Kirsch/cherry brandy or your favorite liqueur. Serve with various dippable food such as fruits, pretzels or cubed pound cake. Enjoy a rich, creamy stout like Guiness or German Doppelbock (double bock) such as Ayinger Celebrator.

Raclette

Raclette is another favorite melted cheese-based dish only the process is quite different. A raclette grill or machine is needed to heat the wheel of raclette cheese and a raclette knife is used to scrape the melted, gooey cheese over individual plates filled with boiled or steamed new potatoes, cornichons (small pickles), pickled pearl onions, sliced cured meats like prosciutto, salami, or ham and you can even add sausage or your favorite vegetables. Don’t forget slices of crusty rustic bread or a sliced baguette. We recommend a drinking a classic Swiss lager such as Feldschlösschen Original with your Raclette.

Wild Mushroom Dishes

Fall is mushroom season in the Alps, and you’ll find most accommodations serving various dishes featuring wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles and porcini. Some of our favorites are mushroom risotto with chanterelles, Arborio rice, shallots, garlic, white wine and broth; mushroom and chestnut soup which the chef will sauté local mushrooms with onions and garlic and add roasted chestnuts, vegetable broth, thyme and a dash of cream; and mushroom and pumpkin risotto incorporating roasted pumpkin into a creamy mushroom risotto for a seasonal twist. Pair any wild mushroom dish with a fruity, spicy Saison (farmhouse ale) or try a German Märzen with malt-forward characteristics and mild hop bitterness.

Venison Stew

This popular fall dish boasts a distinctive, rich gamey flavor making it the perfect meal to enjoy following a long day immersed in the autumn scenery. The meat is slow-cooked with red wine, herbs, and vegetables for a comforting meal and is filling after a long day on the trail. Try an English Brown Ale like Newcastle with nutty, caramel and malt sweetness as a paring to your Venison stew.

Sauerkraut and Sausages/Bratwurst

These two quintessential dishes are enjoyed during Oktoberfest gatherings in Munich and around the world. When paired with a classic Bavarian beer, no matter where you are, you’ll inevitably immerse yourself in the Bavarian ambiance and festivities that celebrate this rich culture. Since most German beers pair well with this meal we are going to mention beers you may not be as familiar with such as Schlenkerla, a Rauchbier beer presenting a smoky flavor that compliments the sausage or in Germany, the well-known Köstritzer Schwarzbier, a black lager with a smooth, roasted malt character.

Apple and Pear Desserts

Apfelstrudel mit Birnen – Apple Strudel with pears is a favorite dessert in alpine regions like Austria and Switzerland. These two fruits are abundant in the fall, and are used in other popular desserts such as fruit tarts, and fruit compotes. The combination of fruit, spices, and pastry make for a delicious treat. You may want to try a spiced pumpkin ale or sour beer like Berliner Weisse, or Weizenbier or Hefeweizen with fruity slightly spicy notes.

Whether on or off the trail, we wish you a fall filled with warm, hearty meals paired with delicious beers. Bon appétit!

Check out all of Ryder-Walker’s guided trips here and self-guided treks here.

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