Ryder-Walker takes good eating as seriously as we take good hiking. No region of Europe offers dining opportunities quite like the foods in the Italian Dolomites. The Italian Dolomites have many Michelin star rated restaurants and local farm to table restaurants. The food in the high alpine shelters is prepared family style thousands of feet above sea level and miles away from civilization. These northern Italian chefs prepare regional delicacies using only the freshest local ingredients.
The Northern Italian Cuisine
The northern Italian food draws from more classic Italian cuisine, the nearby German and Austrian eating traditions, and of course the unique local cultures such as the the Ladin people. The cross-section of cultures creates an unparalleled local cuisine. The Italian Dolomites Trek, Brenta Dolomites, and the Via Ladina, are what we often refer to jokingly as “food tours”. We finish hiking every day and celebrate with the freshest and most enjoyable dinners offered in the European mountains. The foods in the Italian Dolomites are certainly some of the best anywhere in the world.
Any Dinner at Hotel La Perla
The Hotel La Perla is located in the alpine village of Corvara. It is the midpoint on our classic Italian Dolomites Trek and home to Michelin star chef Nicola Laera. She is the daughter of Ladin parents and is a local culinary innovator. Nicola mixes traditional northern Italian cooking with new and exciting influences to be served in the gorgeous La Perla’s multiple restaurants. The La Perla is a firm favorite among both our guides and oldest clients.
The fantastic kitchen is responsible for much of the hotel’s praise and some of the best foods in the Italian Dolomites that you can get. The menu features sections titled “The New Horizon’s of Nicol Laera” and “Nicol Laera’s Classics”. Her dishes constantly mixing modern dining with tradition. Most noteworthy is the risotto, served with apple and oysters. Another is their belly of lamb, brought from a neighboring valley, valle Karco, served with pine nuts and locally grown mushrooms.
The Charcuterie Board at the Hotel Chalet Del Sogno
Of course, not all meals are created equal. The food prepared at the Chalet Del Sogno is simply some of the best in the world.
The Chalet Del Sogno is a magnificent family run hotel located in one of the central hubs of our Brenta Dolomites Tour. The Hotel’s cozy hand carved wooden interior is one of our favorite dining rooms in the entirety of Europe. This hotel comes with lovingly prepared meals. They are made mostly from ingredients in the alpine valleys around the ski village of Madonna di Campiglio. Served family style, the dishes prepared by the kitchen are both traditional and elegant.
In the Trentino region of Italy the Brenta Dolomite group towers above the vineyards. Cheese, dried meat, and wine are both staple and delicacy. The Chalet Del Sogno serves their charcuterie board with a massive section of ultra-local cheeses. The traditional dried meats include prosciutto and speck.
Enjoy your charcuterie, along with a bottle of local wine and the Chalet’s fantastic mint, berry, and Burrata fruit salad. You will feel less like a tourist and more like Trentino royalty sitting down for a complete artisan meal.
Gnocchi is the perfect example of the success of the fusion of Germanic and Italian cooking traditions. They are historically from the Northern Belluno region of Italy. Gnocchi is a midpoint between the pasta of Italy and the dumplings eaten in the Tyrol. Most popular in the Italian Dolomites is the Gnocchi Alla Cadorina which improves the tiny dumplings with smoked ricotta cheese. Perhaps the most decadent item on the list, these dumplings melt in the mouth. They leave us wondering whether we should ever leave the Dolomites at all.
Tagliatelle alla Tartufo
Italy is famous for having a unique pasta for every region of the country. The Dolomites are collected in the northern regions of the South Tyrol, Belluno, and Trentino. The food here has a Germanic influence. However, the neighboring region of Emilia-Romagna is the home of Tagliatelle.
It is a rare dinner in the Dolomites where homemade tagliatelle is far away from the table. It is often made with egg in the Northern Italian style. The fresh and flat yellow pasta is best served “alla Tartufo,” (with Truffles), butter, and local cheeses. Truffles are traditionally gathered in the Northern Italian and Southern German forests. They are bountiful in the Dolomites. As a result, this dish is both a staple and delicacy of the region.
The Ladin culture in Italy is one of the most unique in the world. Historically, the Ladin area of the Dolomites has been fought over and claimed by Austria, Germany, and Italy. However, the Ladin people have always imagined themselves as neither German nor Italian entirely. Instead, they have heralded their own isolated alpine roots.
Similarly, their cooking has a distinct alpine flavor that is different from either the German or Italian traditions. Ladin food comes from what their farming and ranching ancestors had available. This creates a bright and traditional farm to table style restaurant culture.
One of the most fantastic dishes in the Italian Dolomites if from the unique Ladin cooking is the Blueberry Venison. It is prepared in a heavy gravy made with mountain berries. The result is a tender venison dish that is both primal and refined. It is often served with the thick crusted fresh whole grain bread and a glass of red wine. This certainly makes a perfect dinner after a day of hiking among limestone walls into the village of Corvara.
On all of our guided tours through Italy, hiking combined with the tasty foods in the Italian Dolomites creates the perfect combination of fun and adventure. Saluti!
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