We are in South Tyrol, in one of Italy’s autonomous regions that is immersed in the best of what nature can give. Located in the northernmost part of Italy and bordered by Austria, it is flanked on all sides by the Dolomite mountains, never-ending green, breathtaking views, unspoiled nature, and beautiful lakes. But the list doesn’t end there because South Tyrol also has the most number of Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy. Given its distinctive cultural influences and the abundance of natural resources, the cuisine is prominently alpine in foundation.
Let’s take a look at one of South Tyrol’s culinary gems.
His name is Egon Heiss and he received his Michelin star in 2014. It’s an accolade that most, if not all chefs in the world work hard for. Egon maintains two restaurants inside Hotel Bad Schörgau, one of which is the Michelin-starred Gourmet Alpes Ristorante that is divided into two small and diversely-decorated dining rooms. With a capacity of only 15 seats, the setting gives the right touch of intimacy to the diners while the extremely attentive service provides the final stroke of comfort that Gourmet Alpes Ristorante provides.
The tasting menu has 12 entries priced at €129.
There is also the possibility to order singular dishes from the tasting menu. Children are also welcome with the possibility to order simpler dishes from their other restaurant, The Veranda Inn. The menu changes according to the season but the philosophy of the kitchen remains the same. The dishes created by Egon are always creative yet simple and distinctive in taste where locally-grown and world famous ingredients unite in each plate. Home-grown products by the farmers of the area and small producers are used.
Once seated, a striking visual spectacle of finger food and tasting dishes unfold in front of you perfectly executed by the serving staff. The dinner begins with a series of intricately-prepared finger food as the chef’s salutation. And from this point, Chef Egon Heiss’ masterpieces are unraveled. Like in any excellent restaurant, the dining and kitchen areas of Alpes work in tandem to provide their utmost to the diners.
A complexity of well-defined flavors that each dish awards your palate is enough to pronounce the whole dining experience extraordinary.
The Tasting Menu:
Welcome dishes from the Chef
Wagyu from Renon – buckwheat – wood sorrel
Cream of white wine from Terlano – salmon trout – pan briochè
Mugo pine – speck – rye
Greater amberjack – kohlrabi – tarragon – horseradish – whey vinegar
Quail egg – potatoes – nettle – mushroom from the Thal farm in Aldino
Scampi – lemon – broccoli raab – Amethyst extra virgin olive oil
Veal tartare – schüttelbrot (alpine spiced rye bread) – onions – sage – polenta
Vialone nano – grapefruit
Almond – rhubarb – raspberries
Parting dishes from the chef
After the series of parting dishes, a noteworthy invitation from the chef to visit him in the kitchen was most appreciated where he prepared express gelato using liquid nitrogen at 200°C below zero.
Rowena Dumlao - Giardina is the author and photographer of Apron and Sneakers and The Chosen Table. Besides her blog, she's also a recipe developer and a travel writer for other food and travel sites.