Berni Bernegger

Kulinarik auf den Bergen von Gastein

Good food in Austria can be found in many places, but good food is usually associated with inns or restaurants in the towns and valleys, but the real insider tips for delicious food can also be found in the mountains. Ski amadé is predestined for this - and it's not just the Hochkönig region that shines with its vegetarian-vegan huts and large selection of mountain restaurants and herb huts. The real tips are often somewhat hidden, behind tunnels, surrounded by mighty mountains, such as the Gastein Valley, which has already made a name for itself in culinary terms.

It snowed lightly last night, so there's a fine layer of fresh powder snow on the wide pistes and every turn feels like you're skiing off-piste as if on rails. I love this feeling, almost more than real, knee-deep powder on extended ski tours.

After two and a half hours of intense ups and downs, we start to get thirsty and make our way to the Bergstadl mountain hut near the middle station of the Stubnerkogel cable car. This hut with one of the best sun terraces in the whole of Gastein offers a small but select menu. Hut manager Christian Gschwandtner, alias Gschwandti, coordinates the service while his wife is in charge of the kitchen. Traditional dishes such as Pongauer Rollgersterlsuppe and modern vegetarian dishes such as Zucchinitascherl with lentil and tomato ragout as well as many home-preserved foods from the summer make culinary hearts beat faster.

But what characterises the hut above all is the warmth of the hosts. Because it's such a beautiful day today and we've had a good breakfast, a cosy coffee on the sun terrace and a relaxed chat with the hut owner is all we need. We immediately strike up a conversation with the neighbouring table and, before we sit there all day, we pack up and get back on our skis. We say goodbye to each other with smiles on our faces and promise to come back soon - for an extended lunch and perhaps a drink after a day of skiing. I recommend you try the Rollgersterlsuppe when you swing by, which is also great as a warm-up snack at 11.00 a.m. so that you can then make the most of the slopes over lunchtime.

We continue down the black pistes along the Senderbahn railway and finally, at a quarter past one, we find a nice spot at the Herzwies hut in the Angertal valley. Just as we arrive, a place for two becomes available directly in the sun, what luck.

Now it's time to grab our sunglasses and see what the menu has to offer, because our stomachs are already rumbling! My friend quickly makes her choice - the spinach dumplings with cheese and butter and because I've already raved about the great cereal, I go for the rolled barley risotto with smoked salmon.

After a short wait, our dishes arrive at the table, smelling and looking fantastic! Grinning, we savour our food and more or less finish both dishes together. Now my other half finally realises why I love hut culinary in Ski amadé so much!

To top it all off, we treat ourselves to the homemade Kaiserschmarrn, but unfortunately I can't show you this because my fork was quicker than my mobile phone camera.

So a great day of skiing with a layer of powder snow, relaxed conversations with the hut owners and the outstanding cuisine in the Gastein Valley comes to an end. And one thing is certain - we'll be back, we all agree!

Berni Bernegger

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