We enter Trentino Alto Adige (Südtirol) from Austria. We pass through the Brennero tunnel and after Vipiteno, we cross the Isarco Valley. We stop in Bressanone on our way to Bolzano, the capital of the Alto Adige. There are strong signs here of the blend between Mitteleuropa and Italy. December is a good time to visit Bolzano in order to see its famous Christmas street market held in Walther Square, which is considered the town’s central meeting point. Here the palate will be rewarded with the tasty frittelle and the Zeltan, the typical Christmas cake. In Bolzano we visit the Archeological Museum, which hosts Ötzi , the world’s oldest Ice-Man. Not forgetting the local specialty par excellence; The IGP Speck, a slightly smoked and seasoned raw ham, used also to prepare canederli, dumpling made from bread socked in milk, flavored with speck and sausage meat and served in a soup covered with a sprinkling of treningrana cheese.
Moving from Bolzano to the east we reach Moena, the gate onto the Fassa Valley and the only area to produce the puzzone di Moena, a mild cheese made from whole cow’s milk and with slightly bitter after taste. It is a perfect side dish for polenta accompanied with Marzemino d’Isera, a traditional full-bodied red wine. We leave Moena and after passing through Predazzo we cross the Passo Rolle and arrive in San Martina di Castrozza with the breathtaking views of the San Martin peaks. Travelling back down to Siror we try the carne fumada de Siror, a typical cut of smoked and seasoned beef. Luganega is another traditional salami. Luganega is made from prime cuts of lean pork meat seasoned with salt, ground pepper and chopped garlic.
From Siror we travel west wards to Trento, the capital of Trentino. A visit to its Castello dell Buon Consiglio is a must. Piana Rotaliana is the point of entry into Val di Non, famous for its apple orchards with a very fertile soil. In fact, this is where the renowned Teroldego Rotaliano red wine is produced. We now head for San Lorenzo, which lies in the Valli Giudicarie in Banale and where we taste the famous ciuighe, a traditional local salami, a result of the times when families would sell-off their top quality pork meat cuts and season the leftovers with turnips: this is the traditional preparation of ciuighe. The Giudicarie area also produces the Spressa della Guidicarie DOP cheese, made from un-pastuerized cow’s milk. Once seasoned, the cheese has a sharp aroma of dried fruit which combines particularly well with local dishes like polenta. Polenta carbonera is a traditional local dish and one of its principal ingredients is, in fact, the Spressa della Giudicarie DOP.
The perfect wine to accompany this dish is a full-bodied one, like the Trentino Marzemino DOC, served at no less than 16ºC. Trentino Alto Adige is a mountainous territory abounding in spectacular peaks like the picturesque Dolomites where strong winds blow, purifying the mind and cleaning out our dusty hearts. This land is truly beautiful and provides the opportunity of fulfilling dreams, whatever they may be, and conquering the mountain peaks.