Trentino-Alto Adige is situated in the very north of Italy bordering Austria and Switzerland and is best known for the beauty of its peaks. Trentino-Alto Adige is a relatively young region, having only been fully annexed by Italy in 1919, and because of its proximity to neighboring countries, a large portion of the population speak German as well as Italian. Slavic culture and cooking traditions are still very much a part of the Trentino-Alto Adige region.
The region is mainly mountainous, rich in rivers and lakes. To the west one finds the glaciers, Adamello-Presanella-Care Alto and Brenta and to the east are the Lagorai, Latemar, the Dolomites of Fassa and the Pale di S. Martino. Extensive coniferous forests cover the slopes and three natural parks, Adamello-Brenta, Paneveggio-Pale of S. Martino and Stelvio, are in the region. The city of Trento is the administrative headquarters of the province and of the region.
The most striking natural feature has to be the Dolomites and they are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers an unforgettable experience for ski and winter sports lovers. This year the region is host to the European Cup Alpine Skiing.
The traditional food of Trentino Alto Adige is based on local agriculture and farming. The region’s most celebrated specialty is the Tyrol smoked ham known as Speck. Local salami, kaminwur, is very tasty along with regional cheeses represented by trentingrana, toma di montagna and casolet cheeses.
Polenta, served as a first course, is prepared with a meat, cheese or mushroom sauce. Other first courses include barley soup, pasta and beans, mushroom soup and the popular, brò brusà, a simple local soup.
As for main courses, the specialties of the region are: rabbit with grappa, goulash, roe deer with polenta, trout and lucanica, a pork sausage.
A famous local food is the Val di Non apple, used to prepare strudel and fruit tarts.
Trentino-Alto Adige is also known for the production of wines, that include Merlot, Cabernet, Pinot, Chardonnay and Spumante. In an unusual divergence from southern Italian tastes, beer is a favorite drink with midday and evening meals. Beer making can be traced back for centuries in the area and is another testament to the strong Germanic influence the Trentino-Alto Adige region enjoys.
Take A Tour The Trentino-Alto Adige Region
Brò Brusà and Porcini Mushrooms
Ingredients for 4
For the soup:
- 3 ½ oz (100g) ’00’ ( Italian) flour
- 4 ¼ cups (1 litre) warm meat stock
- 3/8 cup (100ml) lukewarm water
For the porcini mushrooms:
- 10 ½ oz (300g) fresh porcini mushrooms
- 7/8 cup (200ml) white wine
- Fresh chopped parsley
For the garnishes
- 1 ¾ oz (50g) Butter/Botiro di malga (high quality homemade butter)
- Bread cut into croutons
- Grated trentingrana cheese, to taste
Sieve the flour into a warm pan and keep it on low heat. Keep mixing the flour until it starts to brown. Set aside, let it cool and then add the warm stock.
Place the pan back on the stove and bring to a boil on low heat, adding the lukewarm water slowly.
In a separate skillet clean the mushrooms, chop them into small pieces and saute them in olive oil, then drizzle them with the wine. Add salt and fresh chopped parsley to taste.
Prepare the croutons by frying them in the butter.
Serve in individual soup bowls. Ladle the soup first and the croutons on top. Sprinkle with the grated trentingrana cheese and finally add the mushrooms.
Serve over polenta or boiled potatoes.
- 1 ¾ lb beef chuck, cut into small cubes
- 5 onions, sliced
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 teaspoon sweet red paprika
- 1 oz all-purpose flour
- Lemon zest
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig marjoram
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 oz tomato paste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 cups water
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the thinly sliced onion and the diced meat. Cook until browned.
Dissolve the flour and the paprika in the ½ cup of water.
Pour over the meat. Add the red wine to the saucepan and let it evaporate.
Add the herbs, the grated lemon zest, salt, pepper and tomato paste; stir.
Add the remaining water, cover the pan with a lid and cook for at least 2 hours, adding extra water, if the goulash should thicken too much.
Spinach Canederli (Spinach Dumplings)
- 6 day-old Italian bread rolls (about 2 ounces each)
- 3 ½ ounces fresh spinach
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1 onion
- 2/3 cup flour
- Olive oil as needed
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mince the onion.
Cut the bread rolls into 1/2-inch cubes.
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onion and bread cubes and sauté until golden.
Wash spinach and boil in salted water for 2 – 3 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess water in a towel.
Chop with a knife or food processor.
In a bowl, mix the chopped spinach with the eggs, flour, grated cheese, salt and pepper.
Add sautéed onion and bread and combine with a spoon.
Shape into egg-sized balls with floured hands and boil in salted water for about 8 minutes.
Drain and serve with grated Parmigiano and melted butter.
1 frozen puff pastry sheet, defrosted and at room temperature.
- 1 1/3 lbs (600g) apples
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
- 1/4 cup (50g) breadcrumbs toasted in butter
- 2 oz (60g) golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons rum
- Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
Peel and core the apples. Cut the apples into thin slices and mix them with the sugar, bread crumbs, golden raisins, rum, cinnamon and lemon peel.
Unroll the pastry and place on a floured surface. Usually ready-made puff pastry is too thick for the purpose of making strudel, so you need to enlarge the sheet and make it thinner (about 1/8th of an inch or 2 mm thick).
Roll out the dough and put it on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Spread the apple mixture evenly over the dough and roll the strudel from the long side.
Brush the strudel with egg and bake it for 45 minutes, until golden brown.Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Sprinkle the strudel with confectioner’s sugar before serving.